A high-maintenance friend demands a lot of attention and always has some drama in her life. And unfortunately, you get dragged along in some way. It can be through long phone calls, meetups or unplanned visits that may be overwhelming and draining.
But how can you do this without making them feel like they burden you?
Psychotherapist Mary Jo Rapini says high-maintenance friends may have abandonment issues, so you have to be careful how to approach the situation.
"These energy vampires always need you most when you're busy or have an important project. Even when you warn them about your busy schedule, they often ignore your needs and steamroll over your priorities in order to address their own needs," she says.
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She shares 5 ways to handle a high-maintenance friend:
Set boundaries. High-maintenance people don't like boundaries and are not used to them being set. For your sanity, set boundaries and be very direct about what you can and cannot give them.
Plan for a little drama when setting boundaries. High-maintenance people aren't told "no" often. A lot of people won't stand up to them. They will ignore them or talk behind their back. So if you take that stance of being transparent and honest and saying "no", they will fight back.
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Proactively schedule meetups. If you initiate a get-together, it will ease your high-maintenance friend's anxiety. A motivating force for some high-maintenance people is their underlying abandonment issues, often created by their demands of others.
Care for your own needs. High-maintenance people induce high-stress levels. If you live with this person, see them often, or work with them, it's especially important to practice decompressing regularly.
Tag team with others affected by the high-maintenance person. High-maintenance people affect many people. Don't let the burden of this person fall solely on your shoulders. Whether they're co-workers, friends, or siblings, share the emotional burden with others they unload on.