Overcome Your Avoidance Tenancies.

Do you know someone who expresses several avoidance behaviors? Or are you worried that you may be exhibiting some avoidance behaviors? Read on to find out more information on typical avoidance behaviors.

Avoiding Certain Situations

This is the most accessible type of avoidance to spot. Situational avoidance is when an individual will avoid specific locations, situations, or people because of poor past experiences or anxiety. If you have that one friend who always asks who will be there before they agree to attend an event, they are probably trying to avoid the situation.

Cognitive Avoidance

This one isn’t as easy to diagnose in others, but this is one you may see in yourself. If you are experiencing cognitive avoidance, you may find yourself repressing certain memories or refusing to think of certain situations. A sure sign you are cognitively avoiding something is if you start thinking about something and then tell yourself not to think about whatever subject you were thinking about.


Perfectionism and other compulsive behaviors such as obsessive-compulsive disorder can be classified as avoidance behaviors. These can manifest in several different ways for different reasons. But if you find yourself obsessing over ensuring something is done perfectly, this could be that you are trying to avoid facing or thinking about a problem or emotion.

Changing The Subject

This is another avoidance behavior that is easy to spot in your friends and family. If you are having a conversation and find that the person you are talking with changes the subject, this could be because they are avoiding the topic. Of course, changing the topic one time isn’t necessarily avoidance. Still, if they continually change the topic when a particular subject is brought up, this is a sure sign of avoidance.

Inappropriate Emotions

Sometimes, when you don’t want to face a certain behavior or emotion, you will replace it with a different feeling. For example, people who feel sad about something may avoid the emotion by becoming angry at the slightest occurrence. Although this is easier to see in yourself than others, you can spot this avoidance behavior in a friend when their emotions may not match the situation.

These are the most common and easiest avoidance behaviors to see, but this certainly isn’t all of them. When you think someone (or yourself) may be exhibiting avoidance behaviors, it’s important to investigate further to discover what may be going on beneath the surface.

Why Do We Avoid Certain Tasks?

Do you find yourself dreading a particular task in your life every time you must complete it? Do you often wonder why you avoid that task? There are several reasons humans avoid completing specific tasks, and the reason why this is can vary from individual to individual.

You Don’t Think You’ll Have Fun

One of the main reasons people avoid certain tasks is that they don’t believe that they will have fun completing it when they think about that task. Or maybe they’ve performed the task before and didn’t have fun. Humans generally want to avoid doing things that lead to unhappiness. This is especially true when the task at hand is perceived to be especially difficult or complex.


When you are overly tired, you will generally avoid certain tasks. Even if they are tasks, you usually have fun doing. This is because you are tired and need to get some rest. If you find yourself avoiding tasks because you feel exhausted, then it’s time to get some rest and try to approach the task again later. It is tough to focus when you are fatigued, which could lead you to become distracted as an avoidance tactic for certain tasks.

You Don’t Think You’ll Do Well

Fear of failure is another big reason that people will avoid certain tasks. Often, they are afraid of looking bad or at the embarrassment, they may experience if they can’t complete the task. This fear of failure is quite common and one of the easier ones to overcome as it can usually be remedied by working on self-confidence and self-acceptance.

Medical Conditions

If no matter what you do, you just find you can’t complete certain tasks, there may be a medical diagnosis behind your procrastination. Several conditions, such as anxiety and depression, can lead to the avoidance of certain tasks. Although this may sound bad, generally, if the underlying condition is treated, you’ll find that it’s a bit easier to find your motivation to complete tasks.

The reasons on this list may be separate, but they all boil down to a lack of motivation. If you find yourself avoiding a task because of one, or multiple reasons on this list, you need to realize you lack motivation. Once you realize this, you can find the cause to motivate yourself in the future better.

3 Types of Avoidance

If you are one of those who commonly avoid tasks or certain situations, it could be for several different reasons. But before you can work on solving or completing a task you’ve been putting off, it’s essential to narrow down what type of avoidance you are using to avoid something in your life so you can know how best to combat it.

Emotional Or Cognitive Avoidance

This type of avoidance usually happens internally and can’t be seen by anyone other than the person experiencing the avoidance. When you, emotionally or cognitively, avoid something, it means that you avoid thinking about it. This can mean either blocking out the thoughts when they come to mind or repressed memories that are incredibly stressful. Emotional avoidance is especially prominent after someone has experienced a trauma and is very common in people living with PTSD. Sometimes this type of avoidance requires medical intervention to resolve.

Situational Avoidance

This type of avoidance is much easier to see among your family and friends. Situational avoidance is when you specifically avoid a certain person, place, or thing which may remind you of something which makes you unhappy. This frequently happens in friend groups when certain group members have had an altercation and don’t want to go to events where they may see the person they have disagreed with to avoid causing problems. You may also notice this type of avoidance in a friend who constantly changes the subject when a particular topic comes up in conversation.

Protective Avoidance

This type of avoidance is where you may go out of your way to protect yourself from feeling a certain emotion or experiencing something again. For example, someone who was the victim of a robbery may obsessively check the locks on all the doors in the house to ensure they are locked. This type of avoidance can be one of the most dangerous as it can quickly escalate to more serious conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder or an eating disorder.


If you find yourself avoiding certain tasks, thoughts, or people, it’s time to evaluate why you are doing so, keeping the three types of avoidance in mind. Once you have discovered just what you are avoiding and why only then can you work towards fixing the issue and getting professional help if you find that you can’t overcome your avoidance tenancies alone.

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