How to Stop Avoiding Difficult Situations

Updated: Sep 17


man burying head in sand - avoiding difficult situations

Last week I shared the characteristics of the People Pleaser. Closely linked to the Pleaser is the Avoider.


Avoidance is often linked to procrastination.

We put off tasks that make us uncomfortable. If you’re in sales, cold calling and door knocking may be two of your least favorite activities. Depending on what you’re selling, it may be necessary to do both. An Avoider will put off these tasks until they’re desperate for business.


A less obvious characteristic of an Avoider is to focus on the positive and all that’s pleasing in an extreme way. This may sound great as positivity leads to happier dispositions. However, this can result in avoiding difficult and unpleasant tasks and interpersonal conflicts.


Just like the Pleaser, the Avoider desires to keep everyone happy.

Avoiding difficult conversations prevents hurt feelings. A good person always spares others’ feelings. Unfortunately, this can lead to a breakdown in communication, creating suppressed anger and resentment.


If you’re an executive there’s a fine balance between keeping your staff happy and creating a safe space for honest, authentic, inclusive dialog.



Avoiders rise from both happy and difficult childhoods.

In happy childhoods, difficult emotions weren’t dealt with in order to keep the peace. In highly contentious environments, the Avoider rises as a peacemaker, learning to not add any negativity or tension to an already volatile environment.


Growing up with a bipolar mother, I learned to keep my emotions in check so as not to create a negative response. Keeping the peace was top priority. Saying or doing the wrong thing could result in an angry outburst or a complete shut out for days at a time.


Fortunately, I’ve since learned that open, honest communication and facing challenges head-on produces the best results. When something is really uncomfortable it usually means that action is required.


Ultimately, Avoider tendencies result from fear. Fear of a negative response. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Just like any emotion, fear can be overcome.


Mental fitness is an excellent tool for managing fear and other negative emotions in the moment. Using a simple technique of engaging your senses, these negative emotions can be quieted so it’s easier to shift to a positive mindset, where peace and calm reside.


If you’re an Avoider and would like to learn more about developing your mental fitness, I encourage you to book a complimentary call.



workstation with five laptops and coworkers working productively.


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