If your friend calls incessantly and is dependent on you for support, he or she may have dependent personality disorder. The resulting behavior can swing one of two ways -- into neediness that undermines the relationship or the warm, fuzzy glue that keeps two people together. If your friend demonstrates the former, plus some serious Mean Girl behavior when you don't cooperate, it may be time to end the friendship for good.
1. Set Boundaries
Put your needy friend in her place by learning to set boundaries, advises Irene S. Levine, psychologist and friendship expert. After all, you may have enabled her dependency by refusing to say no. For example, tell him or her that even though neither of you are in a relationship, you can't spend all your Friday nights with her. If he or she calls frequently, only answer the phone when you're free. If you're busy with another task, call back at a time that's better for you. When inconvenient, start saying no to your dependent friend, advises author and relationship coach Sarah Abell.
2. Emphasize Your Own Needs
Be clear with your persistent friend that you have your own priorities and needs, says Levine. This could be yours or your family's. There's likely someone in your life who needs your attention as much as she does. Abell recommends telling him or her gently that you've been neglecting others in your life and book a time to meet that works for you. Emphasize that you're looking forward to seeing her again -- this will lessen the string.
3. Decrease Your Time Together
If your friend is needy and mean, gradually decrease the time you spend together. Even better, up your time with other friends who are more balanced and giving. Book times to see your friend but schedule them further apart, says Abell. You might find that you can handle seeing him or her every other week. Perhaps every three months is better. Find the right balance for you. You may need a break from the friendship. It may be that he or she is such a draining, negative influence in your life that you need to kill the friendship permanently. If that's so, cut him or her loose, Levine advises.
4. Suggest Other Forms of Support
Your friend may tell you that you are the only one who can help her. This is not true, says Abell. If she's depressed or anxious, recommend a therapist. If she needs a stronger support network, tell him or her about a mother's group or sports team. Once you cut the amount of time you spend with her and establish stronger boundaries, he or she is sure to reach out to other people.
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