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Energy Draining Friend

Question:

I have a friend who is draining me of all my energy. Is it possible to remain friends but have less contact without hurting their feelings. Please help.

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
  • ‘Anne’ bases her responses on her personal experiences and not on professional training or study. She does not represent herself to be a psychologist, therapist, counselor or professional helper of any sort. Her responses are offered from the perspective of a friend or mentor only.
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Answer:

You’ve got an unbalanced situation here. You are finding that your friend is too needy and you are wanting to withdraw from your friend. You haven’t told your friend this yet. If you are very good at hiding your feelings from others your friend may not know your desire to withdraw yet. If you aren’t very good at hiding your feelings, he or she may have already picked up on your lack of enthusiasm for getting together and may be frightened by this. I don’t think the situation is likely to get any better by your avoiding talking about it with your friend. I do think that you ought to speak about how you feel openly. First, figure out whether you still like this person at all, or if you are really just wanting to move on and not see him or her at all any more. It is okay if you both like your friend very much and want to avoid your friend very much at the same time. This can occur when you like your friend (as a human being and person) and hate how he or she is acting towards you and him- or herself. Once you have some handle on your feelings, set a time and discuss what you are feeling with your friend. This may be scary for you and for your friend. However, I believe you will find that a sense of relief comes over both of you when the air is clear and you are in each other’s confidence again. Feelings may be hurt, but it will likely be healthier for the relationship overall if you do have this conversation. Good Luck, – Anne

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