How To Deal With Needy Friends & Know Whether Or Not To Keep The Friendship

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Sometimes life happens and you need your best friend. However, needy friends tend to take that neediness to a whole different level.

Needy friends are the type of people who are known for being clingy and exhibiting needy behavior like needing money, favors, help, coddling, praise, and more time and attention from you.

Some friends can be needy because they are going through a hard time, or they don't know what they're doing with their life, or they just have tough times in relationships in general.

If you have needy friends and feel like you are acting as their therapist, then that's a red flag. 

Clingy and needy friends' approach to friendship is demanding and very draining to your mental health and because you might not be willing or able to give your time and attention all to them. They also could be excessively calling, texting, and emailing you, and you just ignore it because it's too much to handle.

There comes to a point where you need to choose if you want to continue being friends with them or end the friendship.

How to Deal with Needy Friends

RELATED: How To Make Friends As An Adult (Without Being Weird Or Clingy)

1. Set boundaries with your friend.

You need to let your friend know you're not free every minute of every day to be at their beck and call. You have a life, too, and you will make time for them when you are free. But if you aren't, they need to respect and appreciate the time you give to them.

It's good to learn how to say no once and a while because saying yes too much to your needy friends could cause habits to start forming and that's something that you can get trapped in if it were to happen.

2. Don't feel guilty for not hanging out with them.

You have to tend to your own needs first. No matter how much you might care for and love your needy friends, you might want to and need to hang out with other people or just be alone and they cannot get mad at you for that especially if they realize and know they have been needing you a lot recently. 

You don't need to feel guilty because their problems are not yours, so don't stress yourself out over something that doesn't (or shouldn't) directly affect you.

3. Spend time with different friends.

By doing this, you'll be able to learn that spending time with other less demanding friends might be better for you and that your needy friend can get used to not being with you all the time.

You can also tell your needy friends that you're hanging out with other friends and hopefully, that encourages them to make their own friends as well. 

If you need to, let your friend know your busy schedule so you can remind her you also have a busy life and you can't be there for her all she wants. 

4. Take a break from the friendship if you need it.

When your needy friends become too much of a full-time job then you have to think about your mental health and take a relationship sabbatical. You should never feel like you're obligated to answer all of their calls, texts, emails.

The same goes for feeling like you need to respond immediately to their messages. If something is truly urgent, they will leave a message or call another friend or family member.

When you finally do respond, tell them you were busy and that you didn't have any free time. While you are away from them use this time to keep yourself busy and do something that is productive and engaging. 

5. If the friendship is toxic, cut them off. 

Ending a friendship is never easy, especially if you've been friends for years. But sometimes friends drift apart and people change in good and bad ways. 

RELATED: 5 Emotionally Exhausting Signs It's Time To Set Boundaries With The People In Your Life

Should you stay friends with a needy person?

Spending time thinking about your current situation with a needy friend can help you gain clarity on whether or not you should be friends with them anymore.

Needy friends can change for the good or just fall deeper into a more serious spiral, pulling you down with them — and in that case, you would be dealing with a toxic friend.

Go through this list and ask yourself if this is how your needy friends are and if you should save or end the friendship.

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Whatever the case is, do what's right for your own mental health and know that needy friends don't have to bring you down with them.

Save a friendship with a needy friend if: 

1. They can show you they can handle themselves and their situation without you being there for them 24/7.

2. With time, they recognize that they are behaving in a toxic manner and apologize to you. 

3. They can show you that they are trying to learn to be less needy and won't try to manipulate you emotionally.

End a friendship with a needy friend if: 

1. They use your guilt to their advantage and make you feel ashamed and upset for not answering them. 

2. They become too toxic and bog you down with emotional stress and trauma.

3. They make you feel like you need them and that they need you to make them feel worthy.

RELATED: 4 Ways To Deal With A Toxic Friendship (And How To Know When You Should Walk Away)

Megan Hatch is a writer at YourTango who covers pop culture, love and relationships, and self-care.