It wouldn’t be outrageous to conclude that good friends have such an influence over our lives that they may act as our guides in our most difficult times as well be there to be supportive and be happy as a lark when they see us succeed. Friends are the family that we choose for ourselves. During our various phases of life, we come across a diverse number of personalities and we remember them as being so crucial to our lives at those phases that they represent us, our choices and our mentality during those stages of growth. But sometimes, when we are still making friends and choosing or expanding this family of ours, we may find ourselves in unfortunate circumstances where we make friends who start being overpowering with their constant presence in every aspect of our lives. No matter how close two people are, the personal space of an individual needs to be respected. But some friends start taking things for granted and form a twisted perception of our forbearance in regard to their incessant poking or prodding. These clingy friends can do more harm than good to us, and we need to maintain our distance from them with sensitivity and intelligence, lest we hurt their feelings.
- Avoid their calls/texts.
This is the first step you take when you have started out on this plan. Let them contact you multiple times (because they will, hence they are ‘clingy’). Reply to their calls or texts after several hours. And slowly, just stop replying to them. They will confront you later, and you can just use the clichéd excuses: you were busy/sleeping/tired/your phone was on silent/you forgot to call back. Do this till you don’t have to make excuses anymore because if your friend is smart, they’ll get the hint. (If not, let’s look at the other measures we can take).
- Make plans to hangout with your friends without inviting the clingy friend.
Make it a point to not ask that friend to come along if you’re making plans with other friends. Go out with others as often as you like, but keep the friend in question out of them. Your friend will see that you’re deliberately keeping them her out of your social life. This will bring the realisation that they are not welcome in your circle and will gradually start distancing themselves.
- Don’t share any enthusiasm for plans of hanging out together.
If you want to put an end to this kind of friendship, you need to put an end to spending personal time together. Clingy friends can, more often then not, be oblivious to the fact that you may not be enjoying your time as much as they are. Since you’re reading this post, it’s safe to assume that telling the person outright that they are annoying is not your way. Which means, you have to just take charge of the situation and avoid the person at all costs. When you avoid spending time with the friend, she’ll feel left out of your circle and this may encourage her to move on and find other friends.
- Don’t ask for their help in a situation, and reject it if they offer it to you.
You might have asked them for help when in a sticky situation. But don’t do that anymore! Find a solution to your problems on your own, or ask any other reliable friend for their help. The more you depend upon your space-invading friend for help, the more they’ll think that it’s normal to cling on to you! So put a stop to this by not giving out a signal that they are indispensible for you.
- Bring physical contact of affection to a minimum or an absolute stop.
Hugging, kissing, holding hands are normal gestures of showing love and affection to your friends. Put an end to such displays of affection to your friend. It sounds cold, but this coldness will make a long way in creating a rift between the two of you, which you need, to maintain your sanity.
- Don’t show any interest in their personal life.
Chances are that these friends have been pouring out their heart to you, seeking your advice, sympathy and attention with the problems they face in their personal lives. You had invested yourself emotionally and genuinely helped them out before, but now it’s become rather cumbersome and you don’t have to deal with it anymore. Stop showing any signs that you’re interested in helping them deal with their problems. When they come to you for advice for any situation, just diverge the topic or tell them you can’t help.
- Be very curt with your replies, even if they are complimenting you.
Okay, this can seem to be very hard but you need to stop yourself from going gaga when they compliment you for anything. It’s hard to turn away a compliment, but do that anyway. No matter how much they are gushing about you, just reply with a crisp straight-faced ‘thank you’ and say or do nothing else.
- Don’t initiate conversations with them.
This may seem obvious, but sometimes you may start talking to them even for the most mundane things, without thinking twice. But you must remember to not initiate any conversations with them, whether trivial or important. Talk to someone else, or do something else to occupy yourself. But, don’t open a conversation with them. They are expecting you to talk to them after your other measures to keep them at bay, so if you talk to them yourself, they’ll not get the message that you don’t intend to be as pally with them as they would want you to.
- Make your displeasure known if you see them invading your space in any way.
Such people get too comfortable with the idea of using your space and time that you want just for yourself. The concept of privacy is often lost on them and they tend to get too intrusive with their acts. They might start going through your phones without your permission, answer your phone calls and even start talking to the people who have made the call, may just invite themselves over to your house and share your bed, food, table, etc. Make it known that you don’t appreciate any of this and that they have no business intruding in your private space at all.
- Stop all kinds of interaction on social media with the friend.
Don’t respond to anything out up by the friend on social media that involves the two of you. Whether you have been tagged in a photo on Facebook or Instagram, the friend asked you to take part in yet another useless contest/giveaway/ app or if they have tagged you in a funny post or any such thing, don’t respond to these interactions at all. A total boycott on social media can be highly effective in the current times!
It might make you feel horrible and even selfish, but sometimes you need to take drastic steps for your own good. Friendships are important and good friends are precious, but some friendships do you more harm than good. While it’s always best to confront persons involved directly, not everyone can deal with the hurt properly and we have to resort to taking steps to distance ourselves from such people without publicly embarrassing them. We have too many commitments, personal and professional, and we don’t have enough time to give to people who aren’t dear to us. Rather than sticking to a person you dislike, it’s better to move apart while you can, lest the frustration builds up and makes you act in a way you didn’t want to. But remember to be sensitive about the whole situation. Good luck!