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Managing Clingy Friendships: Setting Boundaries and Maintaining Healthy Connections

If you're anything like me, you prefer straightforward communication via text or email and only necessary phone calls. While texting is my go-to, there are times when even that can feel overwhelming. Maybe you’ve experienced a similar situation where a friend’s constant messages and calls start to feel suffocating. If this sounds familiar, let’s explore how to handle this with grace and respect.

Recognize and Set Your Boundaries

Healthy boundaries are essential in any relationship. If a friend’s behavior feels overwhelming, it’s a sign that your boundaries are being crossed. Take some time to reflect on what makes you comfortable and what doesn’t.

Example: Instead of responding to every message immediately or feeling obligated to hang out every weekend, decide what feels manageable for you.

Communicating Boundaries: It’s crucial to communicate these boundaries to your friend. You might say, “I enjoy our conversations, but I need some personal time too. Can we limit our catch-ups to once a week?”

Use “I” Statements to Communicate Effectively

When discussing sensitive topics, using “I” statements can help convey your feelings without making the other person defensive. This approach focuses on your perspective and experiences rather than blaming the other person.

Example: Instead of saying, “You’re always texting me too much,” you could say, “I feel overwhelmed when I get a lot of messages because it’s hard for me to keep up.”

Understand Their Perspective

If your friend is clingy, there’s often a reason behind it. Maybe they’re going through a tough time or feeling particularly lonely. After expressing your boundaries, ask them how they’re doing and listen to their concerns.

Example: “I’ve noticed you’ve been reaching out a lot. Is everything okay? How are you feeling?”

Prepare for Discomfort

Discussing boundaries can be uncomfortable, and your friend might not take it well initially. It’s important to stay calm and remind yourself why you’re having this conversation. Healthy relationships are built on mutual respect and understanding.

Example: If your friend reacts negatively, calmly reiterate your need for space: “I understand this might be hard to hear, but I value our friendship and want it to be healthy for both of us.”

Maintain Healthy Relationships

Building and maintaining healthy relationships requires effort from both sides. If a friendship feels one-sided or draining, it’s important to address it. Sometimes, setting boundaries can strengthen the relationship, but other times, it may reveal that the friendship is not as healthy as you thought.

Example: A healthy friend will appreciate your honesty and respect your boundaries. If they don’t, it might be time to reconsider the relationship.


Navigating clingy friendships can be challenging, but it’s possible to set boundaries without damaging the relationship. Remember, the goal is to create connections that are enjoyable and fulfilling for both parties. By setting clear boundaries and communicating openly, you can foster deeper, more meaningful connections that stand the test of time.


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