Why You Subconsciously Push People Away

expressive multiethnic couple having conflict on street

Have you ever found yourself in a position where you subconsciously pushed someone away? Did you wonder why you did so? Whether the person was a family member or a classmate you barely spoke to, it happens to the best of us. You want to be close, but constantly keep people at a distance. You may start asking yourself: “Why do I push people away?”

Today, I will shed light on a few reasons why we may subconsciously push people away.

Disclaimer- This article is for educational purposes and is based on personal opinions. This article is not a substitute for professional advice, but general guidance. We advise you to always listen to your intuition and always do what is right for you. If you can relate to any of these signs, please do not take this feedback as an attack on your character. This article is meant to be a self-improvement guide for those of you who have been feeling a little stuck.

1. You’ve been hurt before.

Have you been hurt by someone before? Perhaps by someone who you trusted a lot? Did you ever think this person would hurt you until they did? 

Your hesitation is perfectly understandable and rational. You are not alone. Abruptly broken, abusive, or toxic relationships can tear away at the trust you have for other people. This can make it hard to open up to others, let alone trust them with your deepest feelings.

With any trauma, healing takes time. Be kind to yourself and be proud that you’re trying to get back out there, one day when you least expect it, you will be ready to let someone in, and hopefully, this person reminds you of how much you deserve to be loved and respected.

And when you are ready to perhaps allow someone to be a part of your wonderful circle; Start with a small conversation, like talking about your day or errands you have to run. When you feel more comfortable, you can try connecting with people on a deeper level. 

2. You feel like a burden.

Has someone ever made you feel like you weren’t worthy of their time or attention? Did that make you feel like a burden? 

These feelings relate to low levels of self-esteem and self-compassion. 

Let me remind you that you are not. You are just as valuable as anyone else and never allow anyone else to convince you otherwise.

So, overcome this stumbling block by increasing your self-assurance! 

Try writing a list of your good qualities and things that you like about yourself and keep it somewhere visible. This will serve as a reminder that you are a wonderful person, and will help you keep all of your good qualities in mind.

Other mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, might contribute to low self-esteem. It can also be traced back to when your inner voice was developed in childhood. A negative inner voice can undermine your self-esteem and make it difficult to develop connections with others.

When you remember what you like about yourself, it will probably be easier for you to believe that others love spending time with you!

3. Attachment issues

Your attachment style can also play a role in avoiding intimacy.

If your primary caregiver or parent does not consistently meet your requirements for intimacy and other emotional support as a child, you may develop a disorganized or avoidant attachment style as an adult.
You want to form deep ties with friends and romantic partners as an adult, but you’re afraid they’ll let you down as your caregiver did. You may have a tendency to form low-involvement or casual relationships that you may exit if things become too intense.
You could also cycle between the want to pull or cling to your companions and want to push them away.

Excessive clinginess can sometimes push partners away, particularly when relationship behaviours rapidly flip between a strong craving for intimacy and a harsh rejection of it.

4. You’re drained

Do you want a close friendship or a relationship? But do you still find yourself pushing people away? Perhaps you are drained from all the efforts that you have put in the past. Relationships take effort; they aren’t always positive, and they can bring you down if you’re not in a good place, to begin with. So take your time. Take a break for a while. Once you feel replenished and are ready to start talking to more people, make a few changes to your routine. Recognize areas where you may be more efficient with your time so you don’t waste it on things that aren’t necessary. For example, instead of watching TV, you might be able to squeeze in some decent sleep.

Reduce the number of distractions you have and develop more effective ways to do chores. You’ll have more energy to speak with friends and create relationships this way.

Use your additional energy to respond to texts, engage in meaningful conversations, and show your friends that you care. You could discover that nurturing relationships is a fun way to spend your time!

5. You’re realizing what you want

We sometimes unconsciously let the wrong individuals into our lives. Something is just a bit off, no matter how hard we try to build a solid connection.

Our friends may be unintentionally toxic, or they may just not share our interests. We may not recognize it at the time, but a mismatch causes us to gradually stop responding to texts, decline invitations to hang out and begin to distance ourselves.

That’s fine! Not everyone you meet will be a good fit for you, and you have the right to walk away from relationships that aren’t beneficial to you.

Keep an open mind to new relationships that may occur in your life, rather than getting disheartened or beating yourself up.

6. The timing is tough

A new job, harder classes, family problems, moving, etc, can all interfere with your relationships.

You may decide to delay responding to messages from a close friend or to put hanging out with them on hold. As a result, they may see this as a hint that you aren’t interested and begin to back away. If you know that, you have a stressful week ahead, give them a heads up. This doesn’t mean you have to tell them everything about yourself or provide a long-winded apology.

You can simply apologize if you don’t respond as frequently as you used to, but you’re having a busy period. This shows that you’re still intrigued without entirely dismissing them.

Although it’s common to push people away when you’re afraid of being hurt, this isn’t a healthy long-term relationship approach.

A therapist can assist you in exploring the reasons for your fear of intimacy and practicing leaning toward people instead of pushing them away.


Angie Won (February 22, 2021). Why Do I Push People Away? How To Stop. Retrieved May 24, 2021, from


Crystal Raypole (January 28, 2021). Why Do I Push People Away? Explanations and 8 Tips for Embracing Intimacy. Retrieved May 24, 2021, from


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