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Why Distancing Yourself from People
May Cause You Harm

distancing yourself

By Jilian Woods

Sometimes, all you want to do is close your bedroom door, stick on your favorite record, and shut yourself off from the world. It’s a tempting proposition, and it’s one we all face from time to time. We’ve all experienced those moments when we just feel overwhelmed by whatever tasks or challenges we’re facing, or when we sense that the people around us aren’t providing what we think they should, and there’s no doubt it’s a difficult place to find yourself in.

Whether in connection to friendships, relationships, your work, or your academic life, it’s not uncommon to feel a strong desire to distance yourself from people… There are plenty of blogs and advice columns out there advising that it can be a positive step to take, especially in the case of distancing yourself from friends who perhaps aren’t doing you any good. There aren’t a whole lot of people suggesting that it could be a painful choice and one who might end up causing your problems to deepen.

Today, we’re going to be taking a closer look at the act of distancing yourself from others. Why do we feel compelled to do so? Are the benefits such actions bring real and lasting, or merely ephemeral and insubstantial? How can closing ourselves off from people cause us harm? These questions need answering, and we’re going to ensure we consider some sides of the argument which rarely get an airing.

Why might you feel the need to distance yourself from people?

There’s no doubt about the fact that, often, people can be bad for us, our happiness, and even our mental health. Most of us will find ourselves in toxic friendships or relationships at some point in our lives, and few would argue against the notion that such people need to be gotten rid of as quickly as possible. The problems occur when we begin to withdraw ourselves from people in general (something which often happens following such a toxic encounter or friendship), and fail to notice the help and assistance which others can bring.

Why do we do this? There’s a whole host of reasons why we’re often tempted or drawn towards distancing ourselves from others. Perhaps it’s a matter of pride: we think that we can handle our difficulties, our problems, even our workload all on our own. Maybe we lack trust in others. It’s possible that we’ve been let down or hurt, and don’t want to risk such a thing happening again.

In these situations, more often than not the case has the potential for real and lasting harm. It’s all too easy to delude ourselves that we can manage everything alone… and there invariably comes the point when we want to call out for help, for assistance, for someone to share the weight on our shoulders. Whether there remains anyone to answer your plea depends on just how much you’ve distanced yourself in the first place.

Let’s consider some of the ways distancing ourselves can cause genuine problems in many areas of our lives.

  • Burning Bridges Can Leave You Stranded
    No matter how much you might want to shut yourself off from people, it’s important to remember that we all need each other at some point. What’s more, the people you’re distancing yourself from may actually need you, too, and by removing yourself from their lives, you could be spreading the potential for harm among those who form your support network.
  • You may not be strong enough to face your problems alone
    Life can be hard. But no matter what problems or difficulties you’re facing, it’s always easier to cope with them when they’re shared with other people. Struggling with work? There are those who are not only willing to help you but who may well have been in the same boat as you at some point. Finding college work overwhelming? Asking a professional service the question: ‘please write my essay for me’ might seriously help to alleviate the load with ease. Sometimes we overestimate our strength and coping ability, and in these moments, we definitely need to have the courage to reach out and ask for assistance.
  • Other people can see things which you potentially cannot
    Second opinions, alternative points of view, and refreshed perspectives are all out there, and they’re all important. It’s entirely possible that your issues aren’t as big as they appear to be from where you’re standing, and distancing yourself from other people shuts you out of different ways of looking at things. Gaining a sense of perspective is a vital part of healthy living and thinking, and will most probably help you realize that distancing yourself from people is most likely not the answer you’re looking for.
  • Isolation causes a concentration of negativity
    Avoiding a downward spiral of negativity is a hugely important thing to avoid in life. When we isolate ourselves, we often end up perceiving our problems as far more significant than they are. The result of this is like a self-fulfilling prophecy; because we see the problems as bigger, they become more challenging to overcome.
  • A problem shared is a problem halved
    Again, no matter what issue in your personal, professional, or academic life you’re facing, the old saying rings true. As soon as we open up about what is bothering us, the weight becomes lifted from our shoulders. It’s likely that the people around you actively want to help - perhaps for the right reasons, perhaps not. It’s sometimes scary to reach out and seek guidance, but the alternative can be far worse.

Distancing yourself from others is often a path which has no ending

Our day to day lives bring all kinds of challenges, and sometimes, people rub each other up the wrong way. Sure, meeting the wrong people at the wrong time (or even the right people at the wrong time) does happen but that doesn’t mean that you have to paint everyone with the same brush and distance yourself from those around you who matter.

Keeping your doors open to those who can help us is a vital part of healthy, happy living. Whether it’s a professional service that can help you lighten the load, or friends or relatives or colleagues or classmates who need you as much as you need them, it’s essential to ensure that we build a durable and robust network of assistance. With good communication, a system of trust, and opportunities for openness and growth, it’s incredible what issues we can all overcome.

Jilian Woods Author bio: Jilian Woods is a freelance journalist and a contributing writer having more than two years of writing experience. As a writer, she sees her purpose in producing and sharing relevant content with people who are willing to learn something new. Apart from her day job, you may find Jilian engaged in volunteering or doing yoga.
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