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How To Tell If Someone Is Emotionally Unavailable


For many of us, Law of Attraction work has social interaction at its core. We might be looking for the romance of our dreams. Or maybe attempting to broaden our circle of friends. Alternatively, just trying to interact with people in a more compassionate, vibration-boosting way. However, any such connection comes with the risk of devoting time and energy to someone who isn’t emotionally available. This can be a draining, hurtful process.

So, how do you tell whether you’re dealing with a person who is emotionally unavailable? Look out for the following key signs someone is emotionally unavailable.

7 Signs Someone Is Emotionally Unavailable

An emotionally unavailable person may have a few or all of the following signs…

1. They Send Out Mixed Signals

When someone is emotionally unavailable, they often send out mixed messages. They might be enthusiastic and friendly one minute, and then distant or withdrawn the next.

In manipulative people, this can be a conscious choice. It may be made in an effort to string you along, especially if you’re casually dating. Or you are only just starting a relationship.

In other people, mixed signals are just a product of low self-knowledge and confusion about what they really want.

Whatever the source, the result is the same. It may be an inconsistent, insecure attachment that creates an unequal power dynamic that is frustrating at best and deeply distressing at first.

eight-things-avoid-boasting 2. They Show Lack Of Consideration For Your Emotions

Emotionally unavailable people are typically very self-involved. They focus heavily on their feelings and take little, to no, interest in yours. Sometimes, their emotions and needs will align with yours. This dynamic may feel quite satisfying.

However, at other times their self-interest will cause them to do things that make you feel foolish, forgotten or disrespected.

It is only when people are able to look outside of themselves that they become emotionally available for deeper connections.

(TIP: Find out how you can identify a toxic friendship here.)

3. They Demonstrate Low Interest In Who You Are

The lack of consideration displayed by emotionally unavailable people extends beyond the sphere of feelings and into general facts about you.

To put it plainly, the emotionally unavailable objectify others and view them as means to an end. Whether that end is career advancement, ego-stroking or practical help.

This means they could often keep things very superficial. Their interest will fluctuate according to what you can do for them. Their desire to spend time with you could have little, to nothing, to do with the actual traits that make other people like you.

4. There’s A Sense That Something Crucial Is Missing

In more subtle cases, it’s your intuition that will clue you into the fact that someone isn’t emotionally available to you.

There may just be this nagging feeling that they aren’t being authentic. Or that you can’t truly get close to them. Even if you can’t generate concrete evidence for why you believe this, you are probably picking up on subtextual aspects of the conversation, such as body language, tone, and gaze.

5. Their Words Don’t Match Their Actions

Whether there’s a genuine desire to manipulate or there’s merely a disconnect between the emotionally unavailable person’s desires and capacities, you’ll notice that what is said or promised is rarely what is offered.

In relationships, this can be seen on the topic of major commitments (e.g. marriage or having children). In friendships, it can be seen when planning trips together, organizing nights out, or in any area that is focused on making long-term plans.

6. They Avoid In-Person Connection

To come back to the dating example, be on the lookout for people who are willing to send texts, instant messages, and emails but keep dodging your calls or requests to meet up face-to-face. This can be related to social anxiety. However, it’s also an indication of emotional unavailability.

It means they are throwing up a barrier between the two of you. This keeps things very much within their comfort zone.

You may notice this in the early stages of getting to know them. It could be linked to an initial shyness that will slowly dissolve over time.

However, if weeks and months are passing and this person is still doing their level best to avoid sitting in a room with you, it’s time to reevaluate your priorities.

7. They Have A Difficult Past

Finally, as suggested by the above point about social anxiety, it is important to stress that emotional unavailability can be a complex part of a person and may not reflect a fully negative character.

In some cases, a highly challenging or traumatic past is a sign that someone won’t be able to form a deep emotional connection with you, at least not yet.

When someone has experienced abuse, multiple breaches of trust or other very painful life experience, they can be extremely scared to open up or make any significant, longer-term commitment.

Through time, effort and/or therapy this avoidance can be overcome, but it’s not an easy road. So it’s up to you to decide whether you are willing or able to stick with someone who is trying (but struggling) to be emotionally available.

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Katherine Hurst
By Katherine Hurst
Katherine Hurst, is a Law of Attraction expert, best-selling author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on psychology, life design, structured thinking and emotional wellbeing.

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