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8 Signs Of Emotionally Unavailable People

8 Signs Of Emotionally Unavailable People

An emotionally unavailable person has closed the door on staying connected and loved. It is a simple defence mechanism, but one which can have devastating consequences in relationships. Closing that door may be due to a lack of confidence, fear of intimacy, or perfectionism, just to name a few explanations. Finding the key to opening that door is the real challenge.

Here are 8 signs of emotionally unavailable people and some suggestions to help open the door again or to leave. Ask yourself if you have any of these traits, because it might help you to have fuller and more intimate relationships.

1. They do not like compromises

You meet lots of people who are married to their routine rather than to another person. A typical reaction is when they hate changing their schedules and they show themselves to be very inflexible. Ask them to make a compromise on the timing of a date and they will always say that they cannot be inconvenienced.

Examine your own flexibility or lack of it and reflect on whether this is a sign of emotional maturity. How flexible (or inflexible) you both are is usually a sign of how likely it is that a relationship will move to the next level. Being able to compromise on minor issues is a mark of emotional maturity. Look out for signs of reciprocity here. There can be no compromises on major issues.

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“When it comes to human dignity, we cannot make compromises.” – Angela Merkel

2. They are perfectionists

A typical scenario is where they find one fatal flaw in their new partner. They are perfectionists, so they want everything to be just right. When they find the defect, it is usually the perfect ploy for them to get out, because in reality they are scared of intimacy.

Look at your own standards and what makes a perfect partner. Think about your own defects and try to talk about them. If your partner brushes them aside, it is a sign that there may be no future at all for you as a committed couple.

3. They play the blame game when they talk about past relationships

Listen to how they talk about their past relationships. They almost never talk about their own defects, weaknesses, or fears. They usually play the blame game — it was always the partner’s fault. They are not being open at all.

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Any emotionally available person will recognize and take responsibility for their shortcomings and failures in past relationships. Can you recognize your own? Ask them to reflect on what they could have done to save the relationship. Ask a few probing questions about the issues that were involved. If they are emotionally unavailable, the answer is likely to refer to their incapacity to form relationships or that they always fail. If they are more receptive, it may be a sign that they recognize their need for intimacy and they are prepared to open up a little.

4. They display signs of being emotionally abusive

Watch how they treat wait staff and other people you meet when you are with them. If you notice a lot of angry outbursts, it may mean that they are very demanding, have zero emotional intelligence, or that they are totally lacking in self-awareness. They are very unlikely to be empathetic. The worst consequence is that this could turn into emotional abuse if the relationship is a long-term one. Their judging, criticizing, and humiliating may well have roots in an unhappy childhood. They have no place in a harmonious relationship.

These signs should not be ignored because they may mean your relationship may turn toxic and become abusive. You have invested emotional funds here and you want to see a return on them. If there are no signs of any of these being reciprocated, then it may be time to back off before it is too late.

5. They are inconsiderate

Look out for the signs. Always being late may be a red flag that this person is inconsiderate and emotionally unavailable. They may do it deliberately just to avoid getting too involved.

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Think about how you can be kind, affectionate, and caring. Talk about your feelings and expect the same from your partner as the relationship evolves. If this does not happen, it could be that you are being used as a temporary filler until someone better comes along.

6. They are too secretive or too nosey too soon

When they are very evasive with questions regarding sex or money, it may be a sign that they are emotionally unavailable. If they are very curious, it may signal a hidden agenda. In either case, these are signs that these may be obstacles to getting close. You can almost see the emotionally unavailable sign on the half-closed door!

Think about each other’s emotional capacity. You may be prepared to give, grow, and be totally committed. You need to look out for signs that you are both on the same page as to what a really committed relationship looks like. If either is emotionally unavailable, there will be obstacles along the way — it is important to discover these early on.

7. They can be very seductive

Seduction is usually about conquest and a certain appetite for power. If these happen very quickly in the relationship, you may wonder what else there is to make it an authentic relationship. Is there openness, generosity, empathy, complicity, and confidence? If these are totally lacking or steadfastly avoided, it could mean that the person is simply not available for any of those commitments and wants the thrill of seduction and little else.

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8. They are not ready to commit

Beware of the people you meet on vacation because distance is a perfect excuse for not committing or getting too involved. You both get great benefits when you do manage to meet, but there can never be the daily grind of putting up with all the tics and obsessions which can erode a relationship.

Another warning sign of a lack of commitment is when the partner talks about living in the present and not worrying too much about the future. That is all very well, but plans have to be made at some point.

The most alarming sign of emotional unavailability is when the partner has great difficulty in saying they love you. A simple “I love you” will be almost as good as a written promise. It is when they say “I love you, but…” that alarm bells will start ringing. That “but” can mean there is a time limit, there is terrible uncertainty, and above all betrays that they are not sure what this will entail in the long term.

Above all, when you are confronted with a lack of commitment, never try to rationalize it or make excuses for your partner, who may have problems in expressing their feelings. You will never change them either, so now is the time for closure to save yourself a whole lot of misery later on.

Featured photo credit: Yellow Bow-Broken heart…. The Break Up/ Norman Tanner via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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