Dr. Bill Chopik: The Power of Vulnerability in Close Friendships | Self-improvement Atlas #40

In this episode, host Marie Stella Quek is joined by Dr. Bill Chopik who is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University and was one of the 2017 Top 30 Scientists Under 30 by Forbes Magazine

There is a great amount of research describing close human relationships – friendships – and how central they are to human life. In this episode, the discussion will illuminate the importance of vulnerability in close friendships so that you can apply it in your relationships.

Meet Dr. Bill Chopik

Dr. Bill is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University. His work specializes in the macro and micro aspects of relationships. Because of his work, he has been recognized as the Forbes Magazine’s Top 30 Scientists Under 30 and as a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science.

About the episode

The discussion began with Dr. Bill’s definition of personal development as the active pursuit of some goal in the future. He believed that the biggest challenge that people face is their negative thoughts and limiting beliefs.

Social relationships are one of the best examples of those limiting beliefs. A lot of people believe that connecting with others, forming friendships, and being vulnerable with them is embarrassing is difficult, when most of the time it’s just their heads playing tricks with them.

Dr. Bill then talked about the importance of close friends in psychology. They can give you assistance when no one else can, spending time with them relieves stress, and they are a great third party that you can talk to about things that you can’t talk with anyone else.

Dr. Bill also delved deep into how you can form close friendships. The main factors include time, mutual disclosure, and vulnerability. However, this vulnerability also has to fall into specific guidelines so that it doesn’t become something inappropriate, like trauma dumping.

From there, the conversation then turned into tips about how to help other people feel more comfortable around you, the biggest challenges that people face when trying to be vulnerable, and tips and practices. Dr. Bill’s biggest tip to make people feel more comfortable around you is to amplify positive experiences. Whenever someone tells you about something good that happened to them, always try to amplify the experience by asking about it, giving praise, and more. In this way, you cultivate positive emotions and make people feel secure about getting you in their lives.

In conclusion

Great friendships might feel like magic, but there’s very real science behind it. This episode discussed the science behind close relationships and used it to help listeners nurture closer bonds with people important to them.

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