We’ve all been there—faced with a conversation that we’d rather avoid than deal with.
Whether it’s a sensitive subject with a friend, a confrontational discussion with a colleague, or a heart-to-heart chat with a loved one, difficult conversations can be, well, difficult.
But have you ever wondered why some people seem to have mastered the art of avoidance?
And no, I’m not here to point fingers or judge anyone.
Instead, I want us to better understand why people respond to difficult conversations the way they do, as well as explore the ten traits that cause them to be more resistant.
Who knows? You might learn a little something about yourself along the way.
Let’s get started!
1) They are at an extreme
They are either extremely nice or extremely unpleasant. In both cases, these people use their personalities as a way to avoid difficult conversations.
They’re experts at creating an atmosphere where nobody dares to bring up sensitive topics, but they do it in very different ways—one with sweetness and the other with a whole lot of fire.
The “extremely nice” ones always have a smile on their faces, a compliment on their lips, and a casual style that screams “approachable”.
They believe that by being overwhelmingly nice, they can keep any challenging conversations at bay. But in their desperate attempt to avoid discomfort or tension, important issues tend to get swept under the rug.
And then there are also the “extremely unpleasant” ones.
They’re short-tempered, raise their voices, and maybe even slam a door or two. They use anger as a protective shield, making it clear that they’re not in the mood to talk.
But if, for some miracle, you manage to get them to talk, you’ll notice that…
2) They can be very defensive
They’re quick with a comeback and ready to verbally attack anyone who pushes them to talk.
They might start pointing out your flaws or mistakes, or perhaps nitpick at minor details to divert the conversation away from the real issue.
It’s possible that in the past, these people have experienced heartbreak or emotional pain as a result of a difficult conversation.
So they’ve developed a thick skin as a defense mechanism.
Unfortunately, in the process of protecting their ego, they might unintentionally push people away or prevent meaningful connections from forming.
So don’t be surprised if…
3) They are friendly but do not get too close to anybody
They always greet you with a warm smile, ask about your weekend plans, and seem genuinely interested in your life.
But when it comes to getting personal, they maintain a strong boundary.
People like this are careful not to get too emotionally close to anyone.
They believe that by keeping their distance, they can avoid awkward or confrontational discussions.
So when sensitive topics come up, they gently redirect the conversation back to safer and lighter topics.
This way, they can keep their interactions pleasant and drama-free.
Besides, anyone who tries to open up to them will only end up disappointed because…
4) They are not the best listeners
Most of the time, they appear as if they’re just nodding along and waiting for their turn to speak.
They might frequently interrupt you, offer vague responses, or try to change the topic altogether to avoid any potential tension.
But it’s not that they don’t care about you.
They’re just not willing to invest the emotional energy needed for deep conversations out of fear that if you continue to open up, they might feel obliged to do the same.
For these people, a successful conversation is one where nobody has to confront their shadows or share their innermost feelings.
Being a bad listener is their way of avoiding unnecessary attachments to others.
So it’s not surprising that they also come across as self-centered.
And if you’re thinking that they are disinterested or dismissive, you’re probably right. In fact…
5) They have a habit of trivializing problems or conflicts
They tend to downplay your concerns, making it seem like not such a big deal.
They’re also the type to say, “Oh, it’s no problem at all” or “don’t worry about it,” even when something is clearly bothering them.
Instead, they keep things light and embody a carefree persona.
If you’re in a relationship with someone who has a tendency to downplay your problems, you’ll often feel emotionally burdened and lonely in the relationship.
Their lack of willingness to address serious concerns can make you feel that your needs don’t matter. But oftentimes, this isn’t personal.
How they treat you is a reflection of how they feel about themselves.
Their own traumas have them believing that their needs or desires are not important, and nobody’s designed to pour from an empty cup.
Which is why it’s also not shocking that…
6) They have poor communication skills
They struggle with finding the right words or expressing themselves clearly.
As a result, they avoid eye contact or give short, unhelpful responses. They might even go completely silent when things get tough.
This behavior usually stems from their fear of saying the wrong thing, making the situation worse, or becoming overly emotional.
People with poor communication skills might come across as evasive because they secretly hope that their difficulties will discourage you from pushing the issue.
Unfortunately, this also means that important matters go unaddressed, potentially leading to misunderstandings or strained relationships.
And there are times when they even try to lighten things up by injecting humor mid-conversation and pretending…
7) They are funny
They believe that making people laugh is the best way to maintain a relaxed environment and prevent conversations from becoming too deep or intense.
So they instinctively turn to humor to divert the conversation away from serious matters.
But the funny approach can also be a double-edged sword.
As much as it can help maintain a sense of harmony and prevent conflicts from escalating, some people may perceive it as a form of avoidance.
It might also become a pattern where problems are never fully addressed because humor becomes the go-to strategy to dodge them.
But if jokes won’t do the trick, then they’ll just straight up lie to your face!
They might even believe their own stories because…
8) They are skilled at lying
When confronted with a difficult topic they’d rather avoid, their first instinct is to tell a convincing lie.
They might make up excuses, invent elaborate stories, or even pretend to be ignorant.
Oftentimes, they simply tell you what you want to hear.
Sadly, the ones you believe without a second thought are the ones that have probably had plenty of experience getting good at lying.
Sometimes they’re so skilled at it, you can hardly tell if they’re being truthful or not.
And this works perfectly for them because their ability to deceive with ease allows them to keep discussions on the surface and avoid uncomfortable truths.
But some people are smarter than they think and can eventually catch on to their tactics. Over time, others may become wary of their honesty and credibility.
Still, they couldn’t care less, and this very lack of remorse can indicate that…
9) They are emotionally immature
Some people are just not quite equipped to handle difficult conversations maturely, and it shows.
And because they struggle with navigating their complex emotions, they respond to situations like a child in distress, usually by sulking, shutting down, or acting out in frustration.
They might even rely on their partners or family to handle sensitive matters for them because they’re too emotionally immature to take responsibility.
For these people, it’s more natural to throw a tantrum or play the blame game than to be vulnerable in front of others.
Their inability to understand and handle their own emotions makes it hard for them to empathize with you and others.
And in some extreme cases…
10) They become withdrawn and completely distance themselves
Not only can they feel emotionally cold or withdrawn from you, but they can also choose to be physically distant from you.
You might notice that they start to become quiet or even a bit aloof.
They limit their interactions by making excuses not to attend social gatherings or becoming less responsive to your messages and calls, effectively creating a protective barrier.
Keeping their distance is how they maintain a sense of emotional autonomy.
For them, there’s no better way to avoid difficult conversations than not engaging with them at all.
But they cannot hide or escape forever. Eventually, they need to face the world again because that’s the only way they can truly achieve peace.
Remember, avoidance is a common human response, and nobody’s perfect when it comes to handling challenging conversations.
It all comes down to your willingness to do better and your commitment to do the inner work.
Recognizing these traits in yourself and others can be your first step towards healing and attracting healthier and more authentic relationships.
After all, that’s what you deserve.