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Needy friends: A friend indeed?

February 13, 2008 | By | 755 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 (755)

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  1. Jessie says:

    Thanks for this post…Now please forive me but I need to vent. I met a family when our two year olds were in a playgroup together. They have one child and we now have 4 under the age of 7. They have been very clingy, and at first I didn’t want to continue the friendship (their son used to hit one of my sons and was very bossy). 3 years later, we’re still friends but I’m not sure how to set boundaries and am still not comfortable with the relationship. They depend on me a lot to babysit, I am stretched thin as it is. We are homeschooling and I work from home nights so our days are full. I get frustrated she doesn’t manage her errands so that she can get things done when her son is at school. I sometimes have to miss fieldtrips or group outings so that I can get home to watch her child. Their son is pretty bossy and I know it sounds mean, but he’s spoiled. He is rough (hits when he plays, held my son underwater, is pushy/handsy), doesn’t do things for himself, brags about toys he gets, and doesn’t like it if we have other kids over at the same time. He gets what he wants, and often, I feel like my boys are what he wants so his mom always wants to get together. His mom asks me what I’m getting the kids for christmas etc. so that she can get her son the same. Or what we’re doing for holidays, and now they are showing up the same places. I feel like that’s weird. And I know he will get the few things I get my children, we’re not well off, and then 20+ more things. She expresses that they want us to go on day or weekend trips with them because it’s not fun without friends, but we don’t do expensive outings often and when we do, we enjoy the time as a family and it’s harder when we involve them. I don’t want to send them away with their family because of the behavior I see when he’s here and I know our younger song will be left out. We have other friends who are easy to see and it works. I was hoping that when their child went to school, things would change but I feel like it’s gotten worse. I’m ready to end the friendship, but if we can comfortably see eachother maybe once a month, not a few times a week, and have the understanding that we are not co-vacationers, I think that we may be able to make it work. I feel bad, I know they mean well, but it’s too much. His mom is really nice and we’ve grown close, and the boys enjoy eachother, but the whole thing makes me uncomfortable. Thanks for this piece. I’m going to try saying no more, and if we need to cut loose, we will.

  2. Marie says:

    i am little stress i have a friend who is defendant personality disorder even little things in her everyday life she having difficulty to decide, she not like before,i still remember how she call me more than 10 times a day if she stress with another friend of her who dumped her, she dont have any idea why people avoiding her chating with me almost everyday just to say hi and report how her day is all about since she a friend i try to observed her attitude coz we been separated friend for about 6 years so everything she acting right now is new from me but slowly i notice she always make poor decision when it comes to guys she so clingy and so easy no one can stop her to get a boyfriend i always advice her to be hard to get and respect her self as i know her ex husband dump her and go with another woman i always gave advice and words of wisdom therefore i end up get pissed and tried and stressed she just listen but cannot apply and what worse its like every mistake she did are like she not in her self in 7 month she dated 4 guys 3 of them her while still courting. despite of all my advice she having hard time to apply it she take time to learn and understand thing a bit quirky we fight about a different guy she always introduce coz i dont trust her i also told her she so needy and desperate to get bf when she should learn to be independent she trying to change but too slow for her to understand i let her go in her life she coming back to me fail again and when i tell her the reason why and the effect of all that she did how people judge and look at her due to her stupid ness she get hurt she wanted only close the chapter and moved on agin without fully understand.what should i do i am tried as a friend. sometimes i almost want to tell her to go to Psychiatrist,
    Please help me being her friend makes me tried buy i also love her

  3. 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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