• Handling Breakups

When tact doesn’t work with a “friend”

Published: September 26, 2016 | By | 3 Replies Continue Reading
She’s tried tact, what does she do next about a clingy friend who doesn’t get the clues?



I’m reserved and love associating with friends who have a similar disposition.

I met a woman who drains me with constant loud talking and a clingy over-emotional personality. And she WON’T leave me alone! I thought it was over when I moved to another state. Then I found she also moved here six months later!

I tried to tactfully tell her to stop choking me with dozens of texts. I asked why she writes just to tell me she did laundry. Is that so important? And I explained I wasn’t going to reply because I’m so busy. She doesn’t get the point. What’s another way to tell her to stop talking and clinging to me?

Signed, Judy


Hi Judy,

Friendships are voluntary relationships that require two willing participants. Another person can’t demand or require your friendship unless you allow them to.

If tact doesn’t work, you need to be more direct with this friend—even though it won’t feel comfortable. Rather than telling her you are busy (which could be interpreted as an “at the moment” response, simply tell this woman that you really have no interest in maintaining a friendship. Say it once and then stick to your story. Afterwards, block her text messages and don’t answer her calls.

She sounds so tone-deaf and insensitive, and doesn’t sound like someone you consider a friend. It’s likely that this approach will probably be more painful to you than it will be to her.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Category: HANDLING BREAKUPS, How to break up

Comments (3)

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  1. tusalifye says:

    Powerfuesponse with powerful comments aswelll

  2. Amy F says:

    You seem like incompatible friends. Why are you friends with her, when you don’t seem to like her and she doesn’t respect your boundaries? If refraining from answering doesn’t work, you have to be more direct and ask her not to text you any more. This “friendship” seems doomed.

  3. Liz says:

    She may be lonely. It’s important to not forget to be compassionate and not judge her after all, loneliness isn’t a crime and most people experience at some point during their lives, whether they admit it or not.

    If she’s deliberately moved to be near you, she could well be being obtuse, worse still a stalker . If the latter is true, nobody needs to be subjected to the ‘single white female’ routine and I would not hesitate to report it to the police. I’ve had two similar experiences: one was innocuous (no stalking or other unstable behaviour), the other seemed worse than it was because of some unnerving coincidences but, it was innocuous. A direct conversation is essential, providing you feel safe. Never ignore and rationalise gut feelings. Her reactions are likely to tell you everything you need to know e.g. is she calm and empathetic or defensive and angry?

    As a last resort, you can always block her calls/texts. You’re not a prisoner to the situation so you can always tell her you don’t feel you have anything in common and would like to end the friendship. Letting it fizzle out with hints and slowly distancing yourself, is never wise in my experience.

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