Aloof filter: how to re-engage yourself when you feel distant
March 12, 2013 7:53 PM   Subscribe

How do you keep open, light-hearted and accessible when you feel yourself closing off?

Typically I'm pretty sociable and enjoy other folks, but recently I've realized that I'll sink into aloofness about 1/3rd to 1/2 of the time. It seems that everyone has a balance they must strike, but this particular kind of aloofness is not "I need me time," but rather "I feel prickly and can't get unprickly!" Anyone have any aloofness hacks? I'm still learning how to deal with some of my mood-emotion swings in general, and am trying to gather good transition and self-soothing strategies, if that makes sense.
posted by elephantsvanish to Human Relations (5 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
It depends on why I am feeling prickly. Sometimes, I just need more sleep. I figured out a long time ago that being prickly meant some need was unmet. Often, a snack, a drink and some rest resolved it.
posted by Michele in California at 8:11 PM on March 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

If I'm feeling prickly and I know I should have had enough me-time (which I do, admittedly, need a lot of), it frequently means I'm hungry or tired. I'm way better at being light-hearted and accessible when I'm well-fed and well-rested.
posted by tan_coul at 11:19 PM on March 12, 2013

Identify your triggers. I forgot where I picked this up, but I remind myself of H.A.L.T. = Hungry Angry Lonely Tired. (Or SHALTS, apparently, which adds "Sick" and "Stressed".)

When I'm turning into a crankypants, I ask myself if I'm any of the above. I usually have a Kit Kat or mug of chocolate milk, then I feel much better. If possible, I follow this with a nap.

I noticed that being on the Internet for too long leaves me feeling spaced out and detached, like my life is meaningless and I hate the world, it is a farce.

Get off the computer sometimes.
posted by pimli at 3:29 AM on March 13, 2013 [5 favorites]

Going out of my way to do something nice for someone can help me with this. Doesn't have to be something big, even, but it gets me out of my head and thinking about other people in a happy way.
posted by spindrifter at 6:37 AM on March 13, 2013

Assuming its a mood rather than an unmet need, as noted above, I know I sometimes drift into "aloof prickly" because I'm too busy being inside my head instead of the world. I'll start to self-narrate or even be mildly annoyed at someone for interrupting a train of thought. Does that sound familiar?

In these moods I find it best to step alone for a moment, take a deep breath, and find something visual to pay attention to. Like, going over here to refill my tea hey that's a pretty blue. New goal: see if people around me are wearing anything blue. Return to group: carefully observe individuals there and their discussion.

Pushing myself back into the world and buzz of conversation usually snaps me out of brain-mode, and after listening to catch up for a few minutes I can rejoin the conversation. The transition time is a good self-soothing step.
posted by blue_and_bronze at 8:21 AM on March 13, 2013

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