10 Ways to Get Rid of a Clingy Friend
It wouldn’t be outrageous to conclude that good friends have such an influence over our lives that they may act as our guides in our most difficult times as well be there to be supportive and be happy as a lark when they see us succeed. Friends are the family that we choose for ourselves.
During our various phases of life, we come across a diverse number of personalities and we remember them as being so crucial to our lives at those phases that they represent us, our choices and our mentality during those stages of growth.
But sometimes, when we are still making friends and choosing or expanding this family of ours, we may find ourselves in unfortunate circumstances where we make friends who start being overpowering with their constant presence in every aspect of our lives.
No matter how close two people are, the personal space of an individual needs to be respected. But some friends start taking things for granted and form a twisted perception of our forbearance in regard to their incessant poking or prodding.
These clingy friends can do more harm than good to us, and we need to maintain our distance from them with sensitivity and intelligence, lest we hurt their feelings.
This is the first step you take when you have started out on this plan. Let them contact you multiple times (because they will, hence they are ‘clingy’). Reply to their calls or texts after several hours. And slowly, just stop replying to them.
They will confront you later, and you can just use the clichéd excuses: you were busy/sleeping/tired/your phone was on silent/you forgot to call back. Do this till you don’t have to make excuses anymore because if your friend is smart, they’ll get the hint.
(If not, let’s look at the other measures we can take).
- Make plans to hangout with your friends without inviting the clingy friend.
Make it a point to not ask that friend to come along if you’re making plans with other friends. Go out with others as often as you , but keep the friend in question them. Your friend will see that you’re deliberately keeping them her your social life. This will bring the realisation that they are not welcome in your circle and will gradually start distancing themselves.
- Don’t share any enthusiasm for plans of hanging out together.
If you want to put an end to this kind of friendship, you need to put an end to spending personal time together. Clingy friends can, more often then not, be oblivious to the fact that you may not be enjoying your time as much as they are.
Since you’re reading this post, it’s safe to assume that telling the person outright that they are annoying is not your way. Which means, you have to just take charge of the situation and avoid the person at all costs.
When you avoid spending time with the friend, she’ll feel left your circle and this may encourage her to move on and find other friends.
- Don’t ask for their help in a situation, and reject it if they offer it to you.
You might have asked them for help when in a sticky situation. But don’t do that anymore! Find a solution to your problems on your own, or ask any other reliable friend for their help. The more you depend upon your space-invading friend for help, the more they’ll think that it’s normal to cling on to you! So put a stop to this by not giving out a signal that they are indispensible for you.
- Bring physical contact of affection to a minimum or an absolute stop.
Hugging, kissing, holding hands are normal gestures of showing love and affection to your friends. Put an end to such displays of affection to your friend. It sounds cold, but this coldness will make a long way in creating a rift between the two of you, which you need, to maintain your sanity.
- Don’t show any interest in their personal life.
Chances are that these friends have been pouring out their heart to you, seeking your advice, sympathy and attention with the problems they face in their personal lives.
You had invested yourself emotionally and genuinely helped them out before, but now it’s become rather cumbersome and you don’t have to deal with it anymore. Stop showing any signs that you’re interested in helping them deal with their problems.
When they come to you for advice for any situation, just diverge the topic or tell them you can’t help.
- Be very curt with your replies, even if they are complimenting you.
Okay, this can seem to be very hard but you need to stop yourself from going gaga when they compliment you for anything. It’s hard to turn away a compliment, but do that anyway. No matter how much they are gushing about you, just reply with a crisp straight-faced ‘thank you’ and say or do nothing else.
- Don’t initiate conversations with them.
This may seem obvious, but sometimes you may start talking to them even for the most mundane things, without thinking twice. But you must remember to not initiate any conversations with them, whether trivial or important.
Talk to someone else, or do something else to occupy yourself. But, don’t open a conversation with them.
They are expecting you to talk to them after your other measures to keep them at bay, so if you talk to them yourself, they’ll not get the message that you don’t intend to be as pally with them as they would want you to.
- Make your displeasure known if you see them invading your space in any way.
Such people get too comfortable with the idea of using your space and time that you want just for yourself. The concept of privacy is often lost on them and they tend to get too intrusive with their acts.
They might start going through your phones without your permission, answer your phone calls and even start talking to the people who have made the call, may just invite themselves over to your house and share your bed, food, table, etc.
Make it known that you don’t appreciate any of this and that they have no business intruding in your private space at all.
- Stop all kinds of interaction on social media with the friend.
Don’t respond to anything out up by the friend on social media that involves the two of you.
Whether you have been in a photo on or Instagram, the friend asked you to take part in yet another useless contest/giveaway/ app or if they have you in a funny post or any such thing, don’t respond to these interactions at all. A total boycott on social media can be highly effective in the current times!
It might make you feel horrible and even selfish, but sometimes you need to take drastic steps for your own good. Friendships are important and good friends are precious, but some friendships do you more harm than good.
While it’s always best to confront persons involved directly, not everyone can deal with the hurt properly and we have to resort to taking steps to distance ourselves from such people without publicly embarrassing them.
We have too many commitments, personal and professional, and we don’t have enough time to give to people who aren’t dear to us.
Rather than sticking to a person you dis, it’s better to move apart while you can, lest the frustration builds up and makes you act in a way you didn’t want to. But remember to be sensitive about the whole situation. Good luck!
How to Not Be So Clingy With Your Best Friend
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If you're too needy in a relationship, you risk becoming what friendship expert Irene Levine calls a 'toxic friend.
' The end result is that your best friend can feel so drained from your interactions that she feels compelled to end the friendship, or at the very least, she may limit her time with you. You don't have to continue clingy behavior, however.
Begin taking steps to increase your self-confidence and become more aware of your thoughts and you'll find that you're strong enough to stand alone when you need to.
Conduct a personal inventory and learn what is special about you. Instead of living in your friend's shadow, step out and display your own strengths.
For example, instead of asking what she thinks before you purchase a new outfit, trust your own innate sense of style and put together something fantastic.
Rather than sticking to your friend's side at a party duct tape, break out your camera and take fun pictures of other guests. Focus on your strengths, not your insecurities, and your clingy behavior will begin to change.
If being clingy is a long-standing habit of yours, it will be difficult to change over night. You will need to be intentional and set goals to curb your tendency to cling to your bestie.
For example, you might vow to yourself to call her no more than three times a week or to initiate no more than half of your coffee dates. If you're hanging out in a group, choose to sit next to someone else at the dinner table at least half the time.
If you find yourself feeling insecure at a party, choose to leave before you succumb to the temptation to stick by your friend and dominate all of her conversations.
To change the part of you that needs to be around your friend day and night, doing what she does, challenge yourself. Try taking a vacation on your own or going on a retreat.
Once you've spent some time exploring the world around you, you'll gain new confidence that will help you to feel more secure once you're back on your home turf.
Taking risks will help you to become the person you want to be, says John Grohol, Psy.D., founder of PsychCentral.com.
Learn to recognize your friend's hints that you might be overstepping your boundaries. If she says things , “I feel watching TV on my own tonight,” don't ignore her and come over with a bag of popcorn and snacks.
If you're visiting your friend and she tells you that she's got some errands to do that afternoon, don't offer to accompany her.
Consciously give your friend the space she needs not to feel smothered by your company and attention.
Challenge your thoughts the next time you find yourself feeling insecure and wanting to cling to your best friend. If you find yourself feeling afraid of being alone, for example, find a way to cope with that fear that doesn't involve calling your friend at midnight or staying at her house after your welcome is beginning to wear off.
Challenge irrational thoughts such as “I'm not good enough to make new friends” or “If I'm hanging out alone it means I'm unpopular.” Focus on the positive and encourage yourself to change these thoughts, advises the Mayo Clinic.
If irrational thoughts persist that make it very difficult not to be clingy, it's a good idea to seek the help of a therapist so you can get to the root of the problem.
- Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
Why Are Friendships So Clingy These Days?
I was in college when launched. Months earlier I’d been frequenting the site Hot or Not; a website where people would vote if you were hot… or not.
The trick to getting more “hot” votes revolved around using the best camera angles (in retrospect it was nothing more than an early version of Instagram). So when initially appeared, I scoffed at a platform where your college friends became digital friends.
Once someone explained the website was Hot or Not — only you could plan parties with your friends and invite the girls from Hot or Not — I signed up.
Though I was a graphic design major, most of my life didn’t revolve around a digital existence.
The computer was for downloading music on Limewire (and just about every virus a computer could catch) or using Adobe products for assignments.
My cell phone only received calls from my closest contacts and sending a text message was downright absurd. You had to smash the number 7 four different times just to create an “S.” No one had time for that madness.
Looking back at my college career, I often marvel at the depth of my former relationships as opposed to the current climate of our culture.
My roommates and I would eat lunch on campus several times a week though we’d never met one another before moving into our fraternity house. Checking a phone never seemed to be what we obsessed over.
More often than not, we were checking the clock to ensure we hadn’t missed class because of ongoing conversations.
In today’s era however, most of us receive several hundred text messages a day, but opt not to call and have a two minute conversation that would save us hours of texting.
When we’re unavailable, friends and loved ones assume we died in a car wreck, or are purposefully ignoring them because we’re upset.
We can’t even drive a car without checking to see what’s going on in our social lives once we get a notification. Who texted? Who posted? Who d? Who responded?
As I’ve watched the mental health crisis soar to new heights — with technology helping Prometheus bring the fire that both warms and scorches — I’ve noticed something far more insidious. Most of our relationships and so-called friendships have grown codependent or clingy, and I’m willing to bet yours have too.
Once upon a time, I measured the depth of friendships by the conversations we had over a meal or time spent together.
These days, the question indicative of the depth of a relationship is when I’m asked whether I saw a post, tweet, or photo.
We now believe the strength of our relationship revolves around how much time we spend stalking our online “friend’s” persona. If we missed the subsequent post (or multiple posts) then we must not care.
Then there’s the text message conundrum. Sometimes you get text messages in the middle of events or places where you shouldn’t be looking at a phone. But you can’t help yourself, so you swipe, realize it’s not an emergency, and forget to respond.
After a few hours (or days in my case), this leaves the other person wondering if you’re ignoring them or angry. Other times you’ll be in the shower and won’t answer. Perhaps you’re on vacation; maybe at church.
The assumption, however, is that we should all be tethered to the new leash in our pockets. Now that we consider an actual a phone call more of an urgency, when you don’t answer, people assume you’re dead or ignoring them.
No one even wonders if you’re taking some solitude to free yourself from the clutches of your new master. They assume you’re just as addicted — aren’t we all?
Photo by Alex Suprun on Unsplash
From this new found obsession with notifications determining our self worth, we grow increasingly codependent. While that noun tends to conjure extreme circumstances, a friend once shared that “Codependency is simply two people growing sicker together.
” Given the way we expect others to revolve around our phone calls, posts, and text messages, we can now label most of society doomed to this sick cycle.
The world revolves around our needs and we come off the stage three clinger girlfriend in every teen movie, thus manipulating people to provide the environment we need — and they acquiesce.
The problem with our new clinginess and tech obsession, is that our outlook on life becomes selfish and one-sided. Our relationships become about meeting our needs, which is the antithesis of friendship.
For instance, the minute outside forces or people shift their attention off us, we feel threatened and try to shift the focus back toward us. We then can’t have healthy relationships because we’ll always be the point. My needs. My wants. My hurts. My accomplishments.
My desires. Me. Me. Me. Every relationship, every friendship, every connection will implode. It won’t matter how many people we surround ourselves with because no one will ever be able to give us what we need or want when we’re the point.
And our phones? They continue to feed that self centered belief into an endless void culminating in self-loathing.
While we all light-heartedly tease about our tech addictions, more and more we’re missing the warning signs that we might be sabotaging our friendships.
We think our behavior normal given the way everyone buries their face in a phone, and social media reinforces our voice matters most because it now has a platform.
So what are warning signs we’re catching the spreading sickness? Here’s just a few:
- Friends are quickly becoming an emotional sounding board for everything. If friends are turning into an emotional dumping ground that’s a bad sign. Social media will lie and tell you it’s everyone else’s fault you don’t have enough support, but the truth is you’re the one sabotaging your friendship.
- You feel the need to hang out all day or every weekend. Friends can spend time apart from one another and let the absence build to reconnection. Because we’re learning to be codependent, our happiness will rely on leeching off the other person since we don’t have enough joy of our own.
- You find yourself growing upset when friends don’t respond on your timeline. If you’re Professor X, then maybe you’ll know all the details going on in a friend’s life. But each person knows what it’s to have a hectic work week, deal with a family crisis, or be too exhausted to answer the phone. Instead of seeing the best in our friends, we assume the worst and invent stories about how they’re not really our friend.
The major problem in the aforementioned issues is that they make a friendship one-sided, when the reality in a friendship is what you can give to another person. Do you offer support, encouragement, empathy, and laughter? Do you see the same truths and share that connectedness? When both parties give, the relationship thrives.
If one side consistently takes, the friendship is imbalanced.
How many people do you know wish they had deeper friendships? How many complain about how much they give, but receive no reciprocation in a relationship, yet fall into the traps listed above? Those traps create a symbiotic friendship, so that even if the friend gives, it’s because they’re manipulating the other person to fill their needs.
If we’re to break free from the clutches of these pitfalls, we must shirk the lies of perfectly curated photos with captions that border on friendship fabrication.
But it begs the question: How? The simple answer isn’t easy and grates against how we interact in day-to-day life. At least one solution will make you — at a minimum — feel an invalid.
The steps, however, are worth the effort, not only for your sanity, but your friend’s sake.
Photo by Lindsay Henwood on Unsplash
1. Take time away from your phone.
Imagine a day where you don’t carry your phone or check social media. Sounds scary, right? That’s how addicted we’ve become. Remember that a little over ten years ago, most of us could live a few days without the computer in our pocket to distract us.
Because time away from the phone is a big step forward, start small. Every Saturday I don’t view social media and I turn my phone to Do Not Disturb. Only my parents and close friends can get ahold of me.
At least once a month I try to leave my phone at home for a day (and I have a wife and kids, so no excuses, people). In the evenings, I’ll switch my phone to Do Not Disturb or leave the device in another room for added measure. This creates good boundaries for myself and others.
This practice also allows my mind to wander, reflect, and conduct some much needed self-examination — something many of us have forgot how to do, leaving us anxious and fretting over our notifications.
2. Develop support systems and friendships with multiple people.
Sometimes the weight of what we’re going through is more than one person can handle. When every hang out session revolves around a struggle you’re facing, the relationship becomes less a joy and more of a burden. Instead, spread out your support to avoid becoming dependent on one person.
The more people you surround yourselves with, the less ly you are to invent false scenarios about a friend. Make it a point to find friends with different interests as well. I have a friend I talk movies and 80s nostalgia with. Another friend is too young and doesn’t movies, so we talk fitness.
Diversify your friendships, and you’ll discover not just different interests, but support too.
3. Serve others.
As stated throughout this article, most of us spend time navel-gazing and wondering why our needs aren’t met. Thus, we never meet the needs of our friends. The fastest way to get the focus off yourself is to begin by serving.
One volunteer at our organization shared how he had begun to mentor teenagers. He realized that by serving, he had to be a positive role model in the lives of impressionable kids.
This caused him to make progressive changes in his life that not only caused growth, but made him a better friend too.
Last, remember the words of the ancient philosopher Aristotle who once remarked “a friend is a second self.” Given the path our society is headed toward, our friendships are mirror reflections of ourselves.
The more we become clingy, the more we’ll have clingy friends. The more we’re anxious, the more anxious friends we’ll encounter.
The more notifications rule our lives, the more our friends will value the ping on their phone rather than a deep conversation.
Put down your phone, focus on others, and learn to be selfless. You’ll soon discover the friends you attract do the same.
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