Emotional Intelligence and Trust: Are You Being Too Vulnerable Too Fast?

By Instructional Designer and Facilitator, Melissa Landis

Vulnerability – Not So Socially Acceptable

Having worked in an addiction center for two years and being an introvert, I have grown accustomed to and comfortable with deeper level conversation. I find myself not only curious but asking questions that many consider as more personal than they usually like to divulge when first meeting a stranger.

And I suppose since is the case, I often meet people who very suddenly divulge very personal information without much prompt. I am simultaneously shocked and awed by their level of vulnerability.

Since leaving the treatment world I have had to remind myself that asking these types of personal questions is not always appropriate and not everyone appreciates that level of vulnerability. They do not know me, or I them and in some cases they just like being an extremely private person. Trust needs to be first built and sustained before these people consider divulging such information.

How Much Vulnerability Is Too Much?

I think we, in the holistic health world, forget this when constantly surrounding ourselves with those that are so free with themselves and being vulnerable. It’s probably why we surround ourselves with those people in the first place, but does this approach always work when working with new clients? How open are they?

My mother-in-law, now my ex-mother-in-law (a wonderful woman still), is very passionate about religion and her faith. She very much wanted to share it with me, and I often found myself quite overwhelmed by her love and energy to a point where on numerous occasions I broke down crying because that was the only response I had at the time.

It was too much, too soon, and all at once.

New clients may be curious, but not necessarily ready to dive in deep. How vulnerable does one have to be to fully experience your product or service?

Cue the Meet Cute

This is where trust and emotional intelligence (EQ) intersects. Believe you me, I know how exciting it is to share gifts and passions, but I have also become increasingly aware that not everyone agrees or operates on that same level. The solution to this would be to meet them where they are.

EQ allows us to not only acknowledge where we begin and end, but also how we are affecting those around us. It allows us to be aware of the reactions of others and adjust accordingly.

Do I push on or pull back a little bit? Do they seem skeptical? What question can I ask them that will bring them into a more natural conversation?

Successfully doing so will allows us to appeal to a new clientele. It will allow us to start to ask questions about them and see what their needs may be. It allows us to show them that we care and begin the process of building trust because at the end of the day the client is overall buying into you more so than your service or product.

Join Instructional Designer and Facilitator, Melissa Landis, as she teaches entrepreneurs, businesspeople, parents, students, teachers, and administrators how to apply Emotional Intelligence (EQ) skills more purposely every day in four core areas. Space is limited to 25 people. Learn more here: