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What is it that keeps us from being closer to other human beings ?

What causes us to withhold from other human beings ? Answers might be what people find that brings them closer to others, things they may do on a day to day basis.

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    Feb 22 2013: Boundaries help us establish the self. If we do not have a healthy sense of self, we cannot be close to others. It is pathological if we do not have a good understanding of self.
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      Feb 23 2013: Is our concept of self an illusion? Are we multiple selves?
      We seem to be oriented around the idea that our consciousness is the Self, but this does not include the unconscious aspects of self.
      When we see ourselves as only a conscious self aren't we creating unconscious boundary that keeps us from bonding with others?
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    Gail .

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    Feb 23 2013: Our culture encourages this. Our culture rests on the belief that the spaces between us are empty spaces. But the truth is that the spaces are a perceptual illusion. There are no secrets to one who knows self, but because our culture believes that there are empty spaces between us, most think that they can keep secrets because they cannot communicate with the energy that emanates from us every single moment.

    When you realize that there are no secrets, you will be your authentic self. You will not be so willing to participate in a culture where the only way you can have is if others do without - thus building shame that must be denied (secrets) in the name of personal survival. Those who are hiding their own shame withdraw from others and find people and things to blame their secret shame on. Soon you have communities that are caught up in religion and politics and your neighbor is your enemy.

    If I were to intentionally create a society of people who are incapable of healthy relationships, I would keep them afraid. I would establish religions, political frays, televisions stations, movies, and fiscal systems that encourage them to become WELL acquainted with their fears, and to become a servant to them. This will convince the people that their fear is real, so that they will never explore themselves, not wanting to see what they are ashamed of, thus being unwilling to take responsibility for their own actions. Being isolated by their fears, they will never establish community in order to come together to throw off the taskmaster who hides behind the name Big Brother.

    To come together, do the opposite of what we are doing.
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    Feb 23 2013: Usually, our unrealistic expectations are the biggest hindrances to the growth of our relationships. This manifests in arrogance or pride (thinking we´ve got the best blueprint of life that others have to fit in); When we dont forgive, we put so much hurt and grudges in our minds and this keeps us from loving; When we are too selfish and expect other people to serve us or for their world to revolve around us; When we think that we dont really need other people and that we can make it on our own; When we focus on getting from others and less on giving.

    All these hinder us from having fruitful relationships.
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    Feb 23 2013: For a change I shall try a non-academic answer to your question in common folks' language. :)
    I take it that by 'being closer' you mean making friends or striking a relationship or simply knowing someone better. We can approach being closer in two different ways.
    One by assuming every stranger is a potential source of trouble and not fit to trust and then approaching with caution, eliminating many, looking for the 'right' one and hoping not to regret. Pros: safe and sanitized relationship ; Cons: uninteresting, banal associations and missed opportunity of enduring lessons of life.
    The other is by assuming every stranger a potential source of joy, excitement and source of new learning, hence trusted without caution, accepting him/her as just as he/she is and hoping not to regret. Pros: Life becomes a festival, a never ending exciting journey with enrichment of soul. Cons: increased chances of getting hurt, sometimes deeply.
    I think most prefer the first path. I think my explanation also answers your other questions.
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      Feb 23 2013: Well put, Pabitrya.
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      Feb 23 2013: Well said Pabitra!

      If you don't mind, I would like to simplify just a wee tiny bit.

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    Feb 23 2013: People are so different in how much they choose to connect with others or are able to connect with others. Some people find it harder to trust than others do. Some people are more willing to take risks in order to achieve something wonderful than others are.

    Some of this is probably temperament or personality. For others, their approaches to people are shaped by their experiences in childhood or recent past- perhaps being betrayed. This affects what people will decide to share and with whom.

    Many people have someone, or a couple of people with whom they share everything while being careful about what they share with others.
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    Mar 20 2013: .
    . .
    My answer:

    It is symbiosis.
    Symbiosis is one of our important instincts.
    Instincts are our ancestors' successful experiences.

    (For details, see the 1st article, points 4-7, 10, at
  • Mar 17 2013: Fear. There are only two basic emotions: love and fear. Fear is something we have will be taken away or something we want wont be given. Bottom line. The greatest love tragedies, war, and crimes...fear. Love means being vulnerable, truthful, sincere, present. Today we as a society don't dare explore these realities. For they are the elements which make us weak. At least that is what I see; not what I believe.

    If we had no fear what could we do? Listen to each other, end poverty and hunger, unite in mind toward a common goal; base solution for the common good of all... not one.

    But a greater concept of why we cant be close to others, is because we refuse to know OURSELVES FIRST. We mold to our environment or people. The human animal has been doing that for years. I know this: you cant give away something you don't have.
  • Feb 27 2013: Lies.
  • Feb 26 2013: I find that selfishness or self-centeredness is the root of distance between people. When you're only thinking about yourself, the only reason you need other people is when they can benefit you. They feel used, since you're not benefiting them, and you move away from each other. Every person has a degree of selfishness in them, which is why every person experiences this at some point. The good news is that you can change to become an unselfish person.
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    Feb 24 2013: We are basically cultural / tribal in our approaches. We bond with "kiindered souls". Because we fish together means we share a love of fishing ... we go to the same spa ... we talk baseball .... or work only a cube away from each other every day .... none of these mean we will be best friends forever.

    Bill Williams said: You are very luck if you have one true friend in your life. Think about that. Who could you call at three AM and say come to XXX now I need you. No further explaination, no questions .... just "I'll be there in ten minutes.

    I made close friends in the military and law enforcement ... we often hold each others lives in our hands and my life in theirs. That is a serious bond.

    We do not have to explain or discuss these "special" people in our lives. It exists .. we know it ... we accept it.

  • Feb 24 2013: Good talks.
  • Feb 24 2013: I am here for the first time. I am excited.
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    Feb 24 2013: We have lost sight of the classical understanding that being closer to other people is a central part of what it means to live the "good life." The reasons this has happened are complex, and embedded in a variety of historical paradigm shifts, but a powerful and consistent dynamic helping to explain this is that if the wolves can convince each of the sheep that it is already separated from the herd, then it is so much easier to control.
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    Feb 23 2013: The question you are posing aims at the heart of our concept of a self and other, and the model of relationship that we employ From the moment we are born we are the world, but soon start to grasp that the world has a part that is other-ly, and not a part of self. This interaction with the other helps to define our Self; Other names us and describes us. This creates a divid within our self into an "I/me," with our I-ness being our subjective internal experience and the "Me" being the external, objective part of Self that is often beyond our conscious awareness.

    The Self may seek to control the aspect of the "me" that others perceptive. In doing so we create further divisions of the Self into new sub-selves; multiple "me." This can also happen unconsciously to our internal "I" self, multiple "I"
    Hence the Self is more aptly understood if viewed as a collective self, a team, where varies versions of our Self are utilized for various roles, or postions. This might even said to be a complex Self, where the sum of the selves are greater than the Self.
    So we are looking at a dynamic where my "I" relates my subjective experience to Other's "Me," and Other then processes the information into the subjective understanding of its "I." Other's "I" then responses to the my "me."

    my (I)-----> O (me) / O(I)-----> my(me)/ I

    As one can see, this is a complex dynamic, there are multiple boundary rules in play within een the simplest exchange between people. With iteration there is a trajectory between the two individuals that will depending on the variables move them closer together or apart over time. .
  • Feb 23 2013: There are excellent books on Meyers-Briggs and other measures of personality. Maybe we should be careful about who we become close to in our lives. Some people are very toxic and dangerous and that is not all. With only a limited amount of time - shouldn't we choose friends we enjoy being around?