Friends that are way too needy are definitely draining, but sometimes it is hard to identify those friends, so that’s why I list in this article all signs that come to my mind when it comes to needy friends.
Before going further, you should know that the question to the answer”is my friend needy?” is not always yes, or no. It is rather a scale of how needy they are, and the problem is when they are too needy.
What is a needy friend?
A needy friend is a person that wants too much attention, time, emotional support, financial support, and help in general from you.
That being said, it is quite hard to realize when this became a problem since most of those things should be natural parts of a friendship. Friends usually spend time together and help each other with emotional support, money, etc. However, the real problem is when someone relies too much on you to help them or solve all their problems.
A friend should count on you in some cases, but some of their problems should be solved on their own or with the help of other people since you are probably not good at all the things they need.
The opposite situation can also be a problem for a friendship, when your friends don’t need your help at all or don’t want to spend time with you. So the truth is somewhere in between.
5 Signs your friends are needy
I will list here five needy friends signs you should pay attention to. There can be more signs depending on your circumstances.
1. How much help do they need
As I said before, your friend calling you when they need help is not a problem necessarily, but the frequency can be a problem.
If your friends have a real problem and they need your help is fine, but if they call you for all the small things they can actually do on their own, then you have a needy friend.
There are situations where they can solve the problem themselves but it would take too much time and/or effort, and your help is welcome. But you should be more careful if they call you for things they don’t want to do or deal with.
Read Also: Is Setting Boundaries Selfish?
2. They can’t make decisions on their own
Needy friends can sometimes come in the form of weaker friends who can’t make a decision on their own and always need your opinion, even when it’s something personal.
It’s easy not to realize that you have a needy friend in those situations since we always feel great when someone really wants our opinion, and they act accordingly. However, your friends should be able to decide for themselves since many times they know the situation better than you, and we all have different ways of dealing with our problems.
Even when it comes to choosing clothes to buy or to wear, it’s perfectly fine to need an opinion, but you should have the last word and not always change your mind because a friend has another opinion.
You should try to make this type of friend more independent, you can give them your opinion from time to time but always ask them how they see the situation, what they want to do and so on. Since a good friendship is one in which both parties feel equal to each other, check the article about power dynamics in friendship for more on that.
Read Also: Do Friendships Last Forever?
3. They always have a real problem
We all know those people who always have a problem, something is going wrong, and they need your help, even if it’s just the emotional help or your attention.
Life is not always like that, sometimes it is more boring, sometimes great things are happening in your life so you can hang out with your friends on a more positive note, just to share the good things, not always wanting their help.
In reality is more like this with real friends, since we tend to resolve our problems on our own and want to have a good time with our friends instead of complaining about our problems and expecting them to listen and even help us. You can share your problems more like a story rather than complaining about them if you want to talk about them but don’t want to make your friends feel like they need to help you.
In my article about bragging vs. sharing, you can see how much the intention behind what you say can change how people see you.
4. They come to you even if you don’t have expertise
We do this from time to time and think our friends might know something about the problem we have, but if your friends come to you with all their problems from different fields that you have 0 expertise in, you might have needy friends.
The difference here is that we can talk about our problems with our friends and the best case scenario we expect is that they will recommend someone knowledgeable to help us, but the problem is when your friends expect you to help them even if it is not your expertise.
5. Doesn’t accept hanging out with other people
A needy friend always wants all your attention, so they will not accept hanging out with other people or new friends as easily. Yea, sometimes keeping group friends separate might be a good idea, but it should be your idea, not your possessive friend’s idea.
They talk badly about most of your friends to discourage you from spending time with them, it can even be about your significant other since most of the time, hanging out with friends while in a relationship is not like before, and a needy friend will notice that first.
A healthy friendship is not based only on how much time you spend together but rather on the quality of time. Also, you should care about your friend’s happiness even if this doesn’t include you all the time.
If you feel good hanging out with more people and your friend insists on hanging out just you two, you might have a needy friend.
Should you stop hanging out with them when you realize it?
When it comes to needy friends, it might be a habit problem. If they are used to you helping them all the time and being there for them always when they have a problem, no matter how small it is, they might not realize they are needy.
The first thing you can do when you realize that you have a needy friend is to decide if you want to be friends going forward or not. Because if you decide that you want to stop that friendship, it might not be worth spending time trying to fix it.
You can fix a needy friendship in some cases, but it is not as easy since it is a change both of you should be willing to make, and rarely a needy friend rarely sees this as a problem, so they will not want to work on it as you want.
If you decide to fix the problem, you should have a discussion with your friend to let them know how you see the situation and what you expect from them. Be prepared for a slow process, an old habit doesn’t just disappear overnight, and if it does, if it’s forced or they feel guilty, they might not ask for your help even when they really need it.
So trying to fix a needy friendship is delicate and not as easy as some people might make it sound because we talk about emotional human beings that are not used to being criticized and make changes without going to extremes.
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I hope those five signs will help you spot the needy friends and decide how you want to handle that, fixing or getting rid of the friendship.
Don’t rush to make a decision, sometimes it is our fault when it comes to needy friends, so have this in mind and see if you were the one that enjoyed the fact that someone is relying on you as much.