Friendships are supposed to be mutually beneficial. When a friend is demanding your attention to the point of being a burden, it is time to examine the friendship. Maybe the needy friend is going through an unusually tough time personally or professionally, or maybe she is just needy. You have to determine if the friendship means enough to stick it out, or if it is time to end the demanding friendship.
Help Them Help Themselves
Friendships should add fun, laughter and support to life. A friend who is needy demands an unreasonable amount of attention from others. Unnecessary stress takes a toll on your health, especially your heart health. A person dealing with a needy friend may find himself devoting more time listening to the friend's problems than handling his own. Support the friend in finding more independence and taking a break when necessary. For instance, help your friend create a time management schedule if a busy daily schedule is causing him stress.
Communication Is Key
Friendships should have an equal exchange of give and take. There will be times when one friend needs more attention than the other, and vice versa. When a friend suddenly needs more attention than usual, talk about what is creating the extra need, recommends psychologist Irene Levine. Discuss any big changes in her life, like a change in employment, moving to a new place or a fight with another friend. If the friend was not needy before, it is probable that a life event has created this new-found clingy behavior.
If you keep a needy, neurotic friend in your life, you have some responsibility for the stress it is causing you, as you are agreeing to this lopsided friendship. When you choose not to say no to a demanding friend, you contribute to the imbalance of a friendship with a needy person. To stop the friend from demanding all of your attention, you need to stop giving constantly and just say no.
The End of the Line
There may come a time when you have to say goodbye to a friendship because you just cannot give as much as the friend needs. Be on the lookout for signs that point to when a friendship may not be worth pursuing anymore, suggests Brandi-Ann Uyemura, associate editor with the website Psych Central. These signs include: frequent arguments or misunderstandings, tension or anxiousness around the friend and negative self-esteem because of the friendship. When these signs are there, it may be time to call it quits.
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