People with high emotional walls usually display these 10 behaviors (without realizing it)

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On average, we have five good friends in life.

I mean, best friends.

People that are there for us, through thick and thin.

We form a strong emotional bond. They provide endless encouragement and support, offer alternative perspectives and opinions, plus you have a great laugh together.

But then, there are those people who refuse to let us in.

It can be frustrating!

Especially if it’s a romantic relationship.

You really want to get to know them (to be their friend), but there’s something in the way and you can’t quite put your finger on it.

These individuals have high emotional barriers.

It’s probably not your fault.

Chances are, a previous experience has forced them to raise their guard. Look at it as a defensive coping mechanism following a traumatic event.

How to spot these types?

Look out for these 10 behaviors. They’re commonly displayed by people with high emotional walls (without even realizing it).

1) Play games

We’ve all been there.

When you first meet someone new, you don’t want to come across as desperate or clingy. 

Keep it chill.

So we’ll do things like ignore their text message for a day or two before replying.

This is pretty normal to begin with, but after a while (once we get to know them) it’s okay to drop the act.

Well, people with high emotional walls never move on from this stage.

It can seem like they’re constantly playing mind games with you.

This leads to our second point.

2) Fiercely independent

Another big sign that someone has high emotional barriers is if they’re happy making their own plans, being alone, and doing as they please.

Here’s a good example.

The weekend is rolling around and there’s a big party happening. You ask them if they have plans.

They ghost your message, but you bump into them at the event anyway.

It might seem like weird behavior, but they’re just trying to keep their independence (and don’t like to make plans). They seem to perpetually go with the flow. Maybe you’ll see them, maybe you won’t.

It’s on their terms.

In other words, you could say that they…

3) Lack commitment

It’s hard to pin them down with a time, date, and place

And when you finally do get them to agree, you know there’s a good chance they won’t show up.

Here’s the thing.

People with high emotional walls struggle with commitment.

It could be anything from a casual coffee or romantic date to something more serious like moving in together or opening a joint bank account.

Commitment and responsibility strengthen the bond you have. Something that they’re afraid of. So simply put, they avoid it.

4) Avoid one-on-one time

Something else you might notice, is that it’s rare to be alone with them.

You invite them to a movie but they bring other friends.

When they’re forced into a one-on-one situation (maybe you only have one ticket available for a concert), they decline.

This is all an attempt to keep things relaxed.

They’re putting up a wall of resistance to stop the relationship from progressing further.

5) Push the self-destruct button

If things do get too close for comfort, people with high emotional walls can display self-sabotaging behavior.

They’re not always aware they’re doing it.

I’m basically talking about ending the relationship for no apparent reason.

Look at it as a knee-jerk reaction.

Deep and meaningful relationships lead to vulnerability. This makes them insecure or overwhelmingly anxious. They fear losing what they have.

It’s a defensive mechanism that’s out of control.

6) Struggle with trust

Let’s say you break through the iitial resistance and become good friends. 

They start to let you.

But chances are, they’ll still have a hard time trusting you.

They might be weird with money or lending you stuff. If it’s a romantic relationship, they may get constantly jealous (when they have no reason to be).

The same thing that was putting up those emotional barriers also stops them from really trusting you (or anyone for that matter).

7) Overthink everything

Overthinking happens for several reasons.

One of the most common explanations is low self-esteem and anxiety.

The mind spirals when you can’t stop predicting future problems.

People with high emotional walls are world champions at overthinking!

On the surface, it might not seem like it. Because they’re emotionally unavailable, they certainly won’t tell you about their overthinking. But under the hood, their mind is whirring away.

What if this happens? What if that goes wrong? I can’t do that because…

It’s a constant battle with anxieties, probably brought on by an unpleasant past experience.

8) Act awkward (when things get emotional)

Picture the scene.

You’re on the train, heading to a gig with a group of friends. You notice a stranger is upset. They start crying.

Now, most people would at least ask if everything is okay.

Maybe offer a shoulder to cry on, comfort them.

But not people with high emotional walls.

They’ll become awkward. They won’t know what to do and could possibly just freeze like a deer in the headlights.

Maybe they’ll even leave.

Go find the toilet and remove themselves from the emotional situation.

The truth is, they find it uncomfortable.

9) Avoid conflict

Conflicts can get pretty emotional.

Just think about family gatherings at Christmas (don’t mention politics!)

They can easily spill over into passion, frustration, and anger.

This is the reason why people with high emotional barriers tend to avoid them.

They simply can’t handle any form of emotion. It could act as a trigger or bring back bad memories.

10) Have guarded body language

This is perhaps the most effective way to spot someone who has high emotional walls.

Guarded or defensive body language.

After all, you can’t hide it!

Body language is driven by our subconscious so we have no active control over it (unless we’re constantly focused).

I’m talking about crossing arms, lack of eye contact, and even the angle we’re facing as we speak to someone.

The face also has many microexpressions that can say a lot about a person.

From frowns and grimaces to smirks and eye rolls.

Next time you’re talking to someone, see if you can spot any of the telltale signs. If it’s supported by other behaviors on this list, chances are you’re dealing with a person reluctant (or scared) to form relationships!

Leila El-Dean

Leila is a passionate writer with a background in photography and art. She has over ten years of experience in branding, marketing, and building websites. She loves travelling and has lived in several countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, Spain, and Malta. When she’s not writing (or ogling cats), Leila loves trying new food and drinking copious amounts of Earl Grey tea.

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