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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 May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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