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How To Be A Friend

by Dyana
(San Diego)

When Needy Friends Call

When Needy Friends Call

How To Be A Friend (to the needy)

Clingy Friend...

Hello Dr. Julia,

I have a friend whom I met through nursing school. She is very thoughtful and sweet yet very clingy and needy of a friend's company.

She would come over at my house and spend 9 hours "Just hanging out" with me and my baby son. Then, I didn't mind - my husband was at work.

After nursing school, 3 years later, we have kept in touch as she moved back to her hometown. Now she calls me everyday to talk on the phone for 2 hours!

She is now going through a divorce, but this is not a new behavior, she's done this throughout our friendship, and quite frankly I don't have that much time to talk to her on the phone.

I started to NOT pick up her calls when I am spending time with my family. She would then complain the next time I talked to her and tells me, "Oh I haven't heard from you all day."

She is the type of person who stops talking to her friends if they can't be "involved" in her life as she expects! I mean, come on we are almost 30! Shouldn't she understand that other people have family and other things to tend to other than to listen to her "vent" all day?

That's what she does when we talk on the phone, she vents about the same thing. I tried to be there for her because of her divorce process, and I knew she needed some kind of support, but I am just thinking of cutting my friendship with her altogether because her expectations are unreasonable! What do I do? Am I being unreasonable?

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How To Be A Friend

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How Dr. J Deals With Clingy Friends
by: Dr. Julia


I must say that I used to have the same trouble with clingy, needy friends - cling-ons, I call them. Having a secretary that screens all my calls has helped tremendously.

Since your friend takes offense with missed calls, screening is probably not your best solution... but I still recommend a good secretary. Once they learn how you take your coffee, they are practically indispensable!

Obviously, you like your clingy friend, but there is a proverb, "Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbor's house, lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee."

You have a couple of choices.

    1. Put down the phone while your friend is "filling you in". You just go off and get your housework done, periodically giving a "Uh-huh" or a "Is that so?" into the telephone's receiver. Of course, she'd have to be extremely long winded to pull this off successfully.

    2. Tell your friend straight out that although you cherish your times together, your life will not allow you daily phone calls anymore.

If you continue to entertain these intrusions on your time, your friend is going to experience that proverb first hand - and I don't think that is what you want, is it?

Do your best to explain your needs. If she is a friend indeed, she will see a friend in need... of some space!

Dr. Julia

Thank You Dr. Julia!
by: Dyana

You are SO RIGHT! I am going to do Option 2, I tried to do option 1 a couple times and was not as successful as I wanted to be. Thank you so much for putting a light in my situation you are the best!

Is it ok to ask your friend to get to the point.
by: Anonymous

As Dr. Chick says, one way to make space might be to use the speaker function, that way you still get things done.

Another thing could be to see if your friend is irritated and feeling like they need something... sometimes the need creates a void that is very uncomfortable.

To alleviate the discomfort let your friend imagine what she needs and tell her to let go of the want so that the desire may be met with new thoughts of direction or task.

For example, if your friend wants to make things different or wants more control...let go of wanting control so that she can have the vision she wants. Or if she wants more loving or caring connection, let go of wanting so she can experience the having.

Great Advice
by: Clingy friend2

Great Points! Some definitely need to let go of wanting to experience the having part.

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