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Sudden fear of intimacy with close friend -- what to do?


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Hi all,

I'm looking for advice on how to handle an anxiety I've been having lately. I have a close friend who is naturally very affectionate towards others. He doesn't mean in it in a romantic way, it's just the way he expresses himself to people he likes. He pours it all over me because I'm his friend and I enjoy it.

My problem is that his affection has transformed from a comfort and into a source of uneasiness. His behavior hasn't changed at all, but I have been feeling more stressed from college lately. You and I might think a comforting friendship would help, but it hasn't. When I feel stressed, opening up is the last thing I want to do. I'd rather curl up in a ball and ignore everyone than let my affection show.

I've expressed my feelings to my friend and he's very respectful, but there's only so much I can ask him to change. I don't understand my anxiety and I fear that continuously pushing others away for my own sake will strain my relationships. And the last thing I need is a falling out. Can anyone relate? Any advice?

Thanks!

Edited by Nathan Kerbonaut
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How about you explain this to him.. and not try to get him to change.

he's affectionate guy, that is just how he is.

If you are too stressed, how about you just lay low, like it sounds that's what you prefer...

I don't see that you speaking up about your own personal space, etc, would push others away. 

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Please don't be a doormat. He is trying to ingratiate himself for affection because he needs that. It's not because he thinks about you or cares about how you're feeling. If he did he'd be more in tune with your worries and ask you what you want - whether it's a hug, to be left in peace or a chat. Not a great friend. And covid? Why would anyone automatically assume random hugs etc are acceptable? 

If he asks you what's wrong just let him know you're not feeling it and stop touching you. 

Edited by Rose Mosse
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It seems like he's coming on to you. You need to distance yourself.

If he's crowding and smothering you, don't pretend it's "naturally affectionate".

Distance yourself. That's the only solution.

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10 hours ago, Nathan Kerbonaut said:

My problem is that his affection has transformed from a comfort and into a source of uneasiness.

Can you elaborate on what he does, exactly?

Are we talking physical affection, too many compliments, insisting you cry on his shoulder,  or..?

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12 hours ago, Nathan Kerbonaut said:

Hi all,

I'm looking for advice on how to handle an anxiety I've been having lately. I have a close friend who is naturally very affectionate towards others. He doesn't mean in it in a romantic way, it's just the way he expresses himself to people he likes. He pours it all over me because I'm his friend and I enjoy it.

My problem is that his affection has transformed from a comfort and into a source of uneasiness. His behavior hasn't changed at all, but I have been feeling more stressed from college lately. You and I might think a comforting friendship would help, but it hasn't. When I feel stressed, opening up is the last thing I want to do. I'd rather curl up in a ball and ignore everyone than let my affection show.

I've expressed my feelings to my friend and he's very respectful, but there's only so much I can ask him to change. I don't understand my anxiety and I fear that continuously pushing others away for my own sake will strain my relationships. And the last thing I need is a falling out. Can anyone relate? Any advice?

Thanks!

Can you elaborate on this a little more?  Are you having a problem with one friend and the way he is acting or do you have this problem with many friends?  

Maybe your friends are not the right ones for you.  

I am not super affectionate with my friends, but I am with my romantic partners and even my immediate family.  If I had a friend that was too touchy- feely, I wouldn't like that at all.  

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You are who you are. One of those people that chooses to be closed off, and prefer to be alone in times of stress. It's about energy...you need low to no energy to recharge yourself, your friend discharges his energy by being all out there with affection. You are both polar opposites. If he is just too much, then limit your interaction with him or make new friends.

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