Creating Boundaries With Needy Friends
Article Written by Randi Fine, Narcissistic Abuse Expert
Friendship is one of life’s greatest gifts. It is a fulfilling relationship that is shared by two people who care about each other, trust each other, and want only the best for each other. A good friendship is honest, loyal, and truthful; good friends understand and accept each other in ways no one else can.
A healthy friendship feels good to both parties. It is positive, supportive, and comforting whether times are good or bad. Friends see each other through the best of times and the worst of times, and through it all the relationship remains uplifting and fun. Friends make us laugh, feel good about ourselves; they enhance our life experience.
Sometimes an initially healthy, energizing friendship turns weighty and oppressive; the needy scale begins tipping in one direction and never balances back out. Being together is no longer fun—nearly every encounter becomes downright depressing. But your friend was there for you in the past and you feel obligated to be there for him or her now. The problem is that your debt never seems to get paid off.
If you are wondering whether or not you are saddled with an emotionally needy friend, consider the following questions:
1. Despite all your help does your friend always seem to be unhappy? 2. Are you helping your friend more than your friend is helping you? 3. Does your friend dominate every phone call or interaction by talking about his or her problems? 4. Does your friend show little or no interest in your life or your problems? 5. Does your friend make the same mistakes over and over or choose one destructive relationship after another? 6. Does your friend feel better after dumping on you and leaves you feeling worse? 7. Do you wish you could avoid contact with your friend? 8. Do you feel trapped in the friendship? 9. Do you dread every encounter with your friend, or does every encounter leave you feeling drained and exhausted?
You are probably a very good listener and want to be a good friend—you want to be supportive of whatever your friend is going through. That is understandable. But be clear on what it means to be a good friend and what it means to be supportive.