How do you deal with needy friends?

16 Sep

Dear Losers,

One of my good friends is so needy. She can be really fun and cool, but she can be really co-dependent and demanding. When she wants something her way, it has to be her way.

It’s really starting to get to me. What should I do?

Alexa, 17

Dear Reader,

Stop this needy train in it’s tracks.

We’ve all had to deal with people like this and we’ve all had the same decision to make. Accept their bad behavior or don’t.

I say from here on out, you don’t. Otherwise, you are just enabling her.  You might as well click a proverbial “like” button everytime she begs you to do something or bosses you around, that’s how much you are encouraging her.

People behave the way they do because they get away with it. We are all difficult or needy at times. And we act that way with people we know will tolerate it.

It sounds so Oprah, but you teach people how to treat you. Have you ever seen a little kid throw a tantrum in the grocery store? And seen that kid’s mother refuse to buy him the Twix bar? And thought, Holy ^*%* please buy him the Twix so I can shop and listen to Michael Bolton in peace!

But she doesn’t do it because she’s teaching him a lesson that he’s not always going to get his way.


Well this friend of yours has gotten a lot of things in a lot of grocery stores. So you’re going to have to start crossing your arms and witholding the candy.

But remember, people are needy for different reasons. Some friends are needy because they really like you and want you around. They don’t care who they offend, including, and not limited to- you!

Other friends are needy because they really want other things and they know you will give them to them.

And some are both.

I know everytime I’ve had to deal with a needy friend, they’ve pushed me to a boiling point. And when I’m at my boiling point, they meet my Irish temper. (I’m Irish, for you PC police.)

I once had it so much with a friends behavior that I just exploded. My speech was not pre-rehearsed, or tempered. I had all this anger built up and I  just went for it. The minute I shut my mouth, I began bracing myself for her venom.

But none came. She was speechless. Instead, I had scared her so much, she blamed my yelling at her on another one of our friends. I couldn’t believe it! It had worked! (Well for me, not for our poor friend.)

 Because I rarely get mad, I shocked and scared her.

And I was shocked and stoked!

Now, I don’t suggest you let it get to a boiling point. Preferably, you’ll want to talk to them, not yell at them about it. Then again, some people won’t get the message unless you yell it at them. This is always true if they are deaf. Regardless, let’s make that your last ditch option.

When you tell your friend your true feelings, you might find Molly McNeedy is responsive and apologetic. Now she knows you won’t put up with this bs behavior.

Or you may find Molly McNeedy starts throwing another tantrum. Essentially she is saying,

How could you possibly be mad that I always want it my way? That is what our friendship is built on! And this earth! I am the atom that started the Big Bang! Or did you miss that day in astronomy, Alexa??


Well if anything like that happens,  you’re going to have to reassess your friendship.

I’ve known plenty of difficult people in my time. And when a friend complains about one of them by saying, “Why does Darcy treat me like this and not you?”

It’s simple. Because she knows I won’t put up with it.

Be the friend that doesn’t put up with it. You’ll find much more enjoyable friends this way.

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