ELI5: Explain Like I'm 5

distancing (psychology)

Distancing in psychology means keeping yourself away from something or someone to protect yourself from being hurt or getting into trouble. Imagine you have a toy that is very precious to you, and you do not want anyone to break it, so you keep it somewhere safe and away from others. That is a sort of distancing.

The same thing happens with people. Sometimes we distance ourselves socially from people who may be hurting us or making us uncomfortable. It's like taking a step back from a situation so that it doesn't affect us as much.

For example, if you have a friend who is always mean to you, you may start distancing yourself from that friend by not hanging out with them as much or not talking to them as much. It doesn't mean you don't like them anymore, but you're protecting yourself from their harsh words.

Distancing can also happen within ourselves. For instance, if we encounter a situation that makes us sad or anxious, we could try to distance ourselves from those feelings by not thinking about it or distracting ourselves. However, sometimes distancing can also be harmful, especially when it becomes a habit. It can cause us to miss out on opportunities, relationships, and experiences that could be beneficial for our growth and well-being.

In conclusion, distancing in psychology refers to keeping ourselves safe from negative or harmful situations or people by stepping back or avoiding them. It's essential to know when and how to distance ourselves, so we don't get hurt, but it's also vital to do it in moderation and not make it a habit.