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My Friend Latches onto People

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From Gibraltar: Hi, my friend has always been the type of person who likes to latch onto people but only ever one person at a time. She goes through phases with people where she will focus her entire attention on that one person even in our large friendship group she will most likely latch onto that one person. She gets extremely jealous when that person tries to hang out with someone else or even the rest of the group. It’s not a serious issue but she gets aggressive when the person tries to detach herself from her and usually then moves on to someone else. At one point I was the person she latched onto and she’s call me all the time and expect me to meet up with her everyday to tell her everything I’ve been doing. She’d get upset with me when I made other plans without her and she’d even get upset when she wasn’t invited to my family celebrations. Is there something wrong with her?

My Friend Latches onto People

Answered by on -

A.

I can’t responsibly answer your question without talking with your friend directly. I can only make some general guesses.

There are several reasons why a person might act this way. She may be terribly insecure and need an exclusive friend to hold onto to feel okay. In that case, therapy could help her develop a stronger self-esteem and more inner security. She may lack the skills for managing multiple friendships — in which case she needs some help to learn more about social relationships. Or she may have Borderline Personality Disorder, in which case she would benefit from Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Or it might be something else.

If you are interested in helping your friend and she is open to it, you could suggest that she see a therapist for an evaluation and some help. Running through one friendship after another must be painful for her.

It might be helpful to you to think about whether you could have done anything differently to avoid getting pulled into such a one-sided relationship so you don’t make the same mistake again. If this is a pattern for you, some therapy might be helpful for you as well.

I wish you well,
Dr. Marie

My Friend Latches onto People

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). My Friend Latches onto People. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 16, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/02/17/my-friend-latches-onto-people/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.