3 Excuses That Are Blocking You From Deep Relationships

Over the years, I’ve received over a thousand emails from individuals sharing the intimate details of their broken life. For some, it’s the decline of their mediocre marriage. For others, it’s the frustration of their collapsing career. But one thing is for sure, I’m not the person they should be turning to for help.

The sure-fire sign of a community-less person is the act of parceling out the details of deep needs to an inappropriate person in an inappropriate place.

Sure, I write articles on creating the business and family you love. Many people follow me online and expect that I possess the intellectual solutions these very people are looking for. However, I am a stranger to these people. I am relationally and geographically inappropriate to these people.


But let’s understand what’s truly happening here… More often than not, people run from what’s hard. We would rather share the broken and embarrassing areas of our lives with complete strangers than muster the vulnerability and humility required to open up to those who know us, who are close to us, and who are responsible to us.

In other words, we block or prevent the forming of deep relationships by outsourcing the very circumstances in which cause depth to occur.

While this might seem harmless to the untrained eye, this pattern of behavior is the removal of the maturity engine responsible for growth, progression, and ultimately, success.

But in my experience, it starts even deeper. For many, the avoidance of real relationships is a maneuver to uphold a harmful spirit of independence. It’s the move to dodge growth and remain accountable to no one. Furthermore, this way of living flourishes among leaders who self-medicate with other isolated individuals as they affirm their on-going state of hollow, unconnected relationship.

Bottom line, people who bring strangers to the deep end of the pool is the sign of a person evading relationship and drowning in their own isolation.

Below, I have briefly outlined three common justifications used by these individuals. Justifications and excuses which, in my humble opinion, have simple solutions. I have offered my commentary for your consideration.

1. I don’t have access to good people

I hear this one all the time. In other words, “the people closest to me don’t meet the criteria I require to speak into my life.” As leaders, we must remember that it’s not a professional credential which qualifies someone to hear and respond to our burdens. Instead, it’s history, safety, and trust. All elements which are absent in the acquaintance of a stranger. Essentially, “good people” are likely the ones right next to you. Furthermore, the confession and invitation into these moments is often the catalyst of healing the most broken areas of our lives.

2. Nobody taught me how to do this

While this might be a true statement, we are responsible for our own growth. Relational development, however, is a “learn by doing, not learning to do” endeavor. Meaning, the teaching is self-subscribed or self-avoided. Now, learning about the importance of healthy relationship is an acceptable practice, nevertheless, it does not excuse us from confronting the tough and vulnerable moments required to put real experience under our belts.

3. I’ve been hurt too many times

As leaders, we must learn the difference between being hurt and being harmed. Hurt is often the stimulation of incredible growth. Harm is often the source of incredible pain. The danger occurs when we allow hurtful moments to become harmful to our journey.

We must never forget this truth: Deep relationships are here to heal you not hurt you. Confession and closeness never occur without risk. Regardless of how much you’ve been harmed, it’s my belief that true healing will not come from the avoidance of closeness, but through a close relationship with God. Remember, hurt people hurt people. But those who have found ultimate healing through a relationship their Father in Heaven will finally find the strength to return back to deep waters with safe people.

There’s nothing easy about relationships. But it’s people who bring the increase in our development. We can read books, watch videos, and email strangers until we’re blue in the face—but the only true path to a vibrant life is through the relentless commitment to the people right next to us.

A Possible Solution

In my experience, relationships thrive with direction. But if your direction is unclear you might put a great deal of effort in the wrong relationship. If you feel lost, my wife and I wrote new his and her’s books to help bring clarity to your calling, to your relationships, and to your purpose. They’re titled: Find Your Calling: Discover What You’re Meant To Do: A 21-Day Guide For Him/Her“. Consider reading these on your journey toward real relationships. The books are short, interactive, and cheap. Get your copy by clicking the link below.


What about you? Was this article helpful? Have you met people walkinh in isolation? Let me know in the comments below.


Dale Partridge
Dale Partridge is the Founder of StartupCamp.com. He's also a keynote speaker and author of the Wall Street Journal & USA Today Bestselling book People Over Profit.


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  1. Goldie says:

    I have followed you and Veronica for a few years now, trying to gain the knowledge, courage and insight to be whatever it is God has led me to be; every #Daleywisdom, article, and even InstaStory has some meaning behind it that is helping me get out of my own comfort zone, seek God and start running to my husband more than away, because I was close, and to be honest, if I didn’t have those resources I may have left him. My husband is now a reader of yours and because of hearing you spread truth and light we are focusing on our relationship and we ordered your and Veronica’s books! They should be here soon. Sometimes having a stranger tell you the simplest of things and not knowing the complexities that people may use as excuses helps more than the ones you trust around you. Everyone around me was telling me to leave my husband, but because of The Word, the Holy Spirit and the message you send out to millions of strangers, I haven’t and won’t without a fight!

    • I’m so happy to hear that, Goldie! Glad you here, and glad you’re growing together. 🙂

  2. Sometimes the logistics of living space convert present the idea of isolation as an option. But my personal experience has always led me to God which then led me to people and learning to cherish those relationships. I love this article it so eloquently states and captures important highlights of this journey for me. Thank you so much Dave, as always.

  3. Daisy Casillas says:

    Some people will share with strangers because family and friends can sometimes be the harshest critics, instead of loving and supporting. As a result, we run away from sharing again with those same people.

    • Very true, Daisy. Harsh critics aren’t always a bad asset to have, but I definitely understand when there can be too much criticism that isn’t helpful, only hurtful.

  4. Veronica Ramirez says:

    I love this! Very true!
    Thank you Dale!

  5. Tess says:

    What about when the ‘history, safety and trust’ was thwarted early in your life–as with sexual and physical abuse done by family members? And then turning to the church for counsel as an adult, only to be hurt again, misunderstood–it is hard to lean in, hard to find trust and safety. My only hope is in the Lord–which still leads to a somewhat lonely place with few deep connections.

    • That’s a really great question, Tess, and I’m glad you’ve shared it here. I will initially say that this article is focused towards to individuals who are conscious or subconsciously hindering themselves from deep relationships, not necessarily those who have been hurt or who might have current and/or long-standing obstacles that have been out of their control. Also, I will say with whole-hearted confidence that even when the immense trauma and suffering of abuse occurs in our lives, deep relationships are still possible. I have many, many friends who have experienced this at some point or many points in life, and I have seen miraculous, wonderful, deep healing occur to make way for new life, new people, and real knowing. It doesn’t negate or erase the hurt, but we are not necessarily bound from goodness because of it. Its totally possible, Tess.

  6. Char rowzer says:

    Very well said! I love how you address issues that seem to be so obvious, but are overlooked by so many! Thanks!

  7. Great points! And I think I literally gave an out loud cheer when I read your comments about how independence blocks deep relationships.
    A truth is that we do not teach how to be open + vulnerable to create REAL deep relationships. So it’s something that is literally terrifying for most people. And something that most do not even know how to receive. So when their partner opens up they can unknowingly dismiss or criticize them.
    The most powerful part of my work is guiding couples to learn how to go into these deep places together. You’re spot on that this is the only way to heal, connect, and cultivate purposeful relationships.

    • Thanks Jessica 🙂 Your therapist brain totally gets it. Talk soon!

  8. Daniel Paredes says:

    Hey Dale, great article. I have been following you for a couple years now, and I think what you do is very inspiring. I think a willingness to go deeper in personal relationships is definitely a requisite for leading a happy and connected life. You make a great point, which is that it can also lead to personal growth.

    I am struggling with career choice, and I can understand why people are tempted to dump on a stranger. This article gave me the motivation to confide in the people close to me about what is going on.

    Thank you.

    • Thanks for following along Daniel. Glad you’re embracing this wisdom on your journey. 🙂

  9. Joanna says:

    Excellent. Thank you.

  10. Alex Bravo says:

    I’ve read a bunch of these types of articles, but I appreciate how the solutions are succinctly written and how relevant this piece is to a large portion of society – myself included. Especially during one’s early 20’s, being lost is the staple of the phase. It seems so obvious that the solution is showing up and meeting people to develop relationships, but there is always the possible hindrance if the direction of one’s focus is not aligned with their calling. My question, however, is if finding your calling is more of a trial and error process or a discovery by consuming information from various sources. In our everyday life, we really only have time to focus on one at a time while dealing with so many other responsibilities, and we cannot depend on others giving us valuable feedback about where they see our energy best implemented in society if they are relationships not aligned with our calling.

    • I think the finding of our callings isn’t really just about enacting one method, but instead organizing our intentions towards a potential multitude of methods! I recently wrote a book about finding one’s calling, and I’ve learned so much more about how to ask questions that allow us to dig into our own pursuit of it!


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