Self-focused friend grows needier

A friend's marital troubles have led to her becoming even needier than normal. There are healthy ways to help, Carolyn Hax notes.



May 11, 2023 - 1:34 PM

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Dear Carolyn: I’ve been friends with “Susan” for 10-plus years. She’s always seemed a little self-focused, but overall, the relationship has been satisfying. Now she’s going through a marital crisis and for more than a year now has been leaning on me for moral support. Having gone through divorce myself years ago, I can truly empathize with needing to lean on friends. I lost a couple of friends when I went through this, and, looking back, I can understand why.

I’m feeling increasingly impatient with Susan’s neediness, though, and I respond to her only out of guilt. I’d really like to see her once a week at most. But I don’t know whether I should just bite the bullet and keep spending more time with her, because I understand how much she needs her friends — or if not, how to gently back off so that I don’t wound her further in her fragile time. Any suggestions?

— Impatient

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