If you struggle to form deep connections, these 15 personality traits could be why

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When it comes to our relationships, quality matters more than quantity.

But what if you find those deeper connections harder to make?

It may be the following traits that are standing in your way.

1) You’re closed-off

Energetically we give out a vibe.

If that sounds a bit mystical or wish-washy, bear with me.

Because the truth is that we are experts in instinctively reading one another. It happens in an instant.

Research has even suggested that first impressions may only take one-tenth of a second to be made.

If you are closed-off, you may be unwittingly giving out this signal to others through subtle cues in everything from your body language to your speech patterns.

But it gives people the impression that you are:

  • Withdrawn
  • Frosty
  • Unfriendly

2) You’re avoidant when it comes to the things that make you feel uncomfortable

If this is you, I feel ya.

I too have an unhealthy habit of running from things that make me squirm.

It’s a defense mechanism, but one that often harms our relationships.

It means that we’re less likely to communicate about uncomfortable topics, or less likely to share unpleasant feelings.

We prefer to dodge or run from conflict, instead of resolving things.

But the bottom line is, whenever we hide it’s harder to make deep connections.

3) You’re self-conscious in social situations

When we feel self-conscious we have a tendency to overthink things.

This over-analyzing may make you more paranoid or even lead to negative assumptions.

So in response, you tend to keep yourself to yourself. You become as small as possible so as not to draw any unwanted attention your way.

Taking this approach is usually a symptom of the next trait on our list.

4) Deep down you feel insecure

When you feel bad, creating close bonds seems so much harder.

If you are a bit down on yourself you may lack the confidence to put yourself out there.

When we’re lacking in self-esteem, we may even feel like we don’t have much to offer other people.

This sort of thinking can mean we:

  • Struggle with trust
  • Struggle with intimacy
  • Read too much into things
  • Reject ourselves, so assume others will too

The problem is that without enough self-worth, you don’t feel secure enough to open up.

5) You’re naturally quite a cynical person

When we take a pessimistic view of the world, that seeps into all areas of our lives — including our relationships. 

Negativity is a heavy energy that people often avoid.

If you are prone to regularly complaining or have a glass-half-empty outlook, people may be less inclined to spend time with you.

Research has proven that optimists have longer-lasting and more satisfying relationships.

They see the best in people, which helps foster trust and appreciation.

6) You’re pretty distrustful of others

Walls quickly come up when we’ve been hurt in the past.

Rather than be a natural quality you’re born with, becoming distrustful of others is more likely a learned behavior.

As the saying goes:

‘Once bitten, twice shy’.

If you are overly cautious it can make you unconsciously more guarded.

You want to avoid getting hurt, so you unwittingly create barriers that keep people out.

7) You’re a bit of a commitment phobe

Here are a few signs that commitment makes you uncomfortable:

  • You hate to make plans in advance
  • When people get too close you start to feel trapped
  • Too much intimacy is overwhelming for you
  • You feel emotionally unattached to everyone in your life

Even when we say we want deeper connections, a fear of commitment can keep us from making them.

8) You often feel shy

Shy isn’t quite the same as self-conscious (which we mentioned earlier).

However, being self-conscious usually contributes to shy behavior.

Feeling shy is a social anxiety that triggers negative thoughts and feelings. These then undermine your ability to perform in social settings.

You most likely come across as more nervous and timid as a result.

9) You can be guilty of being a little self-absorbed 

First off, I think there is nothing wrong with making yourself the focus of your own life.

In fact, if more of us paid greater attention to ourselves the world would be a better place.

But if we’re not careful it can be easy to get lost in our own little worlds.

Our dramas, events, and experiences take up all the space. So we have little time and energy left for others.

When we bring this mentality to our relationships, it can come across as a bit “me, me, me”.

Over time, people understandably lose patience when we always make everything about us.

To form deep connections we have to be genuinely interested in others, as much as we are ourselves.

The antidote becomes to talk less about ourselves when we meet people and ask more questions about them. This has been proven to make us more likable.

10) You’re a bit apathetic or lazy when it comes to relationships

If you’re naturally proactive, you take the lead.

You assume that creating deep connections is down to you. So you don’t wait for someone else to come along and do it for you.

Without this quality, you could find that relationships are much harder to form. Because unless we put in the effort, strong bonds don’t just magically happen.

If you are a little lazy when it comes to putting in the work, then your relationships will suffer.

We often underestimate how much time and energy is required to make and then nurture our social connections.

11) You can be inauthentic or insincere at times, usually because you’re trying too hard

I usually find that the more I try to be liked by someone, the more it backfires. Because I end up unwittingly showing up as a distorted version of myself.

Either I try too hard to impress and end up showing off in the process.

Or I try my hardest to make an effort, but it comes across as people-pleasing and a bit desperate.

When we try too hard, we may find that we’re not simply being ourselves.

Authenticity is really important to creating deep connections.

We can sense when someone is being real with us, or when they’re faking.

12) You’re really private and it makes it harder to get to know you 

We are all entitled to our privacy. It’s a healthy aspect of a relationship. We don’t have to share every single detail with others.

But it’s helpful to ask yourself:

Am I a private person, or am I a secretive person?

Because there is an important difference.

Private people are still happy to open up, share information, and trust others. They are just selective about who they do so with.

Secretive people on the other hand hide. They intentionally keep things, even from those they are close to.

Sadly, being secretive makes us seem sneaky or mysterious so others can find it harder to feel like they truly know us.

13) You’re trying to deeply connect, but still in a shallow way

Okay, clearly I need to explain this one.

To say you might be shallow sometimes can feel like a real insult. But the truth is that we can all be from time to time.

At high school, we want to hang out with the popular kids.

On dating apps, we want to swipe right for the attractive people.

It’s really easy to get sucked into superficiality.

Obviously having fun and enjoying people’s company is an important part of forming connections.

But we cannot get too hung up on shallow aspects if we want to delve deeper.

We need to share with others our fears, insecurities, and the pains of life too — aka be vulnerable.

We have to look beyond outward markers of success or materialism to the person inside.

14) You notice yourself being critical and judgmental

Again, let me be clear, this isn’t an attack because every single one of us has judged somebody.

We do it instinctively without thinking.

But when we fail to have an open mind, it can become far more habitual. And unsurprisingly, people don’t appreciate it.

You may think that you’re keeping your judgments to yourself, so how will they know?

But here’s the kicker, it’s yet another thing that we tend to sense.

We can feel when someone is approaching us with preconceived ideas and opinions, and it drives people away.

You may love someone, but as soon as you start to judge them, your relationship is bound to suffer.

15) Sometimes you’re a bit oblivious to your behavior 

Do you struggle to connect deeply with others but you have no idea why?

Self-awareness is the most useful tool we can use if we want to grow as people. Because the reality is, that we cannot change unless we see ourselves honestly.

That means being able to understand, analyze, and then reflect on what makes us tick.

It’s about getting to grips with our silent beliefs, and how our thoughts and feelings affect our actions.

Without this self-awareness, we remain clueless. Because so much of what we do, we do without even thinking about it.

So we continue doing the same things that are not serving us.

That’s why cultivating more self-awareness is always the key to empowering ourselves.

Louise Jackson

My passion in life is communication in all its many forms. I enjoy nothing more than deep chats about life, love and the Universe. With a masters degree in Journalism, I’m a former BBC news reporter and newsreader. But around 8 years ago I swapped the studio for a life on the open road. Lisbon, Portugal is currently where I call home. My personal development articles have featured in Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, Thrive Global and more.

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