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What to do besides avoid clingy yet distant friend?

Melissa Kay

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I have a friend who is both clingy and distant, and I need advice on a better way to handle this than just avoiding her – which is what I feel like doing.


She is one of those kinds of people that others are completely drawn to, and I was rather in awe of her when I first met her. She was always talking about how she had so many friends and was so busy, so when she didn't share much about her life, I thought she just thought of me as a more distant friend. When another mutual friend mentioned not knowing about something major that had happened, this friend just responded that she had blogged about it, and directed us to her blog.


I guess I have different communication needs, I really don't want to read about what's going on in her life via her blog. I prefer something more direct and personal. She doesn't blog much about personal details, either, it is mostly just ranting about stuff she's upset about in her life, stuff that is really pretty minor and insignificant. I have noticed that only a few of her friends comment on her blog, but those that do usually have some gushing reply, like “Oh you poor thing!” or something telling her how wonderful she is.


As for the clingy part, if she does send me an email, she will panic if I don't respond right away, or will leave voice messages asking if I'm ok and saying how worried she is about not having heard from me. (I should add she does not respond to emails when I send them to her!) It seems that she really doesn't do many things with other people, as she will often ask me to get together and will seem upset or surprised if I am busy. She is really rigid with scheduling stuff, and gets upset if I have to cancel or change plans. I don't think I'm the only one annoyed by this, she has mentioned that guys have told her she's clingy, and that she can be too rigid at times. But of course in the moment, she is not willing to admit she might be overreacting.


I think maybe she has valued our friendship more than she let on – she seems to be depending on me for her friendship needs while I have tried to hang out with other people instead, because she was so distant. It seems like she just wants to talk about herself online and have people respond, but I don't think she has many social skills to use in the real world. I wouldn't mind being closer with her, but I am interested in a friendship, not a fan club.


I've been tending to avoid her since everything always seems to be focused on her – what's she's doing, what her problems are, etc. (and of course I was never included in any of the details that led up to these events).


I don't feel like I can talk to her about any of this given that she is not very receptive to feedback and tends to get very upset when people say things she doesn't want to hear. Any suggestions?

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I had a friend who I was sort of drifting from for different reasons. She called me out on it and like you, I was afraid she would take any honesty the wrong way. However, instead of beating around the bush, I WAS honest and she did NOT take it well. In the end, I wasn't interested in maintaining the friendship so I suppose it doesn't matter. She did NOT want to hear what I had to say as you imagine your friend would not want to hear what you have to say. That doesn't mean that you don't have the right to say it, though.

Without being mean, I was straight up with my "ex" friend and I feel good about it to this day even though we are ultimately not friends anymore. The truth is better than trying to say "I'm busy" for the next several months anyway, in my opinion

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I guess I'm looking for suggestions to keep it going, although I think it will need to change from the type of friendship it was - I am not going to find a deeper friend in her since she prefers to maintain a safe distance, and she is not going to find an attached-at-the-hip friend in me since I resent being clung to.


She is a nice person and we share lots of things in common, I have also noticed things go better when we hang out with more people than if I am alone with her.


I do think she struggles with self-esteem issues, and she recently got dumped because of the clingy thing, so I feel bad. I think some constructive feedback could help, but I don't know that she's receptive to hearing it. I do think being honest is the best bet.


I guess I could use suggestions on what to say, or how to phrase it, so I am both direct and yet not being mean. For example, the last time I had to cancel, I knew she would be upset, so I told her I could not make it that day and suggested another date instead. I think she took it less personally knowing I still wanted to hang out another time.

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