Needy Friends: A Friend Indeed?

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There are some friends who feel like an emotional ball and chain. They’re always in need of one thing or another: money, favors, help, coddling, praise---or simply more time than you have to give.

Like a wailing toddler, they can be so demanding that their friendship tires you and weighs you down. Who needs that kind of friend? Many women do.
  • People who like feeling needed---or once liked the feeling (even if they don’t anymore)
  • People who feel like they aren’t worthy of healthier, more balanced relationships
  • People who are stuck---either feeling angry or sorry for their needy friend---and feel unable to get out of it
But if you have begun to recognize that a female friendship is a drag, you’ve taken the first step in relieving yourself of the burden.

HOW-TO UNLOAD:
  • Change the nature of your friendship by learning to say “no” and setting boundaries (e.g. “Even though we are both single, I don’t want to spend every Friday night together.”)
  • Tell her that you have to tend to your own needs (or those of anyone else you can think of)
  • Slip away - Spend less time with her and add other less demanding friends to your inventory
  • Take a relationship sabbatical or hiatus from the friendship (you deserve it!)
  • If it's that bad, simply cut loose!
Remember, the term toxic friendships refers to relationships that are consistently negative and draining. It is the pattern, not the one-time or occasional lapses in the balance of needing that occurs between good friends. If your truly needy friend has been that way for some time, the real possibilities of changing the relationship verge on hopeless.

These are people whose needs can never be satiated. No matter what you give, what you do, how much, or how often, it will never be enough. Since character tends to endure, this person probably treats other people the same way she treats you. It’s likely that many of her friends have probably already dropped out of the picture and that’s why she is so dependent on you.
 

Abusive Female

I learnt the hard way from a Female Emotional Vampire. She was the "grand master". Sucked all the positive energy in a hurricane. I'm just starting to recover from it. For months I kept thinking it was me - I was the one screwed up! But then I started to see massive sociopath patterns in her behaviour. I pulled out of the relationship as there was no way she could see what she was doing. Even turning up at my house at 2am because she had an argument with her husband. She became a copy of me. Everything I was doing she started doing and trying to compete with me to be better. What a disturbed person. I don't hate her, rather I feel sorry for her. But thank goodness I'm out of that bizarre relationship.

I know now how it feels

Hi I am 15 years old and my best friend is 16. I have just realized how needy she is. She is always asking for advice and support and simpathy. She has had this stomach problem for the longest time and she is always complaining! It drives me insane. And recently I have become friends with my ex bff and shhas not handled that well she never wants me alone with anyone but her and she is always needing reasurance that she is my beat friend and that she will never be replaced. I hate this and I know that I am getting nothing out of this friend ship but I can't just leave her because we have been grinds for as long as I can remem

feeling terrible

Hello! I have a sort of odd situation. My best friend of almost 30 off & on years is very needy. I am constantly there for her on the telephone as she lives across the country. My problem is this..........she is very high drama. She always has a physical or emotional ailment that must be talked of incessantly. I'm okay with that though & I try to give her advice & listen. She asks for my help & I try. My problem now though is that she feels my advice is me being "superior." This is SO painful as I am being asked for advice but now realize that she must not really want it. I don't really get it. To be so there for her though & then be told that I'm a jerk for trying to help feels bad. She has said now that I am pointing out her character flaws instead of trying to help her. Huh? I adore her but this is beginning to feel like quicksand. After this happens she is all apologetic. We've noticed this cycle before & she has tried to stop complaining & asking for help but it always creeps back. I've never told her off over it so to be told off myself for trying to help is miserable. The difference too is that she would be there for me if I have a problem but I am SO anti-complaining from this whole experience that I never complain. Ugh! Thanks!

feeling terrible

It doesn't have to be all or none? Can you wean yourself off her slowly and start spending more time with other girls?

I have a similar

I have a similar relationship with a friend of mine. He's a very emotional person, and has had a hard life, but wants to constantly be around me, emotionally as well as physically. I have a lot of people I like to hang out with, but he gets upset when I put off spending time with him to be with others. He always calls me his 'best friend', and I know it's because I've taken the time and energy to talk and listen to him, but now it just sucks the life and soul out of me to have him feel like I should always be around him. I can tell he's very depressed, and I don't know what he'd do if I just stopped hanging out with him. It's a hard friendship...

Needy friend

I found this site after doing a web search for "needy friend". I think I'm just looking for closure to a "friendship" that has thankfully ended. Why I put up with such a self-centered needy person for those few months is puzzling to me. The endless whining phone calls, the fear of this person of spending any time alone, the embarrassing social faux pas, it was all such a pain! This was unusual as it was a male friend who has many feminine qualities, I am a woman about 18 years older. Despite the fact that I made it clear that I wouldn't date him, he was desperate to find a woman to replace his former dysfunctional relationship, and kept hoping to slide into the role of "boyfriend" in my life. When it became clear that he would never be anymore than a "girlfriend" to me, he disappeared! I suppose I thought I could help him, and I had a curiosity about how anyone could be so needy and clueless. The experiment became a social disaster for me, as I did not want to be associated with someone who behaved so poorly. What really pushed my tolerance to the limit was when he could not extend the same courtesy to a really good girlfriend of mine, that I had shown him (they were both beginning kayakers). Such is the way with the self-absorbed. I say "Ditch 'em!"

Experience with needy friends but this one's different

Hi, I'm a very independent person with very wonderful friends like me from my undergrad and an equally independent younger sister who is my healthiest best friend. I have had several girls "crush" and become obsessively needy with me and I am used to the "training" process to ween them off me. In most cases, we remain friends, but they understand that I am NOT going to be their sister or soulmate in the way they want me to be. This is my first year in grad school and I have a new needy friend. In this case, it is very hard to avoid her since we take the same train into school. After doing things with her (I like to go out and so does she..there aren't many students who want to do anything after class) I got to know her, her friends, and her family. The peoplel whom she surrounds herself with are wonderful, intelligent, and independent people and we enjoy each others' company. I even am having romantic feelings towards her cousin! Though she now knows that I won't be there for every phone call (I hate talking on the phone and frequently ignore her phone calls) and won't give her ALL the gum ALL the train tickets and ALL the things she needs because she is not responsible, AND making other friends, she is starting to push harder about going out all the time. She whines when I tell her 'no, I am with my family today'. After saying 'no', she frequently gets angry with me and gives me the silent treatment. I have no problem with this bc this childishness has no effect on me, but I do let her know that I do not tolerate that kind of behavior. But it continues...Since we are in the same classes, we have the same days off, and I am getting tired of making up excuses. Usually, what I do has worked by now in a friendship. What more can I do without losing her wonderful family?

??

I am going through something like this, though not to the point of harrassing phone calls or anything. A friend of mine just moved back to my city after an absence of 3 or more years, with occasional visits. The place she lived was very isolated from the outside world and had a very different way of doing things (it was a Buddhist Abbey). During her absence we kept in touch via letters. Now that she is back she really "needs" me because she doesn't have a lot of friends in our city and she is going through a tough time dealing with past abuse and transitioning from the Abbey. Everything she tells me seems like a huge deal, although to me it's just like...she's moving from one place to another and she should just deal with it. It was her decision. A lot of my life decisions have not worked out for me either, but I look at that as MY problem. I am always there for friends who need a receptive ear, but with her it seems different - she seems to want a deeper connection with me in her healing, that I am not comfortable with giving. Like she wants us to heal our traumas "together" and perhaps wants a shoulder to cry on - literally. I am not comfortable with this. I like to deal with my problems in my own way. I can go to my friends to talk to them if I have problems, but I would never ask them to do anything they are not comfortable with. I also don't appreciate that when we get together, it's always one of three things: 1. her talking about her problems, which I try to give her advice on, because I don't know what else to say, 2. awkward silence 3. her asking about my life, but in a way which makes me think she doesn't really care, and is just trying to make conversation to fill the silence. Part of me thinks I am being a bad friend and blaming her because I don't deal with my problems in the same way as she does, but at the same time, I know I can't be there for her emotionally in the same way she wants me to be, and the thought of spending time with her makes me feel terrified. Anyway, thanks for the article and for giving me a chance to vent.

new friend is too much

A few months ago I met a woman and her daughter at a children's event. We hit it off and even though her daughter is considerably younger than mine, we got together for a few playdates. The problem? She calls me everyday to complain about how hard it is to figure out naps and a feeding schedule for her daughter. At first I didn't mind giving her advice, my daughter was nap resistant as well. But everday calls about the same subject is overwhelming. Sometimes I want to go off on her because her daughter don't even act out or cry despite being overtired.... she is very mellow. Meanwhile, my daughter is hyperactive, I have an infant son and my husband has recently become unemployed . I think, 'how come I can cope with all of this without wallowing, but her life is comparitively easy and she can't even figure out a schedule for her child without daily support from me?' She always says I'm one of her closest friends, that she appreciates me, values my advice, etc. I'm bewildered because we have only gotten together a few times.... and we've only known each other a few months? She has other friends, she apparently calls them for the same needs... she has even told me that one of her friends told her she is nuts, and doesn't want to talk about naps anymore. I don't feel very close to her, she is a bit abrasive and doesn't really comment when I talk about me (which is not very often). What I want is a very casual friendship with no more than one call a week and a get together every few weeks. What should I do?

Reply to: New friend is too much

Dear Anonymous:

See my reply posted on 11/30. Thanks for reading my blog and posting.

Best,

Irene

Me too.

I have a friend that has had a very hard life, at first I felt like it wasn't her fault, that all she needed was a good solid person to help ground her, but now I see that this is her personality, she is a victim and attracts abusers. I feel bad because I still feel like it's not really her fault, she was going to a therapist and she would talk about all this improvement and the breakthroughs they would have and I hoped she would be able to change. Now she has lost her insurance because of a stupid, preventable situation. I am so mad, we are students and I told her if she dropped that class she would get dropped from her insurance and she came up with excuse after excuse, the books were too expensive, her sick mother wouldn't drive her to school (even though it takes 2 dollars and a little walking to get to school my bus.) Now she has no more therapy or medication that she is very dependent on. She seems to think there was no way she could have prevented this situation and when she says this I am screaming at her in my head that this is one of the stupidest things she has ever done and that she will never run out of excuses. I have been trying to faze myself out of her life, I don't contact her anymore, but I do respond when she contacts me. She has had a lot of deaths in her life (I now see because she attaches herself to people who live risky or dangerous lives) and she remembers them and has death anniversaries, no matter how long ago they died. She gets very upset for about 1-6 weeks for every one. I feel that she never dealt with their deaths when they passed so she remembers her pain every year. I feel like she will never be happy because so many people she 'loves' (she loves anyone who shows her attention, no matter how much they hurt her) live risky lives and die young. She sees me as a special friend and wants me there on these death days because I help calm her (I may be her only 'regular person' friend, I'm assuming because other normal people see how messed up she is and stop being friend with her.) So I feel completely stuck to go to her house every month or two and take care of her the whole day while she tells me how much she loved this person and is sad that they are gone. I feel like I can't refuse going because it is a very emotional time for her, but this is something that I no longer feel good about doing. It would be acceptable for a good reciprocating friendship to do once a year or so, but I feel like all I do is give and I don't want to anymore. I just don't know how to say no to this heavy favor she asks of me every once in a while. I respect death and the grieving process, but so many people she knows die from drug overdoses, spousal abuse, of health problems caused by reckless living.

needy or just paranoid

I am a guy who recently passed high school and happen to have friend who got a college far away from my place.We used to be great friends at school but we now remain connected through phone calls.Problem is it is almost always (actually always) me calling him.I have a feeling that i may be imposing myself a little too much.i call abt once in 2 weeks. am i being paranoid over this .I really want to stay in touch with this friend of mine as we have a lot in common.please help

Dear needy or just paranoid

I think that you experiencing little bit of 'healthy' parania and not neediness. Be honest and kindly say to your friend that you would like them to 'Ring/Email you with all their news', because you feel it's always you calling him/her. If he/she doesn't call you within a few weeks take it that you are not as important to them. Do your total best to look at those around you who love you and want to spend time with you. Get out there in the world and show it what you have got, because you only get one chance at life and man, wouldn't it be a waste to think you spend most of it worrying over a friend not calling, rather than enjoying it with those who actually do! I know from experience. Please don't wste your time on this your will feel much better in the long term. Regards, Anon.

I loved anonymous' suggestion to you

Also, some people find email less obtrusive than phone calls. When you call someone you interrupt them. If someone doesn't want to be interrupted---perhaps he's studying----he can return an email when he wants to.

If he never returns your emails, you'll have to accep that he's just not that into you :-)

 

Best,

Irene

Hi, Just an idea, but if I

Hi, Just an idea, but if I were you, I would keep calling but gradually make the calls farther and farther apart. He may be having a hard time adjusting at school and is having trouble reaching out, and he may look forward to your calls. BUT, he also may not care about the friendship as much as you do. Also, some people can only focus on a certain number of friends at a time and if he is trying to fit in at school, it may be all he can handle right now. This may also be an opportunity for you to get out and meet new people. Good luck!

They dont understand

I have several girlfriends who seem needy to me. While we all go through difficult times, it seems they always have problems. I am unmarried, with a boyfriend who lives and hour away, I am running a business and my household and they have all of the support - husbands, children, family - which is great. But for some reason even with all this support they do not seem to have anyone to go to. I am essentially alone - which is fine and I get up everyday and do what I have to do. Every single time I talk to any of them they are always asking me to come visit or go out - one hour away driving from my home after Ive worked all day. I dont get it. It is really annoying and upsetting to me. I want these friends to be a part of my life not my whole life. One seems to think that I should hang out her place while she complains about her husband and yell at her two kids. The other wants me to sit with her while she - using her words "wallows" - she has nothing to wallow about - nothing bad has happened to her. I feel like these people have no problem always asking for something from me. I am tired of it.

Reply to They Just Don't Understand

Click here to see my reply.

Hope you find it helpful.

 

My best,

Irene

i dont see the point in life

no one likes me because im skinny and even though i eat quite a lot, i weigh practically nothing and im depressed because no one likee me

Reply to 'I don't see the point in life'

Depression is a medical condition that is very treatable. Please find out where you can get help in your community. A good place to start is at www.dbsaliance.org/

Trying to find the courage

I am in the middle of a bad friendship and am so grateful to have found this site. Thanks everyone! I am trying to find the courage to "cut down" on the friendship but I am a person who generally will hold things in and then explode. I did this to a friend in high school and still regret it and I never want to shout horrible things at a person again. This is one of the reasons that I have been putting off cutting down or ending this current friendship. But I have been praticing being assertive instead of aggressive and I hope this will help me in this situation. My friend and I would see each other about twice a year and that was good. We would have fun and then I could get on with my life and spend time with the friends that I had more in common with. But, idiot me, I needed a job and she was able to offer me one. I then felt obligated to go out with her more. She was recently separated and didn't have that many people to hang out with. I had nothing else really going on so I went. Since she only -- and I really mean only -- talks about herself ( I just realized that I can't recall her ever asking anyone "How are you?") I got tired of going out all the time pretty fast. I am a super fantastic listener and do not even need to talk about myself a whole lot to be happy. This post is the most I've "talked" about this situation to anyone. But when you tell someone something and they say "uh-huh, so anyway..." it makes you feel like a doormat. I have some very nice friends that I would love to spend more time with but I am so exhausted by this friend. I will actually daydream about the "real" conversations that I have with my other friends while this friend is telling me the same story for the tenth time. You remember those "real" conversations where one person says something while the other one listens and then the other person says something while the other person listens - Ah! the good old days! So why, after a year, am I still a slave to the phone calls and "dropping-ins" . Well, first I just had to hang out with her when her boyfriend was out of town ( She has boundless energy and is easily bored, while I need ten hours a night!). I would say to myself "okay, he'll be back and it's just one night and she's been going through hell with her ex-husband and needs a friend." But it wouldn't be one night because he would be gone for work for weeks at a time and so I was apparently suppossed to be his stand in. At this point it was annoying but tolerable. Looking back (hindsight!!!) I should not have gone out with someone to have a tolerable time. Now I feel like I missed the chance to get out of this because she is in a worse state than she was before. I kept thinking that she needed me because her ex-husband was making things difficult with child custody and after she got out of this rough patch I could slowly make myself less available. Well, now her boyfriend suddenly dumps her and she is semi-suicidal. I told her that she should consider seeing a therapist and gave her the suicide prevention hotline number. She is still saying things about suicide. Now how am I supposed to tell a suicidal person that they are annoying the crap out of me? Any advice would be greatly appreciated if anyone takes the time to read my ramblings. Good luck everone!

Re: trying to find the courage

Wow, I am glad that I found this post, I am going through a very similar "friendship" experience. You know, I think the problem with people like the one you are describing is that they always have "Drama" going on in their lives, so if you are waiting for a problem free time to extricate yourself, you may be waiting for a while. I was sort of pondering the same conundrum because my needy friend is being stalked by an abusive ex boyfriend, and so I get 5 calls a day of "why me, it's not fair, etc." Of course before that the problem was her mean ex-husband, and her boyfriend abusing her. She is the victim in everything that happens to her. Well, you know what, no amount of listening to these complaints is in reality going to solve these peoples problems either. People that are in those types of situations need counselling from a professional. At least therapists are paid and trained to do what they do. I guess that an interaction like the one you described is not a frinedship at all, it is more like giving away free counselling sessions. I am going to disengage myself from the friendship with this person myself, because I have already tried to explain to her that I can't listen to her talk about her problems all the time, and it didn't help at all. I think that if you don't want to be drained emotionally, you could either try to set some boundaries by explaining your feelings, and if that doesn't work there is nothing wrong with ceasing contact with this person. After all, you are not responsible for this persons problems, so you don't owe her anything.

I really feel bad for you.

I really feel bad for you. it sounds like your alot like me. i have a few friends( if thats what you wanna call them). I just answer the phone when i can and listen to them for a little bit and then i just say i have to get going and make up something. then i just avoid them until i have the extra time to listen to them. and if they do commit suicide its not your fault but i would feel stressed about it too. try to just avoid the person unless your at work with them just listen but try to avoid as much as possible outside of work. thats about the best advice i can think of. but im not that great at this stuff either. LOL good luck.

In reply to: Trying to find the courage

Click here to see my response to your post. I hope it is helpful.

Best,

Irene

Thank you so much! You are

Thank you so much! You are SO RIGHT about me needing to act!!!! I will let you know how it goes. I think I will be a much stronger person after this. I've written sort-of an outline of different points to bring up to her so I will be less likely to say angry things off the top of my head. I'm hoping to turn this negative situation positive and use it to help me to be more assertive in the future. I don't want to have to go through this again! p.s. I no longer work for her so that makes the situation much better.

I can relate to this so well

I can relate to this so well as my situation is very similar and I have also posted on here. My friend also threatened suicide which is awful and very worrying. I rang her parents and other friends and told them how she was feeling and I also told her that she needed to go to counselling. Does she have any family that you can contact. Encourage her to get out there and meet new people. I am not a counsellor this is just how I have dealt with it. Irene's advise was very good.

Thanks Sue!

Thanks Sue! Your posts and Irene's advice have been very helpful to me!

Dependent

Wow. This blog has definitely helped me realize what a needy person I am. I just wish I knew why. I've experienced my fair share of friends who required more than the usual amount of validation or coddling or praise, but tonight I was told that I am too dependent on people as well. Not just all people, but one person in particular. My good friend told me this tonight, and I admit that it is hard to hear. Especially since I can't stand that kind of behavior. But even more than that, it is hard to hear because I have a great fear of losing people close to me. This fear isn't typically that unreasonable, but I believe since I've lost a few close friends recently to death and other complications life brings, I'm more sensitive to the notion of losing friends. Somehow I've allowed myself to believe that I need to spend much more time than necessary with this person, and that's not fair for anyone. I realize now that I'm always complaining or have something physically or emotionally wrong with me, and those things are draining to hear or see all the time. It's good to be able to talk to friends about what's going on in your life, but to an extent. To all you out there struggling with finding your own independence like I am, I suggest talking to a counselor once a week like I'm going to start doing. I've decided that I'm going to write everything going on in my life down so that I can keep my friends in the loop to an extent, but all the especially deep and emotional trials I'm going through at the time will be told to a counselor first so I can learn better how to cope on my own. It's always good to have a strong support system of friends, sharing EQUALLY in all of life's ups and downs. However, it's also good to have that unbiased opinion from a professional and NEVER good to lay out all your problems to ONE friend. That's too much for anyone person, and they have their own lives to deal with. What a night this has been! I'm so glad my friend was able to tell me about my neediness so I can start to remedy it. Thanks, friend ;)

Thank you.

I thought I was being a horrible friend for feeling the way I did. I feel ten times better now that I know I'm not really at fault. My friend calls me every single day, and leaves really lengthy voicemails on my phone when I don't answer. I'll try to talk to her about things that are going on in my life, and she'll listen, but as soon as I finish talking she'll say something like "Oh, well the other day at work something really funny happened." The thing I remember the most was the day I had to put my dog down I called her and asked her to go on a walk so I could talk about things. The entire time she talked about her ex-boyfriend, a guy she had broken up with a month before. I just want someone who will be my friend for once, and actually listen to me like I listen to them. I am tired of always being the one who listens and gives support. I want a friend who can catch ME when I fall.

Thank you

Thank you so much. really needed to hear this. I'm so tired of feeling like i'm doing something wrong. Like I'm obligated to a draining friendship.

Continuation - Sue

When I walked away i thought I sounded a real cow in my previous email. And that is how I feel a lot of the time. I cant be the friend that she wants - there 24 / 7. What I didnt say earlier was the visits began to take place all weekend. She even began to phone me and turn up at my sisters if I was there. She phoned me when I was at a very old friends bbq - someone that she didnt know and asked why hadnt she been invited. My ex husband, me and my son would go to rugby every sunday (my son played) and I told her this was family day as it was the only day we spent together. Every Sunday I would have missed calls / text messages saying how lonely and bored she was. She has other friends. She is more than capable of meeting people and joining a club. Is this emotional blackmail or am I truly a cow? She began to ask for lifts to airports - every holiday - Easter, summer, whitsun. It started off at our local airport - ok this was a 30 minute drive which was ok (and it also felt like a holiday for me) then because flights became cheaper she started asking for lifts to airports that was a 2 and a half our drive (one way!). Finally she asked for a lift to an airport 3 hours away and I said no. She would phone to go for a drink on a friday after work - lovely once in a while but if you say no - the sulks start. When she lived overseas - I looked after her house which was rented out. Free of charge, I found new tenants and sorted out deposits, checks. When she asked if my boyfriend would change the locks and mend some things - I said no - enough was enough. And she was the first to say to me - I have used up all my favours for a while! She has said that a few times and she is right - but its starting again - I can feel it. (looking after her dog). I already look after my sisters dog - I dont want to look after another dog. There hard work! I dont know what to do. In the past she has threatened suicide - I phoned her mum because I was so worried. I dont know anymore how to be a good friend to her because it drains me, if I am not careful it invades my thoughts and can make me begin to feel down in the dumps. On several occasions I have asked her to see a doctor / counsellor. Am I selfish to say that I want to start living my own life? My son is a beautiful 19 year old and I had him when I was 19. I would like to start now living my life surrounded by friends that I have neglected in the past and feel happy and positive with. Thanks for listening xxx

In reply to 'Too-Sweet-to-Say-No' Sue (8-31-08)

Hi Sue:

Thanks for sharing so much of your story with us. It sounds like you created a monster who ultimately began to feel like an unwanted appendage---instead of a friend.

You graciously allowed your friend to feel so comfortable intruding on your life that she could come and leave your home whenever she wanted, eat out of your refrigerator like it was her own, cry on your sofa, use you as an airport limo chauffeur, a house-sitter, dog-sitter and more.

At the same time, literally, she was so self-centered that you weren't comfortable enough to tell her about your own needs and problems. I hope you recognize that this relationship was completely out-of-balance and that you failed to set boundaries ofen enough. You rarely had the guts to say no to her, even in response to the most unreasonable requests.

As you have already learned, you will never be able to satiate her needs. She sounds very controlling and manipulative...and her threats of suicide are the ultimate weapon she uses to control your behavior. You did the right thing by telling her family about her threats and suggesting that she get professional help. You learned, I'm sure, that you can lead a horse to water, but can't make it drink.

OF COURSE: You have no responsibility to sacrifice your own life to be your friend's keeper. You have every right to move on to more satisfying relationships. Cut loose now Sue, before you waste more time and emotion.

I hope you find this response empowering.

My best,

Irene

Thank you for listening. I

Thank you for listening. I feel so much better and I know that I played my part in this. I have cut many of the ties. I also explained how upset i felt when she said about me visiting my sister. This lead to quite an open conversation. I know that I need to set boundaries and I have now. I feel much happier because I felt I was turning in to a toxic friend through back stabbing. I think this is a really useful website.

WOW. I thought I was alone

WOW. I thought I was alone and could see myself turning in to a toxic friend because I am so disgruntled by our friendship I have started to moan to my partner and sister. I have known my friend for 10 years and along the way we had some really good times. I was always a shoulder to cry on over boyfriends, the fact she had no family locally and no friends. I introduced her to friends and she settled down and made her home here. Then she began turning up and staying for hours, going in to the kitchen and helping herself to meals,. My husband and I were going through a bad patch and another relationship of hers broke down. She came round to mine and I just knew I could not handle it - I almost felt like I was having a nervous breakdown. She was lying on my sofa crying, I know this sounds harsh but i couldnt cope my husband was having any affair and maybe I should have shared this with her but I didnt want to so I asked her to go to her sisters. This is thrown in my face when she is drunk that i "threw her out of my house". I didnt I phoned her sister to say she was on her way (admitteldy 3 hour drive) and I phoned her repeatedly. Eventually I divorced my husband and she moved abroad. And I am ashamed to say I felt relief. I didnt have to feel guilty that I was throwing her out of the house - if it was11 pm and I wanted to go bed. But then the phonecalls started I was supposed to be her rock and I was letting her down. She was lonely. I phoned her sister and another friend they didnt visit but it is me that has it thrown in my face how I let her down. She has now moved back in to town and it has started again! I saw her a week ago. She came to my house this week and when she is drunk she says I have no time for her, I go to my sisters more than hers, her boyfriend is getting on her nerves, his son is getting on her nerves, she wants a baby, she has no family here. It feels good to get this off my chest and I know I probably sound a cow but I am at the end of my tether. And now she wants me to look after her dog when she is away!

needy friends

This site has been a real help to me. As a woman I think we gear ourselves to try and help those around us. I am in the middle of a realtionship with a 'needy' friend. Her husband is never good enough (tho he tries!) Always yelling at her children (tho they try!) and complaining to me all the while. The kind of person who ALWAYS asks for some sort of favor when you see them, childcare, to borrow stuff etc.. She asked if she could store around 2 bags of yarn in my garage and showed uo with 20, 30 gallon garbage bags full. It is causing stress between my husband and myself (we typically have a great realtionship) and my chidren. If I don't answer her phone calls (there are MANY during the day) she usually shows up at my house. My husband calls her an emotional vampire who sucking all my energy away. I have started saying no to her (the last favor she asked of me, when I said I didn't have time she started to yell!) but I stuck to it and will try to continue to do so. It's hard though- because I have to see her at the kids school- but I just need to stay strong and do what's best for my family first.

fractured friendships

The other day a past friend contacted me to let me know she wanted to resume a friendship that had gone sour. having read many articles from this website i realised that i was not alone and that she had always felt like a ball and chain around my neck and was the beginning of the final straw for me. i had always felt emotionally drained and scared of her mood swings . it was always black or white, if we could not meet out for a social gathering or if we were too tired and wanted to head back home she would be so annoyed. if something was said that she did not like her face would drop and she would make it clear she was annoyed with you. it was always her ways or no way and if she did something for us, we were always made to know that she went out of her way. the hardest to swallow was how she used information to manipulate facts and play one against the other and the tears that followed to convince you that she did not mean what she had said and to gain you sympathy became unconvincing in the end and all too familiar . it was too much! and very difficult to sustain. especially when she would question you to gain information. i did not argue or confront her as i am not comfortable with that but i began to slowly cut off regular contact and not make myself available, hoping she would get the hint and move on. often people would ask how i could be friends with someone who was so moody and difficult to read or understand, i always defended her and found some compassion but i think deep down , i also felt the same way. she has tried a few times to catch up and apologise but i just couldn't do it, i simply did not have the heart to invest any more of myself. end of story. i wished her well and asked for peace. it made me feel terrible but i just couldn't go through with catching up again.

In reply to fractured friendships

It's great that you gained insight into how one-sided your friendship was beginning to feel. Often people get caught up in toxic friendships and either don't recognize them for what they are or can't find a way out.

Cutting loose took a great deal of courage---I hope you will find more rewarding friendships to fill the void left by the loss of this one.

My best,

Irene
 

 

 

From the perspective of reforming "needy friend"

Stumbled upon this website by chance and, it's been a great help to me.... to understand where it had all gone wrong. Contrary to everyone writing here, I guess my stance is different, as I have decided to formally acknowledge myself as the one who is probably more needy in the friendship with my best friend. After reading this advisory entry, it made me realised that perhaps my neediness had overwhelmed this great bond and support which had been shared with my best friend of 6 years since high school. I am like a stone on her neck. The best part is we are both always aware of the situation..... she had never gave up. There're many times where I feel really bad for being such a pain in her life. Anger, frustration within... the desperation to get out of her life, cut loose, had not worked well. Somehow, we desperately tries to hold on to each other for reasons we cannot quite figure out either. Perhaps it's habitual. We are just used to and resigned to my neediness. However, the time bomb finally ticked. My best friend and the emotional support over the years had decided to cut loose on me. I'm not sure, as a needy friend, the bad persona in a friendship, has the rights to feel sad or depressed.... somehow, it seems like we are the guilty ones who are not given the rights to feel depressed, upset.... So, at this very moment, I'm telling myself that I have to move on and learn to set boundaries, not to repeat these neediness ever again... to hurt anyone else or myself again.. Just a note to everyone who has a needy friend: Not all needy friends are unaware of their behaviour. Very often, we are people who are just upset and am terribly sorry for imposing and inconveniencing you, the giver, in the relationship. We desperately wants to get out of being needy and imposing on you.... but it's just so difficult because it had became a situation where your niceties and warmth demonstrated to our neediness made us became dependent and it is too late too get out.... and we wait for you to cut us loose. Some puts up a tough fight, react negatively when you cut loose. There're some, who, like me, remain stoic and dwell in our wrongdoings, like a criminal found guilty of ruining your life... praying for your forgiveness. For now, the situation between my best friend and i is one of silence, cordial and formalities. It hurts and pricks but I told myself that I deserve it and I put no fight to try to win back the trust, un-do the hurt...... To all the needy friends out there, recognising your problem of being needy and desperately wants to get out of it to become a better friend next time round.... be strong and move on graciously - it's our last ticket to redemption.

In reply to "Needy Friend" -08-31-08

Hi:

You may have lost a friend but you certainly gained valuable insight into yourself and your fractured friendship.

My advice would be to work on yourself now so you can be a better friend next time around---whether with this friend or another one. It isn't going to happen on it's own. People tend to repeat the same toxic patterns in relationships over and over unless they find ways to change themselves.

I don't know much about you but do you know why you were so dependent on a single individual? Do you have other satisfying relationships? How can you improve your self-confidence and ability to be a happy and independent person? Do you have a range of interests and involvements (e.g. work, hobbies, family) so that you are generally happy and engaged in life? 

Given the magnitude of your loss, it's normal to feel sad and depressed. With hindsight, you probably realize that you should have stepped back from the relationship a little bit when you first recognized you were demanding too much. It might have saved you from this problem.

Perhaps after a brief cooling off period, you can approach your lost friend again and develop a new type of relationship with her that is less intense and demanding. If not, you may have to move on to new relationships that are more balanced.

It's very brave to admit that you feel responsible for a failed relationship---but you have no reason to feel like a criminal who has committed a crime. Remember that you were being the best friend you knew how to be at the time.

My best,

Irene 

 

Hi Irene, Thanks for the

Hi Irene, Thanks for the reply. It was prompt and I didn't expect it... until I checked back here today. Ironically, i mean, contrary to how you might perceive I am, I'm actually a very easy-going person with loads of friends. Close friends. Not hi-bye friends, as I am the sort who makes an attempt to keep in touch and engage with friends around me, meeting up regularly (say 1x a week or 1x every few months) with my different social circles all the time. I am also actively engaged in school activities back as a student. In fact, I am a student leader, well-known for being confident. Recently, around a year ago, I've graduated from college and am in a career that I truly love, enjoy and really look forward to everyday. i.e. I would say I am a healthy individual, confident and cheerful. I am also known for being energetic and enthusiastic in everything that I do. I've spent the past month catching up with myself.... realised that I was spending too much time worrying for my best friend almost all the time as she is generally more pessimistic in nature due to her past records of depression... and I desperately wants to help but she would not let me to..... until the day when she finally let it off and that she found me being overly intrusive and she got tired of the way I care and was often overbearing and insensitive. That's when I was really upset and began wondering, before finally concluding that perhaps, i am the needy friend afterall. And I got really guilty to realise that over the years, I did not manage to help her feel better in her situations and often contributed to her stress levels as I was overcaring... to the extent that sometimes I would pressurised her to take a bold step to get out of her pessimism. That sort of tension that surrounded us was really killing both of us. Hence, took time off to re-think the situation, where I did not really bother to maintain contact for the past month and realised that I am ironically a lot happier and comfortable with myself as I no longer worry so much over my friend's worries. And today, my best friend asked me how am i doing over IM... My response was naturally lukewarm as I got used to just not keeping in touch with her over the months. So my question now is really, was I the needy friend or was she the needy friend? Does being too caring makes me a needy friend? And that's actually the kinda boundary that I meant to draw - to keep a distance with people who felt that I was overbearing, overcaring, etc. Any advice on that?

thank you

Dear Irene, thank you for your comment. i really appreciate your insight and support on this. kindest regards munroe68

That's right! What a burden.

That's right! What a burden. Don't answer the phone! It's too much! Those needy people! That precious hour is too much. Especially for a family member. Definitely your friendship can't help. Don't let them bring you down. You won't make a difference in their life. You need to dump that person right away! That's what Christ would do.

In reply: That's right! What a burden

Dear Anonymous:

Perhaps this post will offer some other thoughts. A pastoral counselor can also lead an overwhelmed friend or depressed individual in the right direction.

http://www.fracturedfriendships.com/blog/psych-101-when-a-close-friend-d...

Best,

Irene

 

Thanks!

Hi Irene, That post was useful! thanks :)

glad I read this !!

This article was great . I was feeling very guilty about trying to let go of a needy friend and now I know it is ok to feel this way . I was very lucky though my friend left the state so I didnt have to actually let go . so we are still sorta friends I mean she is still on my my space but I dont call her or anything I did felt guilty about not calling her but now I feel better reading this article. I now know I dont have to call her . the only problem is with her being on my myspace it freaks me out a lil because I know she examines my profile my pics my comments always checking if I added knew friends . I know this because she would basicly tell me she would say things like who is that you added or things about comments friends left . I find this totally freaky . I wish i could delete her but she would make so much trouble its not worth it . anyways thanks for posting this article

Yep. delete her! Don't

Yep. delete her! Don't answer the phone. You need to think about yourself and what a burden this needy person is. That's what Christ would do.

Holier than thou

Would Christ leave snippy anonymous e-mails to people who are just trying to do the best they can?

Really good advice

After searching for an hour I have finally found a site that explains my friend that has recently moved in. She appaulogizes 5-10 times for everything she does, just to hear that she has done nothing wrong. She is constantly trying to "validate" her thoughts of others and always needs a shoulder to cry on. I am starting to get really fustrated with her and angry everytime she does any of those "needy" things. I even went as far to call her on this behaviour, but that backfired and she got nasty and ill-tempured. She even tries to get emotional gratificaton from my two children, shes always giving them kisses and asking if they love her, AND IT DRIVES ME CRAZY. This article has shown me that just because I felt sorry for her and invited her into my home doesnt mean I should feel guilty asking her to go and leave me and my kids alone. Almost feels like she thinks shes a replacement for their mother.

needy friend

I had a friend who I met just before she lost her mother. Her family had disowned her for some reason and I felt sorry for her when her mum died. She stuck to her boyfriend like glue and didn't have any other friends. She started to become dependent on me - this went on for 3 years. She'd cry all the time which made me feel sorry for her. She'd be ill all the time or have accidents in the house and bruise herself. She'd email and text me numerous times a day but wouldn't socialise with any of my friends. Her boyfriend made friends with mine and they became close mates. I started to get really depressed and felt drained and exhausted because of her neediness. When I told her I'd had enough of her and that we were too different for our friendship to work she turned nasty. Everything bad she could possibly think of she sent me via email - attacking my appearance, my personality, my family - I've never come across nastiness like it. She even told me that my fiance had slept with someone else. I wish I had not given her 3 years of friendship. My fiance still sees her boyfriend but I have cut loose and feel great. I would warn anyone to please be careful - if you have a friend who starts to make you feel guilty or suffocated it's best to either cut the friendship down a bit or cut it out altogether. No-one has the right to make you feel emotionally drained or depressed. Ditching this person is the best thing I ever did and the rest of my friendships are now flourishing without this heavy stone round my neck.

Reply to Needy Friend

It must have been very difficult to end this relationship because you sound like a very sympathetic and supportive person. And how disappointed you must have felt to be betrayed afterwards. I'm glad that you have emerged whole and realize that had to do with "her" and not you. Thanks so much for sharing your post! I am sure other readers will benefit from it. My best, Irene

Thanks to you!!!

Dear Anonymous: Nothing pleases a writer more than writing something that is meaningful to a reader. You are definitely not alone in having to dump someone who is overly dependent on you. And no matter how many times it happens, it's never easy. Just remember that a toxic relationship is too draining to sustain over the long-term. My best, Irene

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