Ways to Grow Closer to an Avoidant Person
Hey hopeful romantic,
I’ve written a lot on attachment styles. It feels like the topic that helped launch my writing career. I love everything about attachment theory, from how it affects our sex lives to the book, Attached.
If you’re not sure what attachment theory is, read more about it here. If you don’t know your attachment style, here’s a great quiz.
Chances are, you know someone who’s avoidantly attached. Maybe it’s your partner. Perhaps it’s your best friend. Hell, maybe it’s even you.
Avoidantly attached people get a bad rep. Often confused as manipulative or players, people dismiss avoidant’s behaviors as malicious. But a lot of avoidantly attached people do want love. But, like someone with an anxious attachment, their attachment style makes it harder to do so.
So this week, let’s talk about how you can have a better relationship with someone avoidant.
First, it’s important to understand why avoidantly attached people act the way they do. Attachment theory focuses on how someone handles intimacy and how someone connects with others.
Avoidantly attached people fear becoming close to someone. They’re either scared of being hurt, or they fear depending on someone or vice versa. Space, independence, and patience are key for being with an avoidantly attached person.
Let them take space when they need it.
Since avoidantly attached people tend to value independence, they’re more likely the type to have hobbies they want to do alone. Let them. That’s their time to regulate themselves so they can show up better for the relationship or friendship.
Remember, they’ll easily feel overwhelmed.
Don’t come to someone who’s avoidantly attached with a list of issues you want to talk about; it won’t end well. Instead, focus on one thing at a time.
Don’t take things so personally.
If your partner or friend withdraws from you, don’t automatically start thinking they hate you. Most likely, they’re just in a state where they feel like they need to protect themselves.
Open up space for them to talk about their past.
Often, an avoidant person fears closeness because they’ve been hurt, betrayed, or abandoned in the past. Let your partner or friend know you’re always there to talk about what’s happened to them before you met.
Set boundaries so you feel respected.
Yes, avoidant people will need space. But that doesn’t mean days without talking to you. It’s great to set boundaries for how you expect to be treated while also respecting their need for independence. The two can coincide.
When they are open with you, reinforce that.
Don’t take their moments of vulnerability lightly. For them, it was hard, scary, and uncomfortable. Tell them that you appreciate those moments.
It’s not OK to manipulate or purposely hurt someone; point-blank. But not all avoidantly attached people are malicious. That reputation is codswallop *said in Hagrid’s voice* (and that’s coming from someone who dated a narcissistic, avoidantly attached person who was malicious).
So if your friend, partner, or family member is avoidant, the tips above will help you immensely.
This week’s task: Reply to this email and let me know who’s avoidantly attached in your life and which of these tips you’re going to start using! I read all your emails and try to respond to as many as possible.
Until next week, my amazing reader!
All the love,
P.S. If you want to improve your love life and haven’t grabbed a copy of my new book, What I Wish I Knew About Love, make sure to now! Pre-order here.
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Articles I Wrote:
Ask iris: "How do I stop ruminating about my boyfriend's past?"
6 Lessons on Happiness I Learned By Going Through My Darkest Times
6 Ways to Rekindle the Romance in Your Long-Term Relationship
What should I do when an avoidant guy keeps setting up dates then canceling? After the 3rd time I told him I value consistency and I care alot about him and I'm busy and independent too and appreciate that so much! But I don't feel close or connected to him if it's been 3 weeks since I've seen him and we text almost every day. I know (from a friend) he was hurt in the past and doesn't commit and has a hard time communicating so I don't want to suffocate him but afraid he will just move on if I give him too much space. I told him i want to give this a shot if he truly does too. It's been 2 days since I've heard from him. 😞