People often start being distant with me - trying to figure but I feel stuck! Help/advice needed.

Aug 2020
I've often had this happening to me, and despite my effort to pinpoint to anything on my part, I'm unable to. I've noticed that often people who don't know me well, started being distant, which manifests itself in them avoiding natural eye contacts with me, giving unusually brief replies, pretending not to see me when I was there and other innuendos. To give you specific details, I'm writing down three such instances that occurred this year itself:

Example 1:
(a) In fact, I tend to think something along that line happened also in my last job from which I was eventually let go. In this case, the manager suddenly started acting distant and overly disapproving of my work one evening and it continued in one way or another, e.g. he stopped giving me the credits he gave me before for completing a certain project by calling it 'easy' later (it wasn't easy and I felt he was trying to undermine my achievement). I also observed that before he gave me more time for discussions and technical interactions but it all seemed to change one evening, an evening we and another colleague took a business trip. I tried to mentally travel to that evening and analyze if I had done anything wrong that evening, and nothing particular stood up: we were having dinner with a project collaborator in the city we traveled to, and I missed part of what he did in that city, so reiterated a question to ask him what he was doing. I absolutely meant no disrespect to anyone.
(b) Similar in spirit, the job prior to that also let me go after 8 weeks, where I noticed the manager starting to becoming a little distance from the third week onwards.

Example 2:
Just to quote another instance from today: there's a young lady (21/22 year old) in my gym whom I once caught staring at me, and I said hello passing by to deter any awkwardness. This created an atmosphere of friendliness - we started to greet or smile at each other every time we pass by. Now to day I noticed that that seem to have disappeared from her side - she saw (not stared at) me today multiple times, but upon my looking in her direction, didn't reciprocate (she wasn't exactly close, but the gym was very empty today and we all could see each other). To test the waters, I decided to go close to the machine she was using and politely asked her how many sets she still had - she replied equally politely and with a smile on her face, and I told her to take her time to finish. When she did, she didn't show the nicety of looking in my direction to indicate that she's finished which is a commonly observed behavior. Now last time (the time before today) I interacted with her, she was on a mat doing some stretches, I was coming to her direction upon entering the gym, and I did a hand movement to acknowledge her existence, she did it back, no smile or word was exchanged, and I looked up and started climbing the stairs to go to a different floor. I described our last interaction to give you the detail, if it's relevant.

Example 3:
I've been attending a walking group for three years now and know the guide, with whom I'm friendly enough (but not friends). Quite suddenly, when I started to attend his walking events after deconfinement, I noticed a sudden change of behavior on his part, he was giving exceedingly short answers, almost avoiding my questions by pretending to look at the other attendees who were new to the group, and in fact didn't reply back to one my thank you messages. All of these signs seemed very unusual - e.g. even given the fact that he's to answer to other people, not replying to me is something that never happened before. Fortunately for me, this continued for two of his events, but eventually solved itself when he greeted me in his usual, friendly manner, which I reciprocated. Now a reflection upon the first moment when I noticed this strange behavior on his part, revealed that I was back in his events after nearly four months, after saying a hello and exchanging pleasantries, I was standing isolated from the group. However,even then, afterwards, I talked to him asking how his confinement was, and at the end of that very articular walk, I sent him a thank you note, unanswered.

For other such instances, I also tried to analyze the situation, but couldn't get a definitive answer - I didn't seem to have done anything wrong to them - in fact these people weren't close to me enough that we hanged out in the same group or do - we didn't. There're certain observations though: 1) it happens much more with women than men (I'm 36, male), 2) in none of the circumstances I didn't find any single example of misbehavior on my part, and 3) Just to show you the other side of the coin: at times when I note an behavior done to me which I deem wrign, I go into a silent treatment mode. Two example follows: a) a guy whom I was quite friendly with from the same walking group I mentioned above, happened to walk into a gathering I was attending, and tried to direct all the attention from a lady I was talking to and the conversation was going well; he came and he shook my hand and then proceeded to engage the lady to talk to him only ignoring my presence, and this led me to completely stop taking to that guy (even though that lady and and I are still friendly and he didn't succeed with her): for me, what he did is an example of a behavior I'd not do to any person I'd like to be friendly with and this was never resolved- I cut contact with him, b) once a roommate behaved in a manner what I'd call rude but apparently he didn't understand that he was being rude, so I gave him a one week long silent treatment, leading him to ask the reason and me telling him, thus resolving the issue.

Possibility of emitting a negative subconscious vibe? All of these commonalities and repeated occurrences led me to believe that somehow I emit a vibe that turns people off. Now the very first time I recall noticing it was in 2007, when I was 23, and it still happens quite on a regular basis. I'm observant of my own behavior (as well as others') and I really don't mind apologizing for anything that I've done remotely wrong (and I've done this in the past), but I still don't get why this is happening. Now I do have some internal anxiety problem due to my bad professional situation since 2018 and being repeatedly let go from different jobs, all decent. SO it could be that it's affecting my mind, but I receiving distance behavior started way before that.

What should I do? Next time this happens, what should I do that person? Asking is I've done anything wrong, is meaningless, as most possibly I've not. How should I go about this whole thing - what should my approach be? And why is this happening over and over again?

Am I really overthinking? Also, I often think about this issue and these times when these happen with a person, I simply stop acknowledging the existence of that person unless it's professional - e.g. I know that person is there and if (s)h'd not have acted distant, I'd have at least look into her direction, nod or smile, but after (s)he started acting distance, I go out of my own way to show my ignorance of that person. I'm not sure I'm overthinking, and even if I am, I can't trick my brain into stopping that thinking. If you do think that I'm over thinking, then I'd appreciate such a brainhack to stop that negative thought.

Thank you so much for reading my story, and I'm looking forward to a discussion about this.
Last edited:
Mar 2020
Honestly. With no disrespect for any of my comments. I believe people advance indifferent areas of focus. Some people are great at what others are terrible at, and the same people are terrible at what others are great at. That's the whole purpose of any discussion, which leads to my first point. In order for you even to want to discuss this you must acknowledge that you are doing the wrong thing, apparently.

Your post reflects that you think you are not doing the wrong thing and that everyone else is.

Second point. There is no one proper way to behave. Even in 1800s Jane Austin Britain fantasy, where people were sipping tea and doing everything just right, they were still knitpicking, and imo Jane Austin is all about knitpicking, and my mom loves it.

There will always be something to knit pick and there will never be one psychologically imperishable behavioral trick that makes everyone in the world worship you, except as prophesied by John the Devine in the Bible, which everyone in the world is doing their best to kill that guy before he shows up, aka Hitler.

Thirdly, the idea that you have to kill God, is probably the motivation behind all despite as a rule. If someone is the most powerful, and if you actually are doing nothing wrong , all the more reason to cut you off. Christians, aethiests, Muslims, you name it, all understand the inherrent obligation to be corrupt. The most invisible corruption always wins. Some Christian teachings teach blamelessness, and others preach inherent evil, and thus the need for Christ. It's completely a double standard, which is ok. Because without a double standard, there is no choices. You are free to flip flop, which is the essence of freedom.

Fourthly, I have always understood, even if a girl stares at you at a gym, your not going to acknowledge her presence every single time you see her. That's called creepy. Now creepy happens and it's a totally male phenomenon, because we are conflicted with whether or not we're going to Start a Relationship with that woman. If you stay on the fence, your going to make her think "well if I ever go to that gym, this guy is going to be half interacting with me every single time, what the hell am I supposed to do?" Think about her. She might be much happier if you ignored her, and that's not a dis on you, that means she's free. Of course do not approach her and tell her she's free, I did that before. Think about awkwardness and how it's affecting your relationships.

Fifthtly, I'm a family guy, and I understand that I have one woman to have a real interaction with. Everyone else is a shadow of a person, who I wouldn't care if they died. All my motivations hang on a few select people who have given me the patience and recipricosity that I craved. Everyone else can die, and I treat them as such, only pretending to associate with them. This might be a flaw of mine, but this is my chosen pattern at age 32.

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