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Letting People Know You

Many emotionally sensitive people find varied ways to protect themselves from hurt. You may become an expert in not letting people get close to you or in avoiding any interactions that could be difficult. You find a way to keep your guard up. There are many different ways you might do that.

One way emotionally sensitive people keep their guard up is by not letting anyone really get to know them. You lock who you are up really tight. That means you don’t really express your opinion or give out much personal information. Maybe you don’t even tell people where you live. You smile in agreement with whatever others say whether its “I think the President is doing a horrible job” or “He’s the best president ever.” If someone invites you to go eat pizza, you nod and say, “That sounds like fun.” Later you’ll regret agreeing and call and cancel with a really good reason. It’s part of keeping your real self in quarantine and isolation. It’s like you believe the less people know about you, the less they can hurt you.
You never talk about your life. You’re doing “fine” and life is “good.”

No one knows that you love the color green or that you hate pizza. No one would guess that you paint landscapes for fun or that you have a decent singing voice. They don’t know what’s important to you or what upsets you.

To some extent the armor works. At the same time, it’s very lonely when no one knows who you are or what’s important to you. Maybe you even forget who you truly are. You may not know your favorite food anymore or where you’d most like to have dinner.

A step in overcoming loneliness and connecting with others is to open up and let your armor down. It means to discover or rediscover who you are. It means to let people know more about you and to be willing to share information with others. It means dropping the mask and not pretending. That takes a lot of courage.

Some people may not enjoy your company. At the same time, you have an opportunity to truly connect with someone else. Connecting with another person is one of the keys to living a life that you value.

It’s so easy to say you don’t need other people, especially when you’ve been hurt. Maybe you don’t. But our humanness includes a need to be close to at least one other person to live a peaceful and fulfilling life.

Do you have a way of keeping others at a distance?

Letting People Know You

Karyn Hall, PhD

Karyn Hall, Ph.D. is the owner/director of the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Center in Houston, a DBT-Linehan Board of Certification, Certified Clinician, a RO DBT Approved Supervisor and Trainer and owner of, an online educational program. She is a trainer/consultant as well as a therapist and certified coach, author of The Emotionally Sensitive Person, SAVVY, Mindfulness Exercises for DBT Therapists, and co-author of The Power of Validation. Her podcast, The Emotionally Sensitive Person, is available on iTunes.

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APA Reference
Hall, K. (2018). Letting People Know You. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 3, 2020, from


Last updated: 11 May 2018
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