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8 Things To Remember When Dating Someone With A Guarded Heart

8 Things To Remember When Dating Someone With A Guarded Heart

A guarded heart is one that has been through one traumatic experience after another, leaving a person unable to open up to new friends and loved ones easily. However, this doesn’t mean it’s completely impossible. Those of us with guarded hearts are often incredibly caring individuals who have been hurt in the past and, because of this, will do their best to keep their shields up around most people. If you find yourself dating someone with a guarded heart, understand that:

1. We treasure alone time

People with guarded hears trust themselves more than any other person on the planet. Because of this, we enjoy being alone much more than others may. Meeting new people is a draining process because we have to keep our guard up at all times until we are sure we can trust somebody. When dating someone with a guarded heart, understand they would rather spend a quiet night on the couch with you than out with a group of friends.

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2. We take it slow

Since it’s incredibly hard for us to trust anyone, we don’t dive into relationships head first. In fact, we’re often scared when we find ourselves liking somebody enough to possibly begin a relationship with them. Unfortunately, having been hurt in the past has led us to be untrusting of ourselves, and we will always second guess ourselves when start to be attracted to a certain someone. But if you don’t mind wading into a relationship with us, it will show you’re able to accommodate to our needs.

3. We still fall easily

Just because we take it slow doesn’t mean we don’t fall easily. It’s what got us in trouble in the first place. Those of us with guarded hearts have most likely fallen in love too quickly in the past and ended up getting hurt. However, despite having learned from our bad experience, it’s in our nature to fall for anyone who treats us well from the get-go. Of course, this leads to conflicting feelings of whether or not we can trust the person we’re currently interested in.

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4. We have trust issues

It should be clear by now that people with guarded hearts have a tough time trusting others. If you’re dating someone with a guarded heart, it can be hard not to take this personally. But if you constantly show your mate you can be trusted, and your intentions are genuine, they will slowly but surely open their hearts to you.

5. We listen more than we talk

Having a guarded heart means we’re afraid to air out our business to just anyone. But we do listen to everything those close to us say. Because we’ve learned it’s hard to trust others, we listen intently to what you’re saying, at times looking for reasons to keep our guard up. If you notice us being quiet during a date, we just want to get to know you before opening up about ourselves.

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6. We’re sometimes mysterious

Along with being rather quiet, we might be hesitant to text or call you after a date, and probably come off as being distant. This doesn’t mean we’re not interested in you. In fact, it may be the exact opposite. Like I said, we’re afraid to let others in, especially if we see ourselves falling for them easily. We understand we’re sending mixed signals by being mysteriously distant, but we have to look out for ourselves before we pay attention to social dating conventions.

7. We love and hate to show affection

Just like how we fall easily but don’t want to, we often move too fast when we want to take it slow. This may have been part of our problem in the past: we fell in love too quickly, moved too fast emotionally and physically, and ended up absolutely heartbroken when the relationship came to an abrupt end. However, if you take it slow with us, we’re bound to shower you with love and affection when we’re ready.

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8. We truly care about those we let into our lives

If we’ve let you into our lives, you can be sure we truly care about you. This should be an incredible compliment to those who strive to be as genuine and trustworthy as possible. When we let you in, you’ll find the relationship to become much more smooth, and for us to be much more open with our feelings. Once this happens, be prepared for a long-lasting relationship full of love and trust.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm1.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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