Are you struggling to let someone in?
Have people tried to get close to you only to crash repeatedly against the walls you put up?
You can admit to yourself, “I don’t let people in,” but you still shut people out.
It’s your go-to defense mechanism.
You want the love, but not the fear and pain that has always felt inseparable from it.
So, how do you get better at letting people in?
How to Let People In with 7 Stress-Free Changes
Read through the following strategies for learning how to open up to people. Make a note of the ones that stand out for you.
And if you feel moved, jot down your thoughts in a notebook as you read.
1. Acknowledge your past and learn from it.
It does no good to pretend your wounds from past relationships don’t exist or don’t matter. Confront them and be willing to work through them to learn what you need to learn from them and move on.
Pretending you haven’t been hurt (or not seriously) only keeps you in the dark, which is not where you want to be (not really). That wall that surrounds your broken parts and acts like the only thing keeping you together is only making it harder for you to heal.
The pain will keep surfacing, wave after wave until you identify its source.
2. Get real with yourself about where you are and what you want.
Write it all down. Get comfortable with putting your thoughts into words on a page.
If you need help with this, start by asking yourself questions like the following:
- What makes you angry or anxious?
- When have you felt the happiest?
- What does a perfect day for you look like?
- Where do you want to live and in what kind of home?
- What kind of work appeals to you most?
- Where do you want to see yourself 3/5/10 years from now?
- What is something about yourself that you wish others understood or accepted?
Be honest. The words on the page should reflect your unfiltered self — not the person you want others to see.
3. Talk it out with someone.
This is where a good therapist comes in. While it also helps to have someone in your life who’s a good listener and who has your best interests at heart, the people closest to you are more likely to withhold comments they think might hurt you or cause you to pull away.
A paid therapist has far less to lose by being honest with you.
Ask, and they’ll give you their professional assessment of your unique challenges (and advantages) as they’ve been able to observe them. Be ready to see yourself from their perspective.
And at least be open to whatever treatments they suggest. It’s not weakness to try a medication that could help lighten the load you’re carrying.
4. Pay attention to your body language.
Did you know your own body language can work against you?
If you’re approaching a challenge with obvious hesitancy and a posture that conveys fear, dread, or self-doubt, you’re more likely to choke when the time has come for you to make your move.
I know it might feel silly to strike a power pose when you’re feeling less than confident, but how you hold and carry yourself really does affect your mindset.
So, how could it not affect your relationships with others? Open and receptive body language can help you relax.
Act as if you’ve got this — like there’s nothing to fear — and your mind will get the message.
5. Pay attention to your habits.
Your daily habits also have a massive impact on your self-confidence and your receptivity to other people.
Give yourself a reason to get out of bed at the first sound of the alarm, and start a morning routine that helps you wake up and feel refreshed.
Then keep your strength and motivation up during the day with helpful habits like meditation, exercise, and regular breaks.
If your home is a mess, consider adopting some habits that will help you get rid of clutter and keep your space clean and calming.
The strength of your relationships will often depend on how you use the time and energy you have.
Being more mindful of your habits often translates into being more present for others.
6. Keep your standards high — but don’t expect perfection.
Even the best people make mistakes sometimes. You will, too. Nobody’s perfect, and no one benefits by expecting perfection of themselves or of anyone else.
Instead, expect growth, find a way to learn something new every day, and keep your mind open to new possibilities. Keep your standards high when it comes to the people you draw into your inner circle, but don’t expect them to be flawless because they won’t be.
You don’t need perfect. Neither do they. What they want is a deeper connection with you. They want to see that you trust them enough to reveal your true self, quirks and all.
Give them a chance to prove their trustworthiness, whatever their faults might be. Then reciprocate by letting yourself be at least a little more vulnerable with them.
More Related Articles
7. Be patient with yourself.
Failure in relationships isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you. What’s worse is not learning from those failures and continuing to repeat them as you stubbornly cling to beliefs that have nothing to do with reality.
You don’t have to be perfect to be a complete human being worthy of love and respect. Neither do you need someone else’s praise or admiration to feel good about yourself or to give yourself a needed break.
Learn to listen to your inner voice when you’re around the people you love most. Be as patient with yourself as you are with them.
Give yourself the time and space you need to heal and to develop trust.
FAQ about Letting People In
Now that you’ve looked through the tips on opening yourself up and letting people in, let’s tackle some of the questions that might linger in your mind.
How do you not let people in?
Raise your hand if any of the following diversion tactics sound familiar to you:
- Answering probing questions with “I’d rather not talk about that”
- Changing the subject abruptly when a conversation veers into personal territory
- Getting up and finding something you need to do or some reason to leave
If anyone pushes you to open up, you might even tell them, in your own words, to back off.
The more they push to know you better, the less polite your language becomes, as if to warn them that any further pressure to open up will have the opposite effect.
How do you let someone be there for you?
First of all, they have to want to be there — and not out of a sense of obligation. You want someone who wants to be there for you as much as you want to be there for them.
If you pull away when someone tries to be there for you, chances are you’re still protecting yourself from a disappointment you’ve come to expect.
Letting someone be there for you involves risk. Give them a chance to be there before you make up your mind about what to expect from them.
How do I allow myself to be loved?
Start small by allowing someone to love you in small but meaningful ways. The more aware you both are of your respective love languages, the easier it is to show love in ways the other will appreciate.
On the other hand, allowing yourself to be known by revealing your love language exposes you to the risk that your partner will somehow use that against you.
It’s safer not to need anything from them. But just as you want to feel needed, so do they.
Now that you know how to let people in, which of the tips described above stood out for you? And what will you do differently when you spend time with someone you love?