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The gift of unarmored conversations

Guadalupe Hirt, 47, Co-Founder & CCO of SecondAct|Women

This past week I got together with two girlfriends from the gym at a local wine bar. I didn’t realize how much I missed hanging out with friends (at a real restaurant) until this past weekend!

A little context. I’m good friends with one of the gals. She’s the type of girl that I don’t necessarily talk to or text every day. We’ll casually reconnect on social or hug if we randomly bump into each other, but it’s not like it’s a hyper close friendship. But yet, when we do connect, it’s like we haven’t missed a step. Do you have girlfriends you can just pick up where you left off with? She’s one of those low-maintenance priceless friends.

The other gal is someone I’d consider (before this weekend) to be a gym friend. We met at the gym a little over a year ago, coincidentally, through my good friend I just introduced above. Every time we’d see each other at the gym, we’d wave, chit chat and laugh. Up until this point, we had never really hung out outside of the gym, so tonight was a test run.

So here we are, three second acters sitting at a wine bar catching up. As the night went on and the drinks flowed freely, we started diving into some pretty heavy topics. Divorce. Abusive relationships. Self-doubt. Bisexuality. Life expectations and disappointments.

We sat there talking for hours.







In the beginning, it was just my good friend and I chiming in about all the sh*t that had gone down since we had last seen each other. As I sat there listening to her, I was overcome with so many feelings. I was sad because of all the stuff she was going through. I was happy that she was pushing through it and getting to a better place. I was also mad that COVID had robbed me of precious experiences like these with friends.

That night we all got real fast. As the conversation went on, I noticed that my “gym friend” began opening up sharing her truths. She talked about an abusive ex-husband and a recent road trip to drop off her son in DC at her ex’s house that had reawakened that traumatic past. In a few hours, I learned more about her than I had learned since becoming gym friends over a year ago.

As I sat there listening, I was in awe by the power of connection that comes from heart-felt, judgement-free, authentic conversations. For those that know me, I am the person that shows up to conversations with no armor. I don’t shy away from deep conversations, in fact, I gravitate towards them, especially if the intention to be real is mutually honored. While the conversations that night were heavy, we all left a little lighter.

So why do many of us show up to conversations with armor? I’ll admit, I’ve had my fair share of burns and relationship disappointments. But I still wouldn’t trade my conversation battle scars for the security of armor – ever. Why? Because armor is designed to protect you, but it also is designed to keep others from connecting with the real you.

The night went on and so did the shenanigans. It was so much fun, and it felt so freeing to be out enjoying life in good company. The next morning, I got a text from my gym acquaintance turned friend that read “It was so nice to finally meet up. I can’t remember the last time I was out. I was glad that we could speak so freely, even though we are just getting to know each other.”

This text is the gift of conversations with no armor. I dare you to try it. And while there is risk showing up with no armor, you might be surprised by the gifts you give and receive, even if you get a little scarred in the process.

Guadalupe Hirt (46) is the co-founder and CCO of SecondActWomen. Founded to rescript the social narrative that women 40 & 50+ are past their prime, SecondActWomen is an IRL and virtual club platform that doubles as a resource hub and community support system to spur the careers, business ventures and big ideas of women in middlescence.