You’re uncomfortable spending time alone

People with an anxious attachment style are often unhappy in their own company, as they fixate on where their other half is and whether they’re having a better time without them. If you don’t like spending time alone and feel the need to physically be in the same space as friends or partners to feel confident in their affection towards you, then this could be you.

Solution: Invest in a hobby that brings fulfilment

Evolving away from an anxious attachment style means learning to find fulfilment outside of just your romantic relationships, or even your interpersonal bonds more widely. To combat this, try spending time doing a solo activity that brings you joy, like dancing, painting, or boxing. Over time, your successes in your hobby should help you build confidence, security and trust in yourself.

You’re a chronic people pleaser

Those with an anxious attachment style often consider love to be a finite resource that must be fought for at all times, otherwise (they believe) it could be taken away. As a result, anxiously-minded people may find it nearly impossible to say no to others, and may even change parts of their personality to be more amenable to whoever they are spending time with at the moment.

Solution: Say no in small ways first

The best way to combat toxic people-pleasing impulses is to practise prioritising yourself in small ways every day. Gently correcting the barista if they get your drink wrong, taking charge of picking the restaurant or activity when hanging out with friends, or saying no to extra responsibilities at work when you don’t have the bandwidth will all help you show up for yourself in your relationship.

You read into tiny changes in speech or body language

Anxiously attached people often have a history of getting love from unstable, inconsistent or temperamental sources. As such, they are incredibly attuned to small changes in body language, speech patterns or facial expressions, as these can signal displeasure and a subsequent withdrawal of affection. If you find yourself constantly searching for clues that your partner is angry or considering leaving, this could be your attachment style.

Solution: Stop responding to subtext

Though it can be a difficult step to take initially, the best thing you can do to heal from an anxious attachment style is to consciously stop responding to subtext, or perceived subtext. Instead of anticipating problems and adjusting your behaviour based on what you think your partner is secretly feeling, instead wait for your other half to actually voice concerns before making changes.

You’re prone to jealousy and possessiveness

Because people with an anxious attachment style know intimately how it feels to have love withdrawn without notice, they often feel a need to compete for their partner’s or friends’ attention. If you find yourself spiralling when your partner makes time for other people, even though they respect boundaries and show no sign of cheating, you might want to unpack what is motivating those thoughts.

Solution: Spend time with friends and family

It might sound initially contradictory, but the solution to feeling jealous or possessive when your partner spends time with other people is for you to also spend more time with others. Nurturing other relationships, whether they be with family or friends, will help you feel more secure in yourself and more able to understand how one person can’t fulfil 100% of another person’s interpersonal needs.

You have difficulty setting boundaries

More than any other attachment style, anxiously motivated people find it difficult to establish boundaries. Even once set, they may find it difficult to be assertive when others push against them. If you repeatedly let your partner or friends do things that they know make you uncomfortable, it could be your anxious attachment style telling you that putting up with pain is worth reducing the chance of them leaving.

Solution: Script ahead of challenging discussions

Like with many other things, the trick to successfully maintaining your own boundaries is to rehearse. When you know that you will have to confront a partner or friend about a boundary that they’ve ignored, it can be helpful to write out your thoughts and even practise saying them in a mirror. This can reduce panic and in turn stop you from backtracking in the moment.