High-Maintenance Friendship

5 Ways to Handle a High-Maintenance Friendship or Family Without Going Crazy

Do you have a friendship or family relationship with someone who always needs something from you? Or maybe it’s someone who puts their own agenda and wants above yours? Don’t worry – we all do, at times. It’s natural for people to feel like they need that extra bit of caring and attention in order to function well. The trick, though, is knowing when to give help, how much to give and where the boundaries should be set so that your emotional energy isn’t being used up too quickly. We will how to handle a high-maintenance friendship or family relationship without losing your sanity along the way!

Taylor Smith

What is High Maintenance Friendship?

High-maintenance friendships are the kind of friendships that require a great deal more attention than other kinds of relationships. It is often characterized by frequent communication, such as texting and calling, and usually involves someone who needs more emotional support than the average person. This type of friendship can be draining for both parties and lead to resentment if not appropriately managed.

A high-maintenance friend may require you to be available at all times, even when it’s inconvenient or uncomfortable. They may also expect you to advise them on their problems or listen to long, drawn-out stories about their lives without expecting anything in return. They may also demand your time or resources without considering their feasibility. They may need help with boundaries, causing them to overstep without considering how it impacts their life or comfort levels.

Signs of High Maintenance Friendship/Friend

A high-maintenance friendship or family relationship can be difficult to identify. Here are some signs that may indicate you’re in one:

Harli Marten

Unrealistic Expectations

High-maintenance friendships often have unrealistic expectations built into them. These may include an expectation that a friend will be available at all times or that they will always prioritize the needs of their high-maintenance friend over their own. 

No Boundaries

Friendships that are high maintenance may need more boundaries or respect for personal space. This can mean that these friends may frequently intrude on their other friends’ personal life and time without considering what those people want or need. They may expect always to be prioritized and make it difficult for other relationships to exist in the same space as theirs. 

Excessive Neediness

Another characteristic of a high-maintenance friendship is excessive neediness from one party. This can manifest in constant calls and messages even when the other friend has indicated they don’t have time or energy to devote to them. 

Drama Seeking

High-maintenance friendships often involve drama-seeking tendencies from one party as well. This can mean making up stories about situations that never occurred to draw more attention to themselves or exaggerating details about everyday experiences to keep conversations going longer than necessary. 

More: 5 Steps to Manage Your Goals & Time Commitment – Stick At It!

Pros & Cons of High Maintenance Friendships 

The beneficial aspect of having a high-maintenance friendship is the increased trust between the two. A strong sense of confidence encourages honest communication and open dialogue, which leads to greater understanding between friends and creates an environment where individuals can feel safe being vulnerable with one another. 

High maintenance allows the ability of each friend to help support one other through tough times or difficult situations. The right level of commitment and effort invested into the friendship can provide stability and security when other supports are unavailable or insufficient. 

The primary downside to having a high-maintenance friendship is that it requires more work than other types of relationships in managing expectations and providing emotional support when needed. If one friend isn’t willing or able to put in the extra effort required, it can lead to resentment on both sides, which may eventually cause conflict.

7 Ways to Handle a High-Maintenance Friendship 

The challenges of a high-maintenance friendship can be both emotional and practical. One person may feel overwhelmed by the demands of the relationship and the expectations of their friend, leaving them drained and anxious. Practically speaking, this type of friendship can be challenging to maintain because it requires immense effort and energy to keep up with it.

Duy Pham

Here are some ways to handle a high-maintenance friendship effectively:

Communicating Openly and Honestly About Expectations and Boundaries 

When handling a high-maintenance friendship, the first step is communicating your expectations and boundaries openly and honestly. Be upfront with the other person about what you need from your company and what you are willing to give. 

Discuss topics such as how often you will communicate with each other, how much time you are ready to commit, and any expectations that need to be discussed. Help define the friendship’s limits and ensure everyone’s needs are met. 

Setting Limits and Boundaries

Setting limits helps keep both parties accountable for their actions and ensures that each individual’s needs are respected. Set up regular check-ins between both parties so that progress can be monitored or issues can be addressed if necessary. 

Stick to these limits, as this will help create a healthy relationship dynamic where both parties feel comfortable expressing themselves without crossing into unhealthy territory. 

Focusing on the Positive Aspects of the Friendship

In any relationship, it is helpful to focus on the positive aspects of the relationship rather than get bogged down in negativity or power struggles. In a high-maintenance friendship, focusing on the good things will help remind both parties why they chose to invest in this relationship in the first place. For example, brainstorming fun activities or discussing shared values can help increase feelings of connection between two people who may otherwise feel disconnected due to conflicting needs or expectations within their friendship.  

Prioritizing Self-Care and Seeking Support From Other Relationships 

It is vital for anyone engaging in a high-maintenance friendship to prioritize self-care by taking breaks from their friend when needed to recharge their energy levels or reevaluate their situation if required. 

Seeking out support from other relationships can provide an outside perspective that may be beneficial when discussing complex topics with your friend or managing disagreements within your friendship. Having someone else there for emotional support during challenging times can make navigating your way through uncomfortable conversations much more manageable. 

Reevaluating The Friendship If It Becomes Consistently Unhealthy Or Draining 

Finally, suppose a high-maintenance friendship becomes consistently unhealthy or draining. In that case, it is necessary for both parties involved to consider reevaluating their relationship to reach a healthier balance between them moving forward. This could include establishing new boundaries based on different needs within either party’s lifestyle at present. Ultimately, creating an agreement that works best for everyone involved should always take priority when managing any long-term close relationship, including friendships like this one.

Offer Support When Necessary

While it may seem like too much effort at times, providing emotional support for your friend can benefit both of you in the long run by creating an atmosphere of mutual understanding and respect within the relationship. Show empathy by listening without judgment whenever your friend feels overwhelmed or needs advice on handling specific issues causing them distress. 

Take Time For Yourself

Remember that a relationship that demands a lot of attention can drain you sometimes, so make sure to take care of yourself and clear your mind. Dedicating even a few hours each week away from this person can help restore balance by providing adequate space for personal growth without feeling obligated or pressured into always being available for them at all times of the day.

More: How to Focus on Reading in 5 Steps

Challenges That Stand in Your Way in Avoiding High Maintenance Friendship

Maintaining a sincere connection with a high-maintenance friend can be pretty challenging, and it is essential to remember that it is okay to draw boundaries, as guarding your energy and keeping your peace of mind should always come first.

Priscilla Du Preez

Fear of Being Unkind to a Friend 

High-maintenance friends can often be tricky to deal with. For example, they may take offence at any boundary you set and make you feel guilty if you don’t give them the attention they expect. This leads many people to worry that they are being unkind or uncaring towards their friends by putting limits on their friendship. As such, it can be difficult for someone to avoid becoming involved with a high-maintenance friend or setting boundaries in an existing one. 

Guilt Over Not Giving Enough 

Although it is important to practice self-care and establish healthy boundaries in relationships, some people may feel guilty about not giving enough when helping a struggling friend. It can also be hard for someone to prioritize their own needs over those of their friend when the latter is going through a difficult time. As such, this guilt can prevent them from avoiding high-maintenance friendships or setting proper boundaries.  

Feeling Powerless to Change Their Behavior 

High-maintenance friends may seem intimidating sometimes, mainly if they use emotional manipulation tactics to get what they want from others. Furthermore, it can be challenging for someone to confront a manipulative person about their behaviour if this individual has been part of their life for an extended period. Feeling helpless about changing the situation can prevent people from avoiding high-maintenance friendships and establishing proper boundaries. 

Unconscious Needs Keeping Them Connected 

Though there are clear negative consequences associated with high-maintenance friendships, some individuals may continue to stay connected with them due to unconscious needs they have developed over time. These needs could come from past experiences that have caused them to feel emotionally insecure or unsafe, leading them to rely on their relationship with their high-maintenance friend as a source of stability and comfort in times of distress. Unless these underlying issues are addressed, one will find it easier to avoid and limit the relationship accordingly.