• Resolving Problems

Too Much: Overwhelmed by a friend without boundaries

Published: January 20, 2012 | Last Updated: April 12, 2015 By | 4 Replies Continue Reading
If your friend has no boundaries, responsibility for setting them falls on you.


Dear Irene,

I developed a friendship with someone that started out as a physical therapist. Lately she has become extremely clingy and needy. She is constantly texting and if I don’t respond quickly she immediately jumps on me, asking if something is wrong.

To me, she comes across as depressed but she flat out denies this. I am not quite sure how to politely say that I am not comfortable with the overwhelming amount of contact she seems to need. I am disabled and have a house, husband, family, and other friends to fill my life.

It’s just too much.

Signed, Vikki


Dear Vikki,

It sounds like your friend may have a problem with boundaries—both in mixing her professional and personal relationships, and in being too clingy and needy with friends.

In a situation like this, you need to explicitly let her know when she has overstepped your boundaries. It is perfectly appropriate to remind her that you have responsibilities to others and to yourself. Clarify how much contact and what type of contact feels comfortable for you to have with her. For example, you can tell her that you value your friendship but can only speak by phone no more than x times a week or see her no more than x times a month.

It’s always uncomfortable to set boundaries like this but it will be far more comfortable than letting her continue to encroach on your life.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

Some prior posts on The Friendship Blog that discuss boundary problems:  

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Comments (4)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    My friends still do this and we’re in our late 20’s, lol. Some girls/women just get so wrapped up with their boyfriends, that they forget (temporarily) about their friends. This usually happens when they first start dating- the first 6 months usually. They’re in this “love-struck” phase and their heads are in the clouds.

    Just try to give your friend time and try to set some guidelines like she can only talk about her boyfriend for 10-15 minutes and the rest of the time is strictly for other topics. You can also have a girl’s night and do manicures, watch movies, etc. (Again, enforcing the time limit rule about the boyfriend talk.)

    If she still is worried about her boyfriend, then it may be time to limit the time you spend around her and hang out with other friends.

    • Courtney says:

      Having this same issue. I have a friend who I have only known about 6 months. But is a serial texted. I’ve made myself clear that it bothers me, and then made every excuse in the book to get her to stop. Yet if I don’t immediately respond to any of the 10 to 15 texts a day, I in turn get the I’m a bad friend guilt trip from her.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m not sure how old you are but often, especially when we’re younger, our friends get so absorbed with their boyfriends that they almost forget about us or treat us differently. I heard of friends who apologized to their friends after they realizedd that they pretty well ignored them due to new boyfriends. Spending time with a boyfriend, especially when it’s a new relationship, is understandable but being rude to your friends is unacceptable. All the best to you.

  3. Anonymous says:

    My best friend has a boy friend. It’s like she thinks she always has to be with him. Whenever she doesn’t see him in gym, she automatically thinks something happend and she starts worrying. Then when she sees him, she interupts me if I am talking and says ” There he is”. Sometimes, while K am talking, she just interupts me and starts talking about him. Heis also rude to alot of people. He used to be rude to me until they started going out. When sheis not around, he starts being rude and annoying to everyone and she never finds out. That is why he keeps doing that. A lot of times when he is around and my friend is there with me, it is like I am not even there. Help!

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