How to Make an Avoidant Feel Safe (Nurturing Emotional Security)

If you’re in a relationship with an avoidant, you know they find it difficult to open up, trust you, and provide emotional support.

You might not know this, though: Making someone with an avoidant attachment style feel safe goes a long way!

It significantly increases your chances to get closer to them and build a healthy relationship based on honesty and transparency.

Avoidants are perfectly capable of fully committing and being invested in a relationship. However, to get there, they need your support. 

If you do your best to understand their needs, you can create that deep bond you’re looking for. 

To do that, you’ll need a lot of patience. Also, don’t expect changes overnight! Let’s begin!

15 Ways to Make an Avoidant Feel Safe:

1. Determine your partner’s attachment style

As if things were not difficult enough for you already, you must know that experts break down avoidant attachment style into two categories: fearful avoidant and dismissive avoidant.

Each avoidant attachment style has its characteristics, as follows:

Dismissive avoidants are usually confident people. They value their independence and they are likely to show invulnerability. What’s more, they’re also self-sufficient and avoid serious relationships.

Fearful avoidants are more difficult to get to than dismissive avoidants. They struggle to find a balance between their need for autonomy and their need for intimacy. Most often than not, they don’t think highly of themselves.

2. Do your best to accept them as they are without trying to change them

Since you’re aware that your partner has an avoidant attachment style, you might try to find various ways to change them.

However, consider yourself warned: If you make them feel like they’re not enough for you, they will pull away.

So, that’s definitely not the way to go. Instead, you could try to understand them and make them feel understood. 

Encourage trust and draw forth his or her best self. Also, respect their need for alone time and focus on validating their goals.

According to a research article, if you act supportive of your partner’s goals, chances are their insecurities will decrease and they’ll feel safer to get closer to you.

3. Give them space when they ask for it or you feel they need it

Keep in mind that your avoidant partner is used to spending time alone. You see, someone develops this attachment style due to a lack of attention from their parents.

As they grew up, their emotional needs were probably not met. His or her main caregiver didn’t spend time with them or was inconsistent. They didn’t foster emotional openness.

So avoidants learn to deal with stuff without having outside help. 

Just because they now have you as boyfriend/girlfriend is not going to change that. As I said before, it’s better to accept them as they are. 

Pro tip: If you feel they’re not at ease, ask them if they need to spend time alone. They’ll appreciate that you understand them.

4. Don’t take away the illusion of control from them

People with Avoidant attachment styles get scared easily. They tend to shut down and run away when they feel they’re no longer in control. 

So, don’t take that away from them. If they think that things are going their way, they’ll better. They won’t fear you’ll hurt them.

The same goes for taking things slow with them. If you respect their pace, they’ll think everything is under control and won’t get triggered easily. 

Show them that you admire how independent they are and respect their boundaries. By doing so, they’ll let you in more and more.

5. Express appreciation when their behavior is positive

Have you ever heard of positive reinforcement? It goes like this: When he or she does something positive that you appreciate, don’t hesitate to express that.

Tell them that you’re thankful for what they did or how that made you feel. Do this repeatedly to encourage your SO to repeat their behavior in the future.

What would you say? Let me give you some examples:

If they’re trying to open up, you could say: “I appreciate that you’re trying to get closer to me. I know that’s difficult for you and I value your trust.”

Another research article explains that making an avoidant feel appreciated can change their behavior for the better. As a result, they become more willing to make sacrifices for the benefit of their partner. 

6. Don’t trigger their fear of dependence by asking for emotional support

Let’s get things straight one more time: Your avoidant partner is not good at providing emotional support or asking for it. 

Something from their childhood or a traumatic event turned them into insecurely attached adults. What does this really mean?

It means that if you express your emotions by crying, shouting, or exhibiting anxious behavior, you will trigger their fear of dependence.

So, to make an avoidant feel safe, and not fearful, it’s best to learn how to self-regulate. In other words, to manage your emotions without asking for their help.

7. Get better at active listening and asking follow-up questions

Look, intimacy doesn’t come naturally to your boyfriend/girlfriend. 

They are not accustomed to having someone in their life who is genuinely interested in listening to them and learning more things about them.

Now, the trick is to show them just how interested you really are. Since, typically, people with avoidant attachment styles think that their emotions and issues don’t matter, you’ll have to convince yours that’s not true.


  • Make eye contact with your GF or BF when they’re talking
  • Nod to show that you listen, but don’t interrupt
  • Listen to what they’re saying – don’t think about how you’d respond
  • Ask them follow-up questions to understand them better
  • Don’t judge them; try to figure out where they’re coming from

8. Try to avoid criticism and use “I” statements to express yourself

I’ll let you in on a secret: You can make your avoidant partner understand what impact their behavior has on you by using “I” statements.

In this way, they won’t feel criticized; they’ll understand what you need from them.

How do you communicate your criticizing statements without actually criticizing them?

Don’t say: You never initiate dates. 

Say: I get the feeling that our relationship is one-sided when you don’t initiate dates.

Don’t say: You are the messiest person I know.

Say: I feel annoyed when I arrive from work to a messy apartment.

9. Communicate transparently about your wants and needs

Clear and honest communication is also necessary with an avoidant attachment style lover.

Just think about it: It’s way easier for someone to accept what you want and need rather than assume and get it wrong.

Especially in your case, your partner might be clueless. So, tell them!

However, do your best not to sound demanding. The safest way to express yourself when talking to your avoidant person is by using a neutral tone and “I” statements as well.

I’ll help you out with one example: I would feel safer in our relationship if you’d agree to meet up 2 or 3 times per week.

10. Ask them if their expectations are being met in your relationship

Don’t just wait for your partner to open up to you and tell you about their needs without asking. They won’t initiate such a conversation, so you’ll have to do it. 

Follow the next pointers:

  • Ask them how are they feeling about your relationship
  • Ask them if there’s anything that bothers them
  • Ask them if all their needs are being met in your relationship
  • Ask them what would they like to change and how
  • Ask them if there’s anything they want to talk about

Remember: Someone with Avoidant attachment style finds it difficult to open up. Sometimes, they don’t know what to say, so asking them questions definitely helps.

According to another research article, a person’s needs in a romantic relationship are unique to personal contact.

Overall, there are 5 main relationship needs, namely “authenticity, support, and protection, having an impact, shared experience, and initiative from the other.”

11. Stay away from having confrontational conversations with them

Do you know what else someone with avoidant attachment style hates? Confrontations

While you may feel entitled to confront them if, for example, they cancel your plans, that’s not the best way to approach your avoidant partner. 

By doing so, you’ll make him or her withdraw. They’ll pull away because they won’t know how to respond and won’t want to deal with your emotions.

So, pay close attention to how you express your dissatisfaction. To get to them, it’s advisable to use a neutral tone, not a confrontational one.

12. Express your emotions by using a neutral tone

Avoid expressing intense emotions. When you talk to them about how you feel, use a neutral tone. 

Don’t say: Why did you cancel our plans?

Say: I was really looking forward to seeing you the other day. I was a little upset to hear you can’t make it. Could we talk?

Don’t say: Why don’t you pick up the phone when I call you?

Say: I get frustrated when you don’t answer my calls. I start to worry when you don’t share your whereabouts with me.

Again, use “I” statements and try to express little emotion.

13. Show them your behavior is consistent and that you’re trustworthy

Another very important avoidant attachment style trait you should be aware of is this: An avoidant person don’t like to rely on other people and they think that everyone is untrustworthy and/or inconsistent.

What do you do?

You have to prove them wrong. In this regard, here’s what you should do:

  • Be there for them by offering them instrumental support, meaning coming up with practical solutions and providing tangible aid
  • Show them you’re dependable and trustworthy by exhibiting consistent behavior
  • Always stick to the plans you’re making with them
  • Try to show up on time when you meet them to avoid making them think you won’t show up
  • Don’t gossip about your partner. Talking about them behind their back is a definite no-no
  • Be honest with them and don’t lie by omission either

Bolstering attachment security is possible, as shown in this research article.

14. Create opportunities for the two of you to have fun together

Having fun with your partner and sharing joyful activities with them are ways to cultivate a more healed attachment style.

Activities designed to increase closeness and intimacy, such as couples yoga, cooking together, and dancing, are highly beneficial for insecurely-attached people. 

Another science-based article explains how important it really is to create good memories together and talk about them often. 

15. Cultivate patience and enjoy your life outside the relationship

Lastly, if you want to create a safe environment for your partner to become more securely attached, you need to arm yourself with patience. 

Also, don’t make your life about your partner. Being at the center of your attention is not something he or she wants. 

So, direct your attention to the other people in your life and to your hobbies as well. That will show them you’re also independent and they’ll love that about you.

Continue with our series of Relationships For Attachment Styles:


By now you should know that your journey to make your avoidant partner feel safe will not be easy. During the process, it’s important to take care of yourself. If you follow these tips, it will help heal their attachment style issue.

In this regard, a Reddit user who has been in a similar situation as yours urges you to set boundaries. 

According to them, your girlfriend’s or boyfriend’s inconsistent behavior could hurt you in the long run and make you less confident. Helping the person you have a crush on or are in love with requires sacrifice, but it shouldn’t be to your detriment. 

So, if your efforts don’t pay off and you’re starting to feel bad, know it’s time to stop.

Daniela Duca Damian
About Daniela Duca Damian

A journalist by profession, Daniela has been sharing her knowledge and personal experience in the psychology of love and relationships for the past 5 years. Her work is based on facts, practical advice and is meant to help everyone achieve their romantic goals. When she isn’t writing, she challenges her friends with meaningful questions about life.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment