Vulnerability: Privacy vs Transparency

by Reid on September 19, 2015

Outdoor activity couple hiking - happy hikers walking in forest.When you want to be more open and vulnerable, how do you know when to be transparent and when to be more private?

Join relationship expert Reid Mihalko from and Cathy Vartuli from as they share simple, practical steps you can take to bring the passion back into your life, and create warmth and love again.

Reid: What’s up doc?

Cathy: [Laughs] Hey everyone. We’re wondering what’s the difference between being transparent or vulnerable and when you get to have privacy? So I used to hide things a lot. I didn’t feel like it was safe to share with people so I was really hiding, but where’s the boundary between transparency and privacy?

Reid: It’s wherever you want it to be.

Cathy: Yeah?

Reid: My big question is, is it any of your business.

Cathy: Uh-hum.

Reid: So that’s more when people are asking questions —

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: — about me that they want to know like have you slept with that person. I’m like is it any of your business? Do you want to sleep with them and you’re asking me if you they’re any good? Well then it’s your business and I might tell you. But for me really it’s, I’m very open with my private life but it’s very intentional. Just because I’m transparent about my private life does not mean you need to be that transparent to be a good person and to be vulnerable.

Cathy: Uh-hum.

Reid: What it means is you get to figure out where you need to draw the line for your own sense of privacy–

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: — for that to feel good for yourself. And the message there is you get to draw that line wherever you want and then tell other people to suck it if they have a problem with that because it’s none of their business. And I like to ask whenever I have people prying I like to ask them well, why do you ask.

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: And it forces them to justify why they need the information and you can kind of do that almost to yourself in “Okay, so I want to be more vulnerable and transparent with this person. Is this any of the business of the relationship that we’re having?”

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: You know, because the other person needs their sense of privacy too and I think some people overshare as a means of trying to get you to tell me more.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: Which is weird. While you’re being transparent and vulnerable, it’s creating an inauthentic sense of connection.

Cathy: Right.

Reid: And it’s almost like transparent bribery or —

Cathy: Yeah. I gave you all that so you should give —

Reid: So you must tell me and I’m like no.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: I don’t have to tell you anything.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: Just because you’re blabber mouth, I don’t care, it’s not my problem.

Cathy: Well it is true that if you start sharing, if you start being more vulnerable with someone that they may have questions. I love it when people ask me questions. If I’m being vulnerable in sharing and they’re sharing, having the questions makes me feel really engaged and connected.

Reid: Yeah.

Cathy: And they may ask a question that doesn’t feel comfortable so if you have a gentle reply like I don’t feel like talking about that right now or that’s not something I want to discuss right now.

Reid: Or me saying that’s none of your business with a smile.

Cathy: I prefer the more gentle approach personally.

Reid: I thought that was gentle.

Cathy: Yeah. [Laughs] So you can do Cathy’s approach or Reid’s approach or your own.

Reid: Yeah.

Cathy: But just because you’re being vulnerable and sharing doesn’t mean you have to share everything.

Reid: No. And also if these people are going to be around you for a while you have a lot more opportunity to share more and not try to have to force feed people your entire life story in the service of being vulnerable. These people are going to friends of yours or lovers of yours or whatever, co-workers in whatever appropriate way you need to share with co-workers. You’re just getting to know each other. Vulnerability is about having the courage to share the stuff that’s scary and transparency is about not hiding things — having the courage to not hide things when that’s appropriate too.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: And being transparent, you can be transparent and still have a privacy.

Cathy: Right.

Reid: Still have a private life. Because transparency I think really is about being transparent in the ways that are beneficial and appropriate for the relationships. So you can have a private life, but if it’s your spouse or your boyfriend or girlfriend, I think there are certain things that they should have more access to out of your private life because of the kind of relationship you’re having.

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: So the privacy line moves from relationship to relationship.

Cathy: Uh-hum. And time to time like as a relationship deepens, you may have more things you want to share.

Reid: Sure.

Cathy: And it’s okay to tell someone I don’t feel comfortable sharing that right now maybe as I get to know you better.

Reid: Yeah. But if it’s ten years into your marriage, that’s probably not the phrase you want to be using. Just saying, your mileage may vary.

Cathy: And if you’re having problems ten years into your relationship, get some help from Reid Mihalko from

Reid: It’s none of your business.

Cathy: And I’m Cathy Vartuli —

Reid: I don’t care if you’re my wife.

Cathy: — from Please leave comments below and be gentle.

Reid: We’re so sorry. Please accept our apologies.

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