Jason DiPopolo, UX/UI Designer

Breaking Down the Barriers: How to Stop Being Defensive in Your Interactions

Our interactions with the world are often tinted by our innate predisposition towards self-preservation and a tendency to seek approval. This dynamic frequently gives rise to defensiveness in our social exchanges, manifesting in various ways. In this post, we explore how to shed this defensive armor and cultivate healthier interactions.

Understanding the Defensive Lens

The first step is to acknowledge the defensive lens through which we often view the world. Our desire to protect our self-image, coupled with a fear of judgment, can lead to behavior such as:

  1. Making Disclaimers: We tend to preface our ideas with disclaimers, hoping to preemptively ward off anticipated criticism.

  2. Misinterpreting Questions: We may interpret any question as a form of judgment, leading to a guarded response.

  3. Countering Opinions: When faced with conflicting viewpoints, we feel compelled to address and even counter them.

  4. Personalizing Comments: All too often, we assume that any comment is directed at us personally, triggering a defensive response.

Becoming Aware and Letting Go

The path to change begins with heightened self-awareness. By recognizing these reflexive defensive tendencies, we can consciously work to dismiss such thoughts in real-world encounters. It is a gradual process, but over time, it becomes a natural way of engaging with the world.

Extending Compassion to Others

Our journey towards non-defensiveness doesn’t end with self-awareness. It extends to our interactions with others. Recognizing the signs of defensiveness in others allows us to respond with empathy and understanding. This not only defuses potentially tense situations but also fosters more open and authentic connections.


  1. Acknowledge the defensive lens through which you view the world, and be mindful of the behaviors it may manifest in your interactions.

  2. Practice self-awareness and consciously work to dismiss defensive thoughts in real-world encounters. This gradual process leads to more open and genuine interactions.

  3. Extend compassion to others by recognizing signs of defensiveness in them. Respond with empathy, creating an environment where people can express themselves without fear of judgment.

In conclusion, letting go of defensiveness is a powerful catalyst for more authentic and meaningful interactions. It fosters connections based on understanding, empathy, and a genuine desire to engage with the world openly.

About Me

Jason DiPopolo smiling, holding a novel

Hey! I'm Jason, a UX/UI Designer based in New Jersey. With 6+ years of experience in Design, I'm passionate about user-centered solutions, beautiful web design, and frontend web development. I specialize in UX/UI Design and have had the privilege of working with the US Air Force, Plastik Comb Magazine, and presidential candidate, Andrew Yang's non-profit, Humanity Forward.

When I'm not working, you can find me [Hobbies or Interests]. Let's connect and start a conversation.