How To Set Boundaries With An Emotionally Draining Friend 

Most of us all have “that friend” who always seems to be in a crisis or under emotional distress.

Maybe she’s the type that keeps you on the phone for hours, telling you all about her horrible boss or in-laws, never letting you speak a word.

Or perhaps she even stops over unannounced, leaving you utterly exhausted each time she takes up yet another hour – or three – of your time.

Regardless of which scenario best describes your friend, one thing is certain – you’ve got to set boundaries!

Loving someone doesn’t mean letting them have full access to your life on their terms.

So here are some ways to set boundaries with an emotionally draining friend.

Limit Your Communication

If she calls wanting to have an endless conversation, be up front and tell her you only have ten minutes – and then stick to your guns!

Even if she is carrying on, politely remind her you have to go – and hold your ground!

You can also reduce the number of interactions with her. For example, if you usually talk multiple times a week, then perhaps once a week – or even once every other week – is a better solution. 

Encourage Her To Expand Her Circles 

Maybe your friend has become too dependent on you because she doesn’t have any other friends she can confide in.

While it’s sweet she trusts you so much, this can create a co-dependent relationship.

Encourage your friend to pursue hobbies that interest her or consider getting involved with other moms or ladies from church.

As your friend begins to expand her circle, it will take the pressure off you.

Have An Honest Conversation

Some people are manipulative and know they are dominating a conversation, when others are truly clueless.

Have an honest conversation with your friend and let her know that you’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed with your interactions together.

Maybe even confessing that things aren’t so great in your life either – but that you never get a chance to share what’s going on because she’s always the one talking. 

Or even admit that you don’t seem to know how to help her, and suggest maybe she talk to someone who can help her because the same problems keep reoccurring. 

Setting boundaries always seems harsh at first – but it truly is the loving thing to do.

Let your friend know how much you do love and appreciate their friendship! 

But also be firm that you want to readjust the dynamic.

A mature person will understand and respond appropriately.  An emotionally immature or needy friend may throw a fit or cast the blame and accuse you of not caring. 

If your friend refuses to adjust or respect your boundaries, it might be time to end the friendship or put it on pause.

Have you ever dealt with an emotionally needy friend? If so, what were some ways you were able to set boundaries?

Please share with us in the comments below.

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