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Friend who is clingy and self-absorbed


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I’m female in my 30s and have a friend who l knew for a while, but recently became close friends with. She moved to the city where l moved to ( we’re from the same hometown). 

Now, we’re both single in our early 30s, we have the exact same lifestyle, we love same things, travel, luxury clothes, both independent and work hard and both without boyfriend/ kids. 

The only difference is that l’m still close to my family(parents, siblings) while she doesn’t speak to hers. - And therefore she’s super clingy with me and wants to hang out/ talk all the time (and when she talks it’s all about her and her life 99 percent of the time). 

I love listening to her stories cause the way she tells them is so interesting and funny. But feeling like my life and my issues are “not so important”. 

Also what bothered me is that she would say a few condescending things about my job ( and that was a time she was staying at my apartment FOR FREE) and also when l took my braces off for example - she started laughing and said she doesn’t see any difference in my teeth (the difference is huge).


She’s also asking for help about things she can figure out with basic google search. She called me while l was at work and left me two texts to call her urgently. I thought it was something really urgent, but the only thing she needed was to know what location to get tested for covid. And it’s always something similar. 

Now l like her, but l also don’t feel like talking to her all the time. And she expects me to pick up the phone whenever she calls, cause that’s what a good friend does. When l do pick up the phone, we talk for few hours minimum about her job, her problems, her guys...ugh. I say something about me and she quickly switches back to her. 

I don’t want to lose her as a friend. We sometimes have good time together and we’ve known each other since high school. We have lot of things in common and so many topics. But l really don’t wanna be talking all the time and l feel like l keep finding excuses to not speak with her. 

How do l set boundaries but still stay a good friend? 

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Setting up boundary at this stage will be difficult. But you can try it by talking to her. 

You can tell her that you respect her as a person and your bestie but you as a person appreciate some me time. I can explain your situation saying that there is a lot of stress at work or in family, and I guess they need me there. At the same time give her the confidence that you will always be there for her. 

If this goes successfully then you can set boundaries. If this doesn't work then it will be better you both seek a retreat like joining meditation or yoga class together, it will give you both a headspace from each other.  Or simply you join it and put your mobile on silent for those 40 mins. The more you stay away from your mobile her the better are the chances of her getting this message that she needs to stop. Make sure you bring these changes gradually and in a subtle way, so that she doesn't feel abandoned or rejected.

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43 minutes ago, elliecake34 said:

And she expects me to pick up the phone whenever she calls, cause that’s what a good friend does.

What happens when you don't pick up the phone?

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She would call again, maybe two more times and then she would message me why l’m not answering.

l would explain to her l’m at work or at yoga and then she would say call me it’s urgent. But it’s never really urgent.

Lately since l work from home and haven’t been answering her calls at all - she’d text me before calling, asking if we can talk. And what time l’m available so she can call me

Edited by elliecake34
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If she says it is urgent reply that if it has to do with a true emergency you'll do your best but otherwise you cannot speak right now.  I have a friend who has been acting this way the past year but she also was there for me so many times so I am cutting her slack.  BUT after telling her I couldn't speak before a certain time in the morning (my husband is sleeping, it would wake him) she continued to call at those hours (like 8am) - so I simply turn my ringer off and let it go to VM.  

This person sounds like more of a casual/activity partner -you have some fun stuff in common so maybe limit your interactions to making fun/light plans? 

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Next conversation, I'd have a pow-wow about what 'urgent' means to her versus what it means to you. I'd joke that I've been feeling like a hotline lately and finding it exhausting.

I'd also draw a line whenever she tries to guilt you by defining what friendships are 'supposed to be'. I'd call her out on assigning her own definition without considering mine--which involves respect for another's limits.

I'd tell friend that I adore her, and that's why I'm proposing that she needs to back off a bit on expecting instant responses from me. I'd like to schedule 2 or 3 times a week to either phone or meet and let our hair down together, but beyond that, I cannot be available on demand.

Let her chomp on that. Let her react to it without responding. Let her get her defenses and arguments out of her system. Then respond, "Well, let's try it my way for a while and see how it goes. I would do it for you."

If she stomps off in a tantrum, let her have that. Let her reflect, and if she contacts you again and is willing to do it your way, then she's worth keeping. If not, you dodged a bullet.

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You have to call out stuff as it happens... here are some examples.

Listen gf, I'm happy to help you in an emergency but don't text me urgent, when its not.  especially if I'm at work.

Gosh,  I just listened to you for 20 minutes.  Don't you want to hear about my day? 

Sometimes I'm busy just with myself and my life. I'm sorry you expect calls right back, but that's not working for me. 

You have to push back. If she is not being cool on the phone or whatever,  tell her you have to go. 

Stop being so available... its hard but you have to do it.  Even when she's being cool. Don't let the boundary slip. 

I wouldn't pick a fight about any of this.  I would start taking to her as it's happens. That's the best when to prove what she's doing and keep it relevant. 

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1 hour ago, elliecake34 said:

She would call again, maybe two more times and then she would message me why l’m not answering.

Turn your phone down... msg her saying 'I'm busy', leave it at that.. No one is always 'available'.. SHE has to accept this.  And no, don't always respond.. ( she should get the hint soon enough).

It's all ridiculous to act out the way she is!  Even close friends don't need to talk for hours.. several times a week.

Or, YOU just explain it to her- plain out. " I am not always available,, I have things that need to be done... we can maybe talk on occasion, but not like it has been."

Since it sounds like she is getting under your skin.. then speak up.

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Your friend is an energy vampire.  Google "energy vampire." 

Make yourself less available.  Don't return her calls nor texts immediately.  Wait a week.  Decrease your correspondence.  Then when she texts, emails, messages or leaves a voicemail, wait another week.  Let time drag out and let her wait forever.  Decline getting together in person.  Sooner or later, she'll get the message that you're drifting apart and fading away.  Don't be shy.  Learn to decline politely.  "No thank you" will suffice.  If pressed, let her know you are very busy with family, family commitments and daily responsibilities.  No means no.

I don't think it's necessary to have a long explanation during a discussion with her.  I'd keep my distance from her if I were you.  You don't need boundaries with her in the first place because she is not a good friend.  Your life and issues are unimportant to her, she made condescending remarks about your job, stayed at your apartment FOR FREE, she made snarky comments after your braces were removed, calls you at work, can't google anything without your assistance and wants to talk to you all the time.  She doesn't have a life so she clings onto you like a leech.  Would you call her "a good friend?" 

So what if her stories are funny and interesting?  The rest of her personality and character are disdainful. 

It's not your job to teach her how to behave properly.  Cut her loose.  That's what I did with certain undesirable people in my life.  I don't do anything to them nor  lecture them.  I simply leave them alone.  I don't waste my time, energy and resources on people who don't treat me with RESPECT.  I have better things to do with my time and I have the right to enjoy my life on my terms.  If anyone doesn't play by the rules of common courtesy and common decency, they're OUT. 

 


 

 

 

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You need to establish boundaries, and respond when it is convenient for you.  You have enabled this behavior.  

Doesn't she have any other friends?

Honestly, this type of individual would frustrate me.  The fact that she shows no interest in your life and has made digs about important things, would be a big reason for me to pull away.  This woman is not your friend, as you are no more than a sounding board.. She doesn't give a sh*t about you.  Lose her!

Edited by Hollyj
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16 hours ago, elliecake34 said:

I love listening to her stories cause the way she tells them is so interesting and funny. 

This is what you need to observe. At some level you were living vicariously and were amused by her stories.

This has Zero to do with closeness to families. It has to do with a precedent you set in the past of being entertained.

It seems like she's simply more bored now, like many are due to Covid.

Ok so there's been a shift. A shift from her being bored and you no longer being that entertained or amused.

Don't be condescending, catty or start playing drill sergeant with comment's about 'adore you to death but only call at xyz times'.

Act like peers. Simply resist the urge to start chatting if you're bored or she's bored.

None of this is new and you know this. What's new is covid and you're working from home. So. Just don't answer, tell her you'll get back to her later.

Keep in mind it's a friendship you both want so skip the lecturing and 'telling' her this or 'proposing' that. You're not her boss, you are her friend. 

Just be more straight up that you are busy. Resist the urge to break up the wfh boredom with her stories.

Edited by Wiseman2
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22 hours ago, elliecake34 said:

I’m female in my 30s and have a friend who l knew for a while, but recently became close friends with. She moved to the city where l moved to ( we’re from the same hometown). 

Now, we’re both single in our early 30s, we have the exact same lifestyle, we love same things, travel, luxury clothes, both independent and work hard and both without boyfriend/ kids. 

The only difference is that l’m still close to my family(parents, siblings) while she doesn’t speak to hers. - And therefore she’s super clingy with me and wants to hang out/ talk all the time (and when she talks it’s all about her and her life 99 percent of the time). 

I love listening to her stories cause the way she tells them is so interesting and funny. But feeling like my life and my issues are “not so important”. 

Also what bothered me is that she would say a few condescending things about my job ( and that was a time she was staying at my apartment FOR FREE) and also when l took my braces off for example - she started laughing and said she doesn’t see any difference in my teeth (the difference is huge).


She’s also asking for help about things she can figure out with basic google search. She called me while l was at work and left me two texts to call her urgently. I thought it was something really urgent, but the only thing she needed was to know what location to get tested for covid. And it’s always something similar. 

Now l like her, but l also don’t feel like talking to her all the time. And she expects me to pick up the phone whenever she calls, cause that’s what a good friend does. When l do pick up the phone, we talk for few hours minimum about her job, her problems, her guys...ugh. I say something about me and she quickly switches back to her. 

I don’t want to lose her as a friend. We sometimes have good time together and we’ve known each other since high school. We have lot of things in common and so many topics. But l really don’t wanna be talking all the time and l feel like l keep finding excuses to not speak with her. 

How do l set boundaries but still stay a good friend? 

It doesn’t seem like she wants to be your friend. She’s a lot from you mentally and emotionally but you’re not getting much in return. You really need to have a conversation with her about this (like everyone else has suggested). If she doesn’t change, you should cut her out of your life and try to find new friends. 

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On 1/31/2021 at 6:33 PM, Jibralta said:

Well, the problem is, you've made yourself answerable to her. Stop doing that. You're an adult; you don't have to explain your whereabouts to anyone. 

Yes but l stopped being responsive. Then she would be like “whenever l need someone to talk to, nobody has time for me” poor me, and “ l’m going through hard times and everyone is aways too busy, l don’t have any real friends” referring to me because that was period when l started ignoring her calls. Even though l listened and listened to this girl for hours when she’s going through her definition of “hard time” . It’s not really like something “bad” happened to her, it’s basic complaining and venting about stuff like dating problems, job problems etc. 

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On 1/31/2021 at 7:56 PM, SooSad33 said:

Turn your phone down... msg her saying 'I'm busy', leave it at that.. No one is always 'available'.. SHE has to accept this.  And no, don't always respond.. ( she should get the hint soon enough).

It's all ridiculous to act out the way she is!  Even close friends don't need to talk for hours.. several times a week.

Or, YOU just explain it to her- plain out. " I am not always available,, I have things that need to be done... we can maybe talk on occasion, but not like it has been."

Since it sounds like she is getting under your skin.. then speak up.

Yeah l’m starting to, she can be really sensitive and has reactions to everything and it’s emotionally draining for me to listen. 

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17 hours ago, Cherylyn said:

Your friend is an energy vampire.  Google "energy vampire." 

Make yourself less available.  Don't return her calls nor texts immediately.  Wait a week.  Decrease your correspondence.  Then when she texts, emails, messages or leaves a voicemail, wait another week.  Let time drag out and let her wait forever.  Decline getting together in person.  Sooner or later, she'll get the message that you're drifting apart and fading away.  Don't be shy.  Learn to decline politely.  "No thank you" will suffice.  If pressed, let her know you are very busy with family, family commitments and daily responsibilities.  No means no.

I don't think it's necessary to have a long explanation during a discussion with her.  I'd keep my distance from her if I were you.  You don't need boundaries with her in the first place because she is not a good friend.  Your life and issues are unimportant to her, she made condescending remarks about your job, stayed at your apartment FOR FREE, she made snarky comments after your braces were removed, calls you at work, can't google anything without your assistance and wants to talk to you all the time.  She doesn't have a life so she clings onto you like a leech.  Would you call her "a good friend?" 

So what if her stories are funny and interesting?  The rest of her personality and character are disdainful. 

It's not your job to teach her how to behave properly.  Cut her loose.  That's what I did with certain undesirable people in my life.  I don't do anything to them nor  lecture them.  I simply leave them alone.  I don't waste my time, energy and resources on people who don't treat me with RESPECT.  I have better things to do with my time and I have the right to enjoy my life on my terms.  If anyone doesn't play by the rules of common courtesy and common decency, they're OUT. 

 


 

 

 

Thank you!! Absolutely all of this. I never heard of the term “energy vampire” before but looking it up now- it describes her completely. 
 

there are so many things about her that l forgot to mention that always made me uncomfortable, but l used to brush it aside.

Like for example, she keeps saying she helps people a lot, but l never seen her help anyone especially not me. I did too many favors for her. 

When she moved here, and stayed at my place, she kinda complained about the fact l don't have a car(because if l did, l know she’d use me to take her places) the fact she pays a lot for her Uber when we meet up. And when we’re out in a restaurant she is really rude to waiters. 


Lol just writing all this makes me realize just how many things frustrate me about her. 
 

 

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50 minutes ago, elliecake34 said:

Yeah l’m starting to, she can be really sensitive and has reactions to everything and it’s emotionally draining for me to listen. 

That it is!  And that is not so good 😞 

I know a few of those.. and for my own well- being I had to act.

We can only handle so much- don't let HER issue's affect you like this.

Either way, do what YOU must.  Is not on you how SHE is.  😉 

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2 hours ago, elliecake34 said:

Then she would be like “whenever l need someone to talk to, nobody has time for me” poor me, and “ l’m going through hard times and everyone is aways too busy, l don’t have any real friends” referring to me because that was period when l started ignoring her calls.

Is that really a problem, though? Why don't you just tune her out?

Is this one of those people who posts cryptic messages on Facebook about not being understood or people not caring? 

Edited by Jibralta
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4 hours ago, elliecake34 said:

Yes but l stopped being responsive. Then she would be like “whenever l need someone to talk to, nobody has time for me” poor me, and “ l’m going through hard times and everyone is aways too busy, l don’t have any real friends” referring to me because that was period when l started ignoring her calls. Even though l listened and listened to this girl for hours when she’s going through her definition of “hard time” . It’s not really like something “bad” happened to her, it’s basic complaining and venting about stuff like dating problems, job problems etc. 

I'd let that roll and reply, "I hear! I'm working my own self-sufficiency issues over here, too. Let's catch up on Tuesday [or insert a good day for you here...] or Wednesday."

Nobody can manipulate us without our consent.

Edited by catfeeder
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3 hours ago, elliecake34 said:

And when we’re out in a restaurant she is really rude to waiters. 

I'd tell her that I can't support that, and that's really not cool with me. It's not just a moral thing, it's practical--I don't want servers spitting in my food because my friend can't get a grip.

I'd make it a point to tell her that we're totally split on values here. I appreciate people who work hard because I've waited my share of tables--and I won't stay with her at a table if she can't figure out how to be kind to the people who serve us.

If she doesn't 'like' that, then, too-bad-so-sad. She can walk away and resolve all of our issues in one swoop.

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3 hours ago, elliecake34 said:

Thank you!! Absolutely all of this. I never heard of the term “energy vampire” before but looking it up now- it describes her completely. 
 

there are so many things about her that l forgot to mention that always made me uncomfortable, but l used to brush it aside.

Like for example, she keeps saying she helps people a lot, but l never seen her help anyone especially not me. I did too many favors for her. 

When she moved here, and stayed at my place, she kinda complained about the fact l don't have a car(because if l did, l know she’d use me to take her places) the fact she pays a lot for her Uber when we meet up. And when we’re out in a restaurant she is really rude to waiters. 


Lol just writing all this makes me realize just how many things frustrate me about her. 
 

 

You are quite welcome!  Yes, "energy vampires" are pariahs.

Never brush anything aside.  Keep it in your memory bank because bad memories remind you why certain people are toxic and dysfunctional in your life.  They are to be avoided just like the plague! 

She says she helps people a lot.  Talk is cheap.  Actions speak louder than words. 

You help her a lot and she will continue to drain you.

When she stayed at your place FOR FREE, she knows she can continue taking advantage of you if you allow her. 

Always pay attention to people who are rude to others because this is their nature. 

Do not fear and do not be afraid.  There is a way to handle this departure without a full blown argument and fight.  Always keep the peace.  You can handle this parting of ways with grace and class as suggested previously.  Exercise tact and you will be ok!

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Sounds like you are overdosing on each other. Just step back from all the chitchat.

It's not that complicated. She's not suddenly evil because you're busy and she talks too much.

You simply let that precedent go on too long.

First she's a friend and now she's a bloodsucker? C'mon. Relax and get some boundaries.

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4 hours ago, Wiseman2 said:

Sounds like you are overdosing on each other. Just step back from all the chitchat.

It's not that complicated. She's not suddenly evil because you're busy and she talks too much.

You simply let that precedent go on too long.

First she's a friend and now she's a bloodsucker? C'mon. Relax and get some boundaries.

Sorry,  I think the relationship sounds very one-sided,as this has been the dynamic from the start.  The “friend” is not interested or care about the OP,  it is all about her.  My problem is understanding why she did not distance herself  long ago. No one needs a friend like this. 

Edited by Hollyj
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