15 Tips to Break Through Their Emotional Walls

15 Tips to Break Through Their Emotional Walls

Communication is essential for healthy relationships.  But what do you do when you are finding it difficult to converse with someone?  These blocks can appear for a number of different reasons and be frustrating to dismantle.  Try these 15 tips today and you might create a safe venue for them to share what really is going on with you or other concerned loved ones.


  • Respect their process. Prying is unhelpful for someone not ready to share.  Instead of being aggressive with your inquiries, try a gentler approach.  By knowing you are there and ready to listen when they feel more comfortable you both will get much further.


  • It’s not easy to be vulnerable. It can be scary to share difficult news or insights.  Work to alleviate this person of any concerns of judgment, criticism, or rejection.


  • Create a safe space. People will share when they feel comfortable and secure.


  • Respect they may be healing from hidden pain. Often people with traumatic histories or frequent interactions where their feelings may be minimized, will have created protective walls to protect themselves.


  • Everyone is unique. People are never truly black or white on an issue.  Instead they can fall on a spectrum of being introverted or extroverted, open or guarded, etc.  Just because they are closed off now doesn’t mean in the right setting, they won’t confide in you.  Work to understand both their history and core personality to better understand what they need to feel like they can safely share their concerns


  • Act friendly. There’s a reason they say “you get more with honey than with vinegar.” By acting gently and like an ally, you can ease mutual frustration which prevents sharing.


  • Understand your relationship to openness. By knowing what makes it easier for you to share, you might relate better to what they are going through.  Being vulnerable with them may make it easier for them to be receptive to your concern and efforts.


  • Continue building your relationship. People most often share with others they feel close with and valued by.


  • Stop pestering. Although you are trying to help, all this strong nudging can come across like you nagging.  This can lead to resentment and build frustration between the two of you.  Give them some space and let them come to you.


  • Give context. Create the space and boundaries to show them it’s safe to share


  • Be empathetic. Show them you are working to understand the bits they are able to convey to you.  Validate their feelings and act as lovingly as possible.


  • Lead by example with verbalizing your thoughts and feelings.  By modeling helpful behavior, you create the space for them to reciprocate.


  • Affirm their experiences. By showing them how much you appreciate their effort and insights it allows them more confidence to share even more with you.


  • Promote slow progress. It’s unfair to think this person will suddenly go from reserved to chatterbox.  Honor the steps forward to help reinforce their confidence.


  • By listening without waiting to respond you will show them that you have their full and undivided attention.  This will also reduce their concern that you might judge or react to what they have to share or went through.

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