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  • Janine Miller

10 ways to avoid building good relationships with others

Here is a list of 10 ways to approach your relationships with others in most social contexts if you really want to avoid forming meaningful connections (includes friendships, family relationships and romantic relationships). I've been an expert at this - I have done all of them in the past at various times in my life.

1. Be stuck inside your own head

Get so caught up in the endless loop of your thoughts. – your assumptions about what others are thinking, replaying past events over and over, dwelling on mistakes, trying to control the future by over-thinking, sitting with uncertainty and not getting anywhere. It can get so noisy in there that you get stuck and people cannot make contact with you.

2. Feel overwhelmed easily and then withdraw

Take on too much at work or socially. Do many things without an awareness of whether or not you have the energy for it. And then you find that you need to be alone at home with Netflix because you’re exhausted or maybe even ill. There’s no middle ground here. You’re all in or you’re all out.

Take on so much that you need to withdraw and shut yourself away from others in order to recover.

3. Avoid social events

For various reasons you find excuses not to go to social events. And they are made up excuses because the real reason doesn’t feel good enough to you. Maybe you’re uncomfortable when it comes to standing around making small talk. Maybe you feel anxious when there is lack of structure in open conversations as opposed to the structure in a context where expectations are clear, for example at work or in a workshop.

4. Struggle to talk about what’s going on for you

You don’t ask for help if you need it. You don’t tell people when you’re not feeling well. Or if you’ve had a bad day. Or a bad moment in the day. Or if something disappointed you. Or if the builders are in your house and it’s a chaotic mess where you can’t find anything and there’s dust everywhere and you just stubbed your toe because you were in a rush to get out the door.

Possibly because you don’t know how. Or because you don’t want to impact the other person in a negative way. Or you assume others are not interested.

5. Be a ‘know it all’

Always talk from the position of knowing with certainty what the world is like, why something happened, why people did what they did, what’s going on for someone else. Present yourself as the expert in all matters including your opinion on what an objective person you are.

6. Worry about what people think about you

Be convinced that you have to present yourself in a particular way in order to be regarded as acceptable to others.

7. Believe that you have to wait to feel better, more well, etc.

Keep waiting until you feel like the best version of yourself before you spend time with people. Hide your most vulnerable self instead of understanding that this helps others feel they can relate to you. Prepare for this ‘waiting’ to continue indefinitely.

8. Assume your looks are more important than your inner self

Believing that people want to be attracted to your physical exterior before they are willing to get to know your character, your beliefs, your interests, your values.

9. Think about yourself much more than others

Be so wrapped up in your own world that you cannot see others clearly or feel their care or hear them when they are opening up to you.

10. Think about others much more than yourself

Ignoring your own needs and putting other people first is a sure way to attract the wrong kind of relationships. In this case you will find yourself spending time with people who do not really see you or know you at all.

I still do some of these things now, although much less than previously. Personally, I have to work on the areas where I get stuck, to be able to connect with others. Number 7 is what I tend to do most lately. Even though I cognitively understand that my friends don't expect to always see me at my best. It's still a challenge for me.

Talk to me if this list sounds familiar. Talk to me if this kind of life does not sound at all appealing. Talk to me if you would like me to post some alternatives!

I would love to hear from you.

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