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Needy friends: A friend indeed?

February 13, 2008 | By | 747 Replies Continue Reading

Do you have needy friends? 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.


  • 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.

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Category: Needy friends

Comments (747)

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  1. Claude says:

    i am in big need of help. I have a friend, a young trans friend at that. Who seems to be having lots of self esteem along with a multiple identity disorder. They seem to be so dependent on me, that it is getting really tiring for me. They were abused as a child, and since they came out as trans, their catholic family has ostracized them. He also has anger issues, and i do not know what to do. It seems like they are relying on me soley for coddling and care and or to calm them down when they have a mental break down. We talk every single day, and sometimes i like to just have the weekends to myself. How do i let them know i want to have some time to myself without seeming like im abandoning them?

    • Lalitah says:


      You’re in a difficult bind. Can you research any support groups for trans youth that can be a support to your friend? That can help you unload the bulk of the drain. Also, can you have a heart-to-heart with your friends that you think it’s better for them to have a therapeutic relationship with a professional rather with you since you’re not equipped to deal with their particular problems effectively? Make sure you validate their feelings because people who have suffered abuse tend to have very fragile sense of worth and it can be come across/be interpreted automatically as a rejection. I would really push the idea of the support group and even take them there and make it clear that you’re there to support them to get the best help with the people who are best equipped to help them. And then tell your friend that you’re only available on said day/time due to your own emotional issues. You have needs too.

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