This is very helpful. I’m dealing with a guarded person at the moment and I was looking for some advice. I’m definitely guilty of pushing. In my experience, it’s a bit of a cycle: you feel the distance and your brain automatically tries to close the distance by pushing harder! I’ve already learnt some of the advice here by experience. What I try to do is to maintain a bit of balance — pushing but not pushing too hard. The right amount of pressure isn’t always a bad thing. But when you push something that won’t budge you just end up breaking it. My only issue is that this article seems to suggest that the guarded person is allowed to stay in their comfort zone while the other person is not. But it is important for both parties to make an effort (no matter how small) to leave their comfort zones to make things work.
The guarded person in my case does make an effort to leave her comfort zone and I see it when she does. I think that’s what keeps me going. Sometimes, she’s the bigger person, sometimes I am.