Being called a closed-off person isn’t always meant as a compliment.
This is because being seen as “closed-off” assumes that you don’t have the ability or willingness to connect with someone on a deeper level. People who consider themselves closed-off will be the first to tell you that they like to keep relationships on a surface level.
Frequently, having a more closed-off personality when talking with others is a trauma response, meaning that something in your life has taught you new ways to protect yourself.
While being closed-off is often associated with negative behaviors, it isn’t necessarily bad.
Here is what we learned about how being closed-off can be a good way to be…in moderation:
Benefits Of Being a Closed-off Person
Believe it or not, being a closed-0ff person comes with its benefits!
Perhaps the biggest plus of being a closed-off person is that you are picky about who you let into your personal space. As kids, we’re taught that being picky is a bad thing and that it is not the way to experience different things.
However, being picky about your inner circle is a good thing as an adult. Finding someone to open up to as a closed-off person means that that person is worth your time.
Think of it like, quality over quantity. This way, you surround yourself with people you can depend on and trust.
Being Aware of Others
Another benefit to being a closed-off person is that you are more aware of other people’s needs and triggers. Closed-off people are that way for a reason.
Being a little more removed protects your emotions and allows you to have a greater amount of empathy for others. Being overly empathetic allows you to live your life with greater meaning.
However, it can be a bit of a double-edged sword! Being empathetic to others is a special trait to find in a friend. But, being closed-off doesn’t always allow for a lot of friendships.
Best Friends Instead of Many Friends
One of the benefits is that even though your circle may be small, it is full of quality.
One of the last benefits of being a closed-off person is that you are very protective of your feelings. Being closed off with your emotions can signify trauma in your past.
It means that something happened to you that felt so big that your brain developed ways to protect your feelings to keep yourself from being hurt again.
Feeling hurt and traumatized is tough for people who have already experienced trauma. So, having a healthy way to cope with that, like protecting yourself by being not as emotionally available, is absolutely a good thing!
What Does It Mean To Be A Closed-Off Person?
Being closed-off means you are less willing to open up with others, either emotionally or physically. It also means that you are selective about who you decide to share moments of your life.
Being “closed-off” has little to do with others and much more to do with your comfort level. Most closed-off people are very uncomfortable talking about themselves and typical physical greetings like hugs.
Being uncomfortable with physical touch and emotional connections can be a challenge for you and others who may be trying to get to know you better. Closed-off people can be easily embarrassed by the outpouring of emotions.
It all comes down to perceived judgment.
People who are closed-off feel that when they showcase certain emotions like happiness or sadness, they will be judged, making them incredibly insecure.
Keeping emotions closer to the vest is much easier than being vulnerable to judgment from others. If you find that you feel overwhelmed when in a situation where you have to share something about yourself, you may be closed off.
Are There Benefits To Being A Closed-Off Person?
As mentioned before, there are quite a few benefits to being a closed-off person, but there was one thing that we haven’t mentioned yet – trust.
Trust is the most important building block to creating a great foundation with any relationship. Whether you are looking for a romantic partner or just another friend, you can’t expect it to last without trust. It is equally easy to break as important as trust is.
Trust is such a fragile thing, and for someone who is closed-off, it is important to make sure that the trust is well earned before giving it away.
I am a big believer that trust needs to be earned. This is because it is so easy to lose trust quickly. While some people might see this as a weakness, I think it is a huge benefit of being a closed-off person.
Choosing who to trust protects you and your emotions and means that you only trust someone you think is worthy of it. Therefore, people who are more closed-off than others have a better ability to build strong friendships.
However, it doesn’t mean you can’t have lighter friendships just because you are closed-off. It may seem like friendships are more shallow, but that is not the case.
The hope is that some of those surface friends can eventually grow into something meaningful the longer they get to know you.
So, perhaps one of the biggest benefits of being closed-off is that you have more self-awareness when building great relationships that can stand up to the test of time.
Are There Drawbacks To Being A Closed-Off Person?
Like anything in life, there are positives and negatives to mostly everything.
So, when it comes to being a closed-off person, there are some major drawbacks to consider. The biggest drawback, perhaps, is public perception.
Closed-off people can sometimes come across as cold or guarded to people they meet.
While it does take a little bit of work to break through that hard exterior, some people don’t want to put in the extra work.
While making friends may come easy to people who are more social and open, it is a much harder thing to do for those who are closed-off, which can be a downside.
Standing up for Themselves is Hard
Another more difficult thing for people who keep their emotions close is that it can be hard to advocate for themselves.
When something hurts us, as humans, we want to be able to vocalize our hurt to set a precedent for how we expect to be treated.
When you are more closed-off, vocalizing emotions can be scary, which does a big disservice when speaking about what you deserve.
Lacking in Commitments
Another major drawback to being closed-off is that it can be harder to make commitments. To fully commit to something or someone, you have to feel comfortable.
It is hard to get to a place of comfort when you are not allowing anyone to penetrate through your tough exterior. While it is okay to pick and choose what friendships are worth your time, you may be pushing someone aside who could potentially be a big part of your life.
It isn’t only romantic commitments that can be difficult to navigate when you are closed-off but also advances you could be making in other aspects of your life, like your career.
To continue to grow professionally and personally, you have to be willing to change and put yourself out there. This isn’t as easy for more closed-off people as for others, which is a huge downside.
3 Tips For Opening up more to Others:
If you are a closed-off person and are looking for ways to help you open up, you may find that it can feel a little daunting.
However, there are quite a few tips and tricks that you can try to get more comfortable with being vulnerable to other people.
While vulnerability can get a bad rap, there is something really beautiful about being able to be completely open and honest with another person.
Here are some things you can try if you want to get better about putting yourself out there!
1. Focus On Similarities
As humans, we are so inclined to focus on the differences we have with each other while seemingly ignoring all the things that make us alike!
It can be hard for closed-off people to find those similarities when you aren’t fully invested in learning more about another person. However, the similarities you have should be what drive you to open up.
So, next time you are meeting someone new or maybe even for the second time, try to listen to the things they talk about that bring them joy.
You may find that you have much more in common with that person, which can help move the friendship forward. Having things in common with someone can help to humanize them, making you drop your walls down.
2. Speak Your Truth
It can often be easier to hide your intentions when you are someone who is more closed-off than others.
While you may be thinking that you are interested in exploring a friendship with someone, they might not know it if you are not putting yourself out there.
So, if you want to be able to make more meaningful friendships, be upfront about what your intentions are! Let people know that you are hoping to make more connections and even let them know that this is something that you struggle with.
That special kind of vulnerability will resonate with people and show that while you are closed-off, you can be open when you want to be.
3. Show Interest
The best way to connect with someone, even if you’re closed off, is to show them that you are interested in getting to know them.
One thing that I do when I meet people to show them that I’m interested in not only a friendship but, more important, in the things they say is to ask lots of questions.
Try to ask questions based on specific life points they have already shared with you.
Having them expand on something they already mentioned will help them feel special and heard and create a level of trust between you.
How Do You Handle a Closed-Off Partner?
The last point to talk about when it comes to being closed off is how to deal with a partner who has the tendencies of a closed-off person.
Being on the other side of this relationship is not easy for anyone. So, having the tools to help you communicate with this person can make a difference in making a relationship sustainable.
Try to Understand Their Behavior
The first thing to do is recognize that this is behavior they have chosen to protect themselves.
It is important to understand that it doesn’t always have anything to do with you, and that is much more of a trauma response for the other person.
After you understand this, you can come at them from a more empathetic position.
Use Active Listening
Your biggest tool for talking to a closed-off person is your ability to listen.
Active listening is especially important when talking to someone who already has a wall up—taking in what the other person says will allow you to understand them better and show the other person that you are someone they can trust.
However, I find being very upfront about your intentions is the best way to go. If this person is important in your life, let them know without mincing words.
Be very clear that you want to get to know them better and break through their hard exterior because you find value in them.
Once you make a breakthrough, that’s when the real magic happens!
Only then can the two of you build something that will be grown from a place of vulnerability, and honestly and I find that those are the kind of relationships that will truly matter to you in the long run.
15 signs of a closed-off personality (and how to deal with them)
How to Open Up and Reveal Yourself to Others