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How to Distance Yourself from Someone (7 Reasons Why and 16 Tips on How)

January 13, 2023

Choosing to distance yourself from someone you love can be a challenging decision to make. As humans, we want to be connected and attached to others, but sometimes we may find ourselves in a toxic friendship or need to distance ourselves emotionally after a breakup. 

It’s natural to need space and time to get more clarity on your situation. It doesn’t mean you will never speak to this person again, but creating distance is an effective way to figure out what you need. 

This article is for you if you want to learn how to distance yourself from a friend or a partner. Below are seven reasons you may want to distance yourself from someone and 16 subtle tips on going about it. 

7 Reasons Why You Would Need to Distance Yourself from Someone 

1. Distance yourself from someone who puts you down

People who are constantly putting you down are energy drainers. These people can't or won't acknowledge your successes or achievements. They also seem to find the negative in everything. If you make a mistake, they may rub it in your face. 

They may even appear happy or satisfied when you fail. Distance yourself from anyone who doesn't treat you with respect. You want people who celebrate your success and support you when you fall. 

2. Distance yourself from a toxic friend who blames you for everything

If you notice that your "friend" blames you for everything that goes wrong, take note. People who blame and never take responsibility for anything may be toxic to your mental health. 

We all make mistakes, but it's important that people don't blame you for things you didn't do. It’s a form of gaslighting and can make you feel confused and small. Don't continue a relationship with anyone who does this.

"People who blame others for their failures never overcome them. They simply move from problem to problem. To reach your potential, you must continually improve yourself, and you can't do that if you don't take responsibility for your actions and learn from your mistakes." 

- John C. Maxwell

3. Create physical space from someone who is controlling

Unfortunately, controlling people are everywhere. It could be a boss, coworker, or friend. There are several signs you may have a controlling friend. For example, they may constantly text you, isolate you from others, or act possessively toward you.

If you realize you have a friend like this, it’s wise to find a support system to help you to distance yourself from this person. Controlling people are often anxious and try to keep their world safe by controlling others.

For your own sake, begin the detachment process from this person.

4. Distance yourself from people who are inconsistent

Inconsistent people are sometimes very warm and welcoming in the beginning. And, then, soon after, they become distant and cold. This is confusing and frustrating when this person is someone you once considered a friend, but keep in mind that inconsistent people may never change.

You have to ask yourself if this is something that you’re willing to tolerate in your life. People with constant mood changes will begin to take a toll on your self-esteem. You may end up walking on eggshells around them. 

Remember that many other people in the world will be consistently warm and welcoming to you.

5. Distance yourself from friends who project onto you

According to an article on Conscious Rethink, the definition of projection is “a defense mechanism that occurs when a conflict arises between your unconscious feelingsand your conscious beliefs.” 

It can be frustrating and uncomfortable if you have a friend who keeps projecting their “unwanted” personality characteristics onto you. You may need to emotionally distance yourself from this person to eliminate further projection. These people may never realize what they’re doing.

6. Distance yourself from people who tell you what to do

distance yourself from people who tell you what to do

We all need advice sometimes, but issues arise if it’s always unsolicited from one particular person. Create distance if this happens all the time. These people often will tell you how to dress, who to date, what career you should have, and what you should eat. They don’t have your well-being in mind.

You don’t need a dictator in your life. You already know what you need for yourself most of the time, and you know how to get help if you need it. Get space from this person and surround yourself with positive people who uplift you.

7. Distance yourself from friends who are notoriously pessimistic

We all worry sometimes, but some people are always looking at the negative side of life. These people may slow you down. And they often point out why your goals and dreams won't work. 

It’s not worth having people who don’t support and see the best possible outcomes for your dreams and goals. Find other friends, create space, and stop communicating with this person. 

16 Tips on How to Distance Yourself from Someone You Love

1. Figure out why you want to leave someone behind

The first thing you need to figure out is why you feel the need to distance yourself from this relationship. Does this person put you down often? Do you feel worse after hanging out with them? 

Once you understand your reasons for wanting to emotionally distance yourself from this person, it will be easier to create space. 

You’ll not feel tempted to go back to this person with a clear understanding as to why you want to get away in the first place.

2. Talk to someone who will understand

It’s important to talk to someone outside of your toxic relationship which you can confide in to support you while you are distancing yourself in a relationship. 

Tell your close friend about how you feel and why you need to cut ties with them. They can offer you an ear and some good advice.

It’s also helpful if you can find someone who may have been through something similar in the past. These people will understand what you are going through. And they can show you that there’s hope for you to move on. 

3. Communicate with your friend or partner

How to distance yourself from someone without hurting them? The best way is to communicate with them.

After you get clear on the reasons why you want to distance yourself from a friend or a romantic relationship, talk to them about what you are feeling. Don’t feel bad about communicating what you need. 

Explain to your friend why you are distancing yourself from them. You don’t want to give them an opportunity to tell you what to do. This may not eliminate all hurt feelings, but it will help them to know where you are coming from.

Obviously, if you are in a relationship where the person may be aggressive or abusive, you may choose not to communicate with this person at all, and cut all ties without contact. 

4. Set boundaries

Be clear with your boundaries while you're emotionally detaching from this person. If you decide no text messages, phone calls, or social media, stick to your word to yourself. 

This will help you to completely detach from that person. Practice patience and self-discipline, and stop talking to them. It will be worth it in the long run.

Doreen Virtue, a licensed and profound psychologist, says, "Boundaries are a part of self-care. They are healthy, normal, and necessary."

5. Create physical space between you

create physical space between you

If this person constantly surrounds you, you can’t put the past behind you. You need to create physical space between you. 

If you have mutual friends with whom you spend a lot of time, you may need to find new people and make new friends. Stop texting that person and hanging out with them, period.

6. Delete them from social media accounts

If you want to get space from someone, you might need to delete them from your social media accounts. Seeing someone who you had a toxic romantic relationship with on social media will make it hard to get them out of your head. 

Amy Chan, a relationship advice columnist, concluded that "images, videos, and other reminders of that person could pop up on social media and remind your brain of that loss, and make it more difficult to "prune away" the neural paths you built up over the months or years you were together."

It's important to allow yourself to have complete space from this person for a time so that you can heal and move on without always being reminded of them. 

7. Give yourself time to feel your emotions and let go

After creating physical space and deleting them from your social media sites, you need to allow yourself to feel your emotions fully. You can expect to feel a plethora of emotions. You may feel sad, confused, angry, or even happy at times. 

Be sure you carve out space in your schedule to cry, scream, or grieve. You can practice yoga or go for a walk. Both of these are great ways to help release pent-up emotions. 

Emotional detaching takes time, and you need to give yourself permission to experience all of your emotions completely.

8. Spend time with supportive friends and family

Having a dedicated support system in place when you crash and burn is beneficial for many reasons. First, these people can lift you up when you're feeling unsure about your choice to emotionally detach from someone you love. 

Next, being physically surrounded by positive people will encourage and remind you why you don't want a toxic relationship in your life. 

Finally, be sure to lean on your support system when you feel tempted to go back to your old toxic friendship because you're feeling lonely.

"Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer." - Ed Cunningham 

9. Create your life without this person

If you're going to be completely detached from someone emotionally, you need to begin to look to your future instead of your past. Don't keep dwelling on your old relationships and only remember the good times you've had. It's easy to get stuck in this mindset. 

Begin to create the life you want by creating space to have a healthy relationship with yourself first. Then, it will be easier to create relationships with other amazing people. You need new people in your life that lift you up.

You can also create a vision board. Print out pictures or cut out magazine images that inspire you and glue them to a poster board. Put it somewhere you can look at it every day. This will help you to get over the past and become excited about your future. 

10. Focus on yourself

Don’t feel guilty for taking time to focus on yourself after you’ve decided to distance yourself from someone you love. It may be difficult at first because you may be in the habit of neglecting yourself and may be used to focusing on your old toxic romantic relationship. 

So be patient with yourself as you navigate your new life without this person. Focus on building a new life by creating new goals, visions, and compassion for yourself. 

11. Speak to a therapist

speak to a therapist

A healthy way to move on if you’re still not feeling confident after talking to a friend is to find a therapist or coach. 

Therapists and coaches are trained to help you through situations like this and give you steps to stay strong and get through it. They also have your well-being in mind. 

12. Make a list of reasons why you cut ties with this person

Sometimes your mind may play tricks on you after you decide to emotionally detach yourself from someone. You may try to convince yourself that things were not that bad. Or you may think that you are making a mistake by moving away from this person. 

That’s why it is important to have tools in place to help remind you why you need to let go. One way to do this is to create a list of reasons why you want to create distance from this person in the first place. Read your list whenever your mind begins to tell you that you’re making a mistake. 

13. Be intentional about your self-love

After you detach emotionally from someone, you need to be intentional about self-love. Put yourself and your happiness first. 

You can do this by tuning into your values and making a conscious effort to stay aligned with them. Remember to also be kind to yourself when you forget to love yourself. 

Creating a habit of self-love takes time, especially if you’ve been neglecting yourself for a long period. Being kind and compassionate is the key. 

14. Give it time

One of the best tips on how to distance yourself from people is to give it time. We often get attached to people quickly. Unfortunately, we don't always emotionally detach as easily. Sometimes it can take days, weeks, months, or even years to fully let go of someone who was once an important part of our life. 

Give yourself lots of grace if you're struggling to let go fully. Allow yourself to take as much time as you need to grieve and move on. 

Keep taking care of your physical health and surround yourself with positive people. In time, you'll move on completely. 

"Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain. The energy it takes to hang onto the past is holding you back from a new life. What is it you would let go of today?" - Mary Manin Morrissey

15. Forgive yourself

forgive yourself

It’s important to forgive yourself when you realize you were in a toxic situation. You may find that you’re beating yourself up because you found yourself in a situation with a toxic friend or partner. 

However, you must forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn't know. You couldn't have known that this person was toxic when you got involved with them in the beginning. 

Sometimes the signs show up later in the relationship. Forgive yourself for staying longer than you think you should have.

"The truth is unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward." - Steve Maraboli

16. Practice gratitude

It may seem counterintuitive to practice gratitude after getting out of a negative situation, but being grateful is powerful. 

Be grateful for loving yourself enough to let go of someone who isn't good for you. You deserve your own gratitude. You can also make a list of other ways this experience allowed you to grow and become wiser.

What Is the Next Step After Distancing Yourself?

The first step after distancing yourself from someone you love is to take care of yourself. Do something that brings you joy. Go hiking in nature, watch your favorite movie, eat a nourishing meal, or journal. By doing things that you enjoy, you’ll soon begin to feel better.

FAQs

Is it possible to distance yourself from someone you love?

Yes, it’s possible to distance yourself from someone you love. It’s not easy, but you can do it with patience and time. It takes time because you are emotionally attached to this person and need to create physical distance to feel your feelings and understand why you want space from this person. 

How do you distance yourself from a boyfriend?

The tips above will give you many ways to distance yourself from a romantic partner. However, get clear on why you want the distance in the first place. Allow yourself space to be sad, angry, and upset. Once you feel all of your feelings, let go and begin to live your new life without this person.

How can you distance yourself from someone without hurting them?

Communication is the best option to help eliminate pain for the other person. Let them know what you're feeling and explain why you need the space. When they love you, most people will honor your choice and give you the space you are asking for.

How do you emotionally detach from someone? 

There’re many ways to detach from someone emotionally, but the first step is giving yourself the space and the distance to let go. The above article goes into more detail on how to move on after distancing yourself from someone.

Conclusion

In conclusion, distancing yourself from friends or a partner isn’t easy. And to emotionally detach takes time. Refer back to this article if you’re struggling with how to distance yourself from someone you love.

In the comments, let us know how you distanced yourself from someone in your life. Also, if you enjoyed this article, please remember to share.

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