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Friends and Family Everyone has disagreements, even best friends and family. If you need advice about a relationship, ask us here.

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Foresight Offline
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How to approach the issue of a clingy friend - September 23rd 2011, 10:31 PM

One of my friends is like this. We are on the same course and therefore are in all the same classes. She also lives near me and so that means that she gets on the same bus as me every day, sits beside me in every class and then when I go to talk to other people she hangs around and waits for me as if it is a requirement that I am going to automatically then go back home on the same bus as her after I have finished talking to whoever I am having a conversation with, rather than maybe hanging out with them. She is a nice person, but it is just too intense when she is there all the time. I feel like that I don't get any freedom to build other friendships as an individual.

I don't really know how to approach this either. As, she is not really friends with anyone else on the course and if I was to say something to her then she would be hurt and she would probably sit with and talk to the other couple of friends that I have (as those are the only other people she knows) and those are the friends that I would like to be able to spend more time with by myself. This would create tension with everyone concerned. It is really awkward as well as she waits at the same bus stop as me at the same time as we both need to be at classes for the same time. What this means, is that she is there right at the start of day and then stays by my side whatever I do and whoever I talk to for the rest of the day.

I am not the most extraverted person myself and so it is really important for me to try and work to create friendships myself and that just doesn't really happen that well when you are constantly part of a twosome.

What should I do?
   
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Re: How to approach the issue of a clingy friend - September 29th 2011, 11:40 PM

Hmm... I'm honestly not sure how I would handle the problem if I were in your shoes. I'm not sure there's a way to discourage your friend from being around you all the time without saying something directly. You could try a few subtle approaches, but if you just do something without saying anything to your friend, she may be offended and confused because you failed to explain your position properly.

I'll throw out a few ideas, and you may want to try each of them to see what's most effective with your friend:

1. Make observations.
Rather than saying, "Hey, you're being annoying, back off!" state your observations. "Hey, So-and-So! I noticed that you're always hanging around me when I'm talking to other people. I really appreciate that you want to spend time with me, but we already see each other so often as it is, and sometimes I want to spend time with other people. I don't know them as well as I know you, and I'd like to get to know them better." See what she has to say to that.

2. Encourage her.
As a follow-up to your observations, you could say something like, "I noticed you're always hanging out with me after class. Don't you ever want to find out more about our other classmates. Why don't you talk to So-and-So over there? Here, I'll introduce you!" You could guide her over to the other person, start a three-way conversation, then excuse yourself once things are going well and talk to someone else. The problem is that your friend could quickly stop talking, excuse herself, and re-join you while you're talking to another friend. You may have to do this several times before she gets the picture: you don't want her to hang out with you after class.

3. Be blunt.
Yeah, this isn't really a "nice" way of telling someone to leave you alone... but you CAN be blunt without being rude. Tell her that, by spending so much time with her, you're not really finding opportunities to meet other people in your class. Tell her that you want to have more one-on-one time with other people. Use observations and encouragement to lead her to the conclusion that she would be better off talking to other people while you are having a conversation with someone, vs. hovering around and waiting for you to join her at the bus stop.






   
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Re: How to approach the issue of a clingy friend - September 29th 2011, 11:56 PM

Hey,
I can understand that its frustrating for her to be around 24/7. However when you say:
Quote:
I don't really know how to approach this either. As, she is not really friends with anyone else on the course and if I was to say something to her then she would be hurt and she would probably sit with and talk to the other couple of friends that I have (as those are the only other people she knows) and those are the friends that I would like to be able to spend more time with by myself.
No offence but this sounds remarkably like 'these are MY friends and I don't want her talking to them'. Which is a little childish.. maybe it would be best to try to spend time as a group of 4 or whatever, but including her.. That way she might get to know your other friends better and the friendships would be more equal, so she wouldn't need to follow you around? The most likely explanation for clingyness is that she's insecure. If you make small changes like agreeing to sit next to someone else in certain classes, or making other friends on the bus, then it might bug you less without having to completely brush her off.
   
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