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Ed Johnson
Ed Johnson, Consultant
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 10760
Experience:  USC, BS Psych & Soc.; Transactional Analaysis; U.S. A. D&A Counseling, Family Advocacy, Anger Mngmnt
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i have a friend who needs a lot of attention and is always

Resolved Question:

i have a friend who needs a lot of attention and is always in crisis (I've known her for over a decade). I feel like she drags me down and yet feel guilty pushing her away since she pulls: "I am lonely and no one cares' card.. What do I do? Do you have a script for me? I am very tired
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Ed Johnson replied 8 years ago.

Dear Vera,

 

This is a classic games people play kind of scene.

 

how do you respond to her now? Tell me more?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
well, i have my moments...sometimes i just talk to her for too long (even if i am at work and clearly told her that i am busy) - then I have to stay late and feel really emotionally drained...

Sometimes i don't answer her calls as often and then (and even if I do), she would say things like: 'too bad everyone is too busy for me!.'..you just don't care' etc..her basket never seems to be full....and i am guilted into these since i have a hard time leaving a friend stranded..her family doesn't speak with her..she broke up with her fiancee..sometimes i feel that this is her only outlet - although by choice no doubt. she is almost 30 and always have had issues and is pretty negative, even when her life is going well...


Expert:  Ed Johnson replied 8 years ago.

Dear Vera,

 

Thank you for the additional information.

 

So from my perspective, she hooks you with the guilt, as you have already noted.

 

So you seem to recognize that her problems are not your problems, and when she comes to you, it creates negativity for you.

 

So the question is, how do you deflect that.

 

I assume you want to remain friends with this person. YOu must connect on some level that resembles friendship, when she is not behaving in this way.

 

So try this next time she calls.

 

Tell her: Listen, hon, I really want to hear what you have to say. Can you call me back at, give time and say, I can give you my undivided attention for 20 minutes. Then be prepared to hold her too it.

 

When she calls, do not engage her, but listen, and only listen. Just let her speak. Sometimes when we engage people, we encourage them by feeding back to them too much. But simply holding the space for them to talk is good. If they ask, keep your answers non-committal, and short.

 

For example: If she asks, are you listening; simply say, I hear you. tell me more.

If she asks: what do you think? simply say things like:

 

--I think you are hurt?

--It sounds like you really loved him

--I am not sure, why don't you tell me what you think

 

Keep your eye on the time. when you get 5 minutes out, say something like. Look hon, I really know you need me right now, but I only have 5 minutes left, oK.

 

Then when the time is up, say something like: Look hon, I know how you are hurting right now. Lets talk more tomorrow, but for now, I have to go. How about calling me at give time tomorrow. Ok take it easy, I know you will be alright.

 

This script may not work exactly like this, because I can not predict how it will go from her side.

 

It may be helpful somewhere along the line to tactfully refer her to a relationship counselor. For this type of situation I recommend Transactional Analysis professionals.

 

If you give me your state, I can get you connected.

 

 

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