We all have that one friend who always seems to need a shoulder to cry on, who calls us in the middle of the night to vent about their latest relationship drama, and who always wants to know every last detail about our lives. While it’s flattering to be someone’s go-to person, sometimes this level of dependency can be a little bit much. If you’re not careful, you might find yourself in an emotionally draining codependent friendship.
In this blog post, we’ll show you seven ways to deal with a codependent friend.
What Is a Codependent Friendship?
A codependent friendship is one where one person is excessively dependent on the other for emotional support and validation. This often leads to an imbalanced relationship where the codependent friend is always the one giving, while the other friend is always taking.
Furthermore, a codependent friendship can be damaging to both parties involved. The codependent friend might start to feel used and taken advantage of, while the other friend might start to feel suffocated by the constant neediness.
If you’re starting to feel like your friendship is becoming codependent, here are seven ways to deal with the situation:
7 Ways To Deal With a Codependent Friend
1. Understand what codependency looks like
The first step in dealing with a codependent friend is understanding what codependency looks like. Codependency is when someone is excessively reliant on another person for their emotional needs.
Codependent people often have difficulty setting boundaries and may feel responsible for the other person’s wellbeing. If you think your friend may be codependent, look out for these signs
2. Talk to your friend about your concerns
If you think your friend may be codependent, it’s important to talk to them about your concerns. You might say something like, “I’ve noticed that you always seem to need my help. I’m happy to help when I can, but I also need time for myself.”
It’s important to be honest with your friend and explain how their behavior is affecting you. They may not be aware of how their actions are coming across.
3. Set boundaries with your friend
It’s also important to set boundaries with a dependent person. This means learning to say no and setting limits on what you’re willing to do for them.
For example, if your friend always asks you for money but never repays you, you might say no the next time they ask. If they become angry or upset, explain calmly that you’re not going to lend them money anymore because it’s not fair to you. It’s okay to put yourself first sometimes!
4. Encourage your friend to seek professional help.
If your friend is truly struggling with codependency, they may need more help than you can provide on your own. There are many professionals who specialize in helping people with codependency issues. Encourage your friend to seek out this kind of help if they are willing and able to do so.
5. Take care of yourself
It’s also important to take care of yourself emotionally when you’re dealing with a codependent friend.
This can be a draining and frustrating experience, so make sure to give yourself time to relax and recharge. Spend time with other friends, pursue your hobbies, and do things that make you happy. Don’t forget to take care of yourself!
6. Try gradually pulling away from the friendship
If you’ve tried all of the above and your friend still isn’t making any progress, you may need to consider gradually pulling away from the friendship. This can be a difficult decision to make, but sometimes it’s necessary for your own wellbeing.
If you think this is the best course of action, explain your decision to your friend and then take some space for yourself. This doesn’t mean you have to completely cut off contact, but you might want to take a break from spending so much time together.
7. Know when to end the friendship
In some cases, it may be necessary to end the friendship altogether. This is a difficult decision to make, but it may be the best thing for both of you in the long run.
If your friend is unwilling or unable to seek help for their codependency, if they refuse to set boundaries, or if their behavior is negatively impacting your life, it may be time to let them go.
Dealing with a codependent friend can be difficult, but it’s important to remember that you’re not responsible for their wellbeing. Ultimately, it’s up to them to make the decision to seek help and make changes in their lives. Just do your best to take care of yourself and set boundaries as needed.