Is it bad to be a clingy friend?
In short, being a clingy friend isn’t good for you or the person you are clinging onto. Being clingy often means that you don’t have enough self-confidence and you feel like being clingy is the only way to keep your friends from leaving you.
Being a clingy friend damages your friendship, and both your and your friend’s self-values. This sort of behavior often puts an end to the friendship, because your friend will feel like they don’t have a choice but to ditch you. They can only take so much. They want their own space, and they feel like you are constantly invading their privacy. And, on the other hand, this automatically makes your worst fears come true. They left you, which is what you expected from the word go.
Try to leave that on the side for now and think about what would happen if the roles were reversed. You must have had a friend or two who texted you all the time, demanding your attention. You found them annoying, right? Well, sometimes it happens and you become that very friend for someone else.
That doesn’t make you a bad person, just someone with bad habits. Being clingy isn’t something you are born with though. It’s not an incurable disease that has to be a part of your (and your friends’) life for ever. You have the power to change things, but it all starts with accepting that you are being clingy.
When are you a clingy friend?
You can be a clingy friend in more ways than one. Do you find yourself constantly worrying about where your friends are? Is your first thought that they are ‘cheating’ on you, going out with someone else, conveniently ‘forgetting’ to invite you?
This sort of clinginess leads to a paranoid behavior, one that isn’t healthy and as such, it prevents healthy relationships – both with your friends and with your own self. You always want to be around your friends, and if you aren’t, you think of worst case scenarios. The world is ending in your opinion, and to you, it might feel like it is.
But ask yourself what makes you feel that way? Is it something your friend said or did, or does the issue lie within? Are you acting this way, because you were hurt in the past, and now that it seems to be happening again, you lost your cool?
Either way, being clingy isn’t the way forward. Whether you are texting your friend all the time, not even giving them a chance to reply before you send the second (or third, fourth, tenth) text, then you know you have an issue. True, it might be that the friendship isn’t really working out for you, but it could be something completely different.
Or you might be the one who does all the talking. Just pay attention next time you are out with your friends. Do you find yourself lacking in the listening department, yet you talk for hours, forcing them to listen? Putting your issues onto your friends without listening to their own problems is another sign of clinginess.
Friendships (real ones anyway) should work both ways.
You can count on them, and they can count on you. If you find that only you can count on them, but they can’t count on you, then you are using them for your own benefit. In that case, we aren’t really talking about a friendship, but a one-way system. Of course, this could happen the other way round, too. One of your friends could be doing the exact same thing.
There are other signs to look out for, too, when deciding whether you are a clingy friend or not. For example, do you still enjoy doing things on your own, or do you expect your friends to always be there when you are having fun? Are you perhaps trying to persuade your friend to break up with her boyfriend, so that she can spend more time with you?
Hopefully you see the patterns here and the issues, but if you don’t, then you need to talk to your friend and have them tell you how they really feel. At first they might try not to hurt your feelings, but then you need to ask yourself: is it better to be living a lie, or get things sorted while you can?
We hate to break this to you, but if you don’t want your worst fears to come true, you need to see where you are going wrong. And it’s for your own sake, too, not just to save your friendship. Having no friends can lead to all sorts of mental issues, and you don’t want that. Especially when your friendship can still be saved.
Why are you a clingy friend?
Being a clingy friend has many reasons, but mostly it’s because you are not happy with your own life, so you are trying to influence others’. You want to be in control, because you feel insecure. If you text more and make sure you spend as much time together as you can, then surely that’s a good thing, right?
In a way, you are right. There is nothing wrong with wanting to spend time with your friends. But wanting to spend too much time with them, while disregarding what they want, that’s a different thing altogether. You don’t want to end up doing it anyway, no matter what they want.
Disregarding your friends’ feelings, boundaries and wants is simply wrong. It makes you act in a selfish way. Of course, many times, when things go wrong for us, we don’t take other people’s feelings and emotions into consideration.
Especially when we are facing difficulties, we feel like it’s our prerogative to have our friends support us. And that’s understandable. But you need to take into consideration that your friends are human beings, too. You might not need space from them right now, because you want to spend every minute of every day with them, but not everyone is the same.
They might be going through things of their own, things you might need to help them with. But how are you going to be their friend, if all you do is talk, and not listen? Again, this doesn’t make you a bad person, but you need to realise that you are doing something you shouldn’t be doing.
Should you change?
If you want to keep a healthy friendship, then yes, you need to change your ways. Being a clingy friend isn’t good for anyone. And honestly, do you want to be the one everyone else points at, saying ‘uh, no, don’t make friends with her (or him), (s)he is so clingy… I would know’?
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should change everything about you. The things you like, the things you do make you who you are. Keep your hobbies and most of your habits. Changing doesn’t mean that you need to do a 360 and throw everything out the window.
As we said, you aren’t a bad person, you are just doing too much of certain things, and too little of others. Finding the right balance is key here. Try to talk to your friends and ask them what habits of yours annoy them. Are you constantly hovering over their shoulders, reading their texts?
You can even ask them to mimic what you are doing wrong. This is a fun and easy way to see your own faults from the outside. It’s always easier said than done, so how about seeing it for yourself? This might help ease the tension and get you back on track. You might not even realise you are doing it in the first place. But you need to make sure that you don’t get offended by the way your friends react.
Remember that your habit has probably been annoying them for quite a while, but because they are true friends, they kept quiet about it, thinking that you would eventually stop. But just like they can’t read your mind, you can’t read theirs. Talk to them and see where you can go from there. What seems to be an enormous issue might not even matter in a few years time (but you won’t know how annoying and clingy you are, until you are shown a mirror).
How to tell your friend they are being clingy?
The famous saying that ‘it’s not me, it’s you’ won’t work here. If it isn’t you who is being a clingy friend, then you need to give that friend as much respect as you would want yourself. He or she might not even realise what they are doing. Have you told them that they are being clingy? In what way are they doing it? You might need to be specific.
However, telling your friend that they are practically getting on your nerves isn’t easy, especially if you don’t want to hurt their feelings. Try to be subtle and gentle about it, slowly making them realise what they are doing wrong.
Having a clingy friend doesn’t mean that you should abandon them, unless that’s absolute necessary for both of your sakes. In certain cases, especially if your friend is refusing to change, eventually you need to consider whether you can save the friendship or not. Friendships always depend on two people, but if one or the other doesn’t do their part, then the whole thing is pointless.
What happens if your friend gave up on you?
If your friend gave up on you because you were a clingy friend, you need to understand a few things. Number one: you are still not a bad person. Number two: your friend isn’t a bad person, either. Number three: there is a chance that your friendship can’t be saved, or even if you get back together, it will never be the same.
It is painful, especially when you know you lost your friend because of something you did (or didn’t do). You might even feel like it wasn’t really your fault. You might think that you couldn’t have done anything in a different way, and that you aren’t the one to blame.
Anger, frustration, confusion, sadness and grief are natural feelings that come with the ending of a friendship. You might even feel like you were lied to, or weren’t given the chance you needed to fix things. And that might be the truth. If your friend told you in time that you were being clingy, the friendship could have been saved.
But here comes the thing: if you were clingy and you didn’t listen to them, would you have listened if they pointed out your faults? Human beings close up when they hear someone criticise them, and if it’s their best friend, that makes it even worse. Your friends are the last people on Earth you want to hear your faults from, right?
Instead of focusing on what could have happened, and where things went wrong, concentrate on the future. But first of all, concentrate on yourself.
Find yourself again, pick up the things you used to love. Or, if you want to get back into your friend’s good books, try out the things they like.
Stop thinking that you were a bad friend. You probably were, but that’s beside the point. If you don’t manage to give yourself a second chance, then all your friendships will end before they even began. You won’t have confidence in yourself, and you will keep making the same mistakes over and over again.
Take a step back from what happened, only assessing it from far. Forget it enough to move on, but don’t forget it that much that you won’t learn from it. And, in the future, stop at the first signs of clinginess. Having healthy friendships is extremely important for your development as a person, but if you are clingy, you achieve the opposite effect.