March 4, 2015

How Do I Stop Being Clingy?

I'm always giving advice and opinions but this time, it is I who needs a little help. Ok...Little known fact: I'm a clingy person, I admit it. That's the first step, right? I just figured out this trait of mine within the last few months. I don't think I've always been this way, it might be a rather recent development and I don't like it. Maybe it's not new, maybe it's just something I've only recently noticed...Whatever the case may be, I don't like it.

Actually, thinking back on it, I have always been this way. I'm not clingy with *everyone*, in fact there's not a lot of people that I'm clingy with. I'm only clingy with people I feel super comfortable around and I feel that they are super comfortable with me. And it has to be someone I have an interest in or connection with. Those kinds of people are few and far between so when it does happen, it's exciting.

When I was a child, I had a cousin who was like a sister to me. She lived about an hour or so away from my family and I. She spent the school year at home and spent holidays and summers with us. This started when I was about 3 or 4, and the hardest part was not sharing my toys or sharing playtime with my brother, it was letting go. Every time she would have to leave I'd get really sad. Once she got out of the car and said goodbye I would burst out into tears and couldn't stop crying. I didn't understand why it was not a big deal for my family. No one else cried, no one else seemed as sad as I was. It took me years to stop crying after she would go home, and even sometime after I stopped visibly crying, internally I still cried.

I didn't know it then but I was very attached her. She was my sister and best friend while she lived with us, so of course I was attached. I think that was the ultimate supreme level of being clingy though. With my friends it's sort of similar but not so dramatic. If I like someone as a friend and I feel that they like me too, and we have lots in common, I'm hooked.

I googled 'how to stop being clingy' for some answers and a lot of the results did not pertain to me. It seems that many of the articles put confidence and clingy-ness in the same category. People who are not confident and have low self-esteem seem to be more clingy than those who are confident. I don't think my clingy-ness has anything to do with my confidence or self-esteem. I'm also not the type of person that doesn't get it when someone doesn't want to be bothered. I've very good at perceiving emotions, body language, and context clues, I don't chase and I'm not oblivious to those kinds of things. I think my clingy-ness relates to my need to connect deeply with the people I care about.
It relates more to my INFP personality than anything.

Sad thing is that most people aren't like me, most people can easily detach from people and think nothing of it. When I find someone where the connection is mutual, I latch on to them. It actually sounds worse than it is. It's not often that I want to engage with people, so when I do find someone engaging I want to keep that connection,build trust, and understanding. Some people have lots of friends because they can simply pull the plug and move on to the next person, it's no big deal to them, but of course it's the opposite for me.

Are clingy people always visibly clingy? Since I know I'm clingy I try my damnedest to NOT appear so. I don't think many people know that I'm clingy because I try so hard to keep it under wraps. I try to act uninterested and unbothered but in my mind I'm screaming "Spend time with me, talk to me, listen to me, relate to meeeee." Oddly enough, I'm not a jealous clingy person as long as our friendship is the same it definitely doesn't bother me for my friends to have other friends. If I notice that our friendship changes then I do find it easier to back away, because the strong connection isn't there anymore. In romantic relationships, it's the same. If he doesn't seem interested and the connection turns weak, it's easier for me to move along.

My best friend in high school was the thin, outspoken, outgoing version of me. Once we clicked, we were inseparable, I'd never met someone so much like the 'inner me'. We exchanged numbers and the first time we talked it lasted about 3 hrs. At that age, I hated talking on the phone but that was the best phone conversation ever. A couple weeks went by and since her phone was pre-paid she had depleted its minutes. We would talk sparingly, maybe once a week, which was fine because I saw her at school everyday. After a couple years she transfers to a new school and the calls dwindle to maybe twice every few months. I missed our friendship and our closeness, but to her the distance didn't make a difference. Anytime she'd call, it was like picking up where we left off, which was great, but I felt strain where she didn't.

I wrote this because today I felt sort of offended that someone that I'm friends with didn't interact with me like normal. There's more to the story than just that, but you guys don't need to really know the tea. Anyway, I'm trying hard to detach myself from this friendship and friendships in general because I don't like this feeling. When I say 'detach' I don't mean to end or sever ties, I just mean to loosen or unlatch myself from holding on so tightly. I don't like other people controlling my emotions. Or in other words, I just don't like feeling so dependent on anyone as a source of my happiness. Other people don't see what I feel, so it's not their fault. I know, It's complicated, huh? It was so much easier when I didn't have friends.

Also, sometimes because I don't want people to know that I'm clingy, I get used. I don't like initiating things so I always wait for the other person to start things up. People will talk to me or hang out with me when THEY want to talk to me/hang out with me. I'm so receptive and even if I don't have time, I make time for the people I really like. On the other hand, I'm not so sure they do the same for me.

I don't like attention but I like attention from people I care about, because I put so much into caring about them, I give everything, 100% nothing less. I like being the listener, but sometimes I want to be heard...But I just don't want to seem clingy because I am clingy. Is that crazy?! The question of my lifetime...


  1. Since you recognize that you are being "clingy" I am sure that you can figure out ways not to be that way as well. I used to be very clingy when I was younger and I slowly grew out of it. That doesn't mean that it doesn't happen at times but it does not happen as often. I wish you the best darling.

  2. I'm an INTP too. What you wrote I can relate a lot to as well. I know I'm clingy but I don't want people to know that. Clingy people are perceived as annoying and I spent so much time trying to not be annoying. Along the way I got sick of it. I realized that there are always people who are going to judge you because you're too clingy or annoying, but I needed to move on from trying to get other people's recognition and just try to be happy with who I am. Trying to be someone I wasn't really lowered my self esteem. Thank you for your post.