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How to Be Less Clingy

Three Methods:Work on YourselfManage Your RelationshipsLive a More Fulfilling Life

Knowing that you're clingy is the first step to improving your behavior. If you're clingy, then you're the kind of person who gets obsessed with a new person the moment you meet, whether you're making friends or dating. After that, you're likely to call the person constantly, ask to hang out all the time, and feel sad or abandoned if you have to spend some time alone. If you've exhibited some of this behavior, or if the people in your life have asked you to give them space, then you need to work on improving yourself and your approach to relationships so you can be less clingy. If you want to know how to do it, just follow these steps.

Method 1
Work on Yourself

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    Build your confidence. A lot of people are clingy because they are unhappy with who they are and feel insecure about being alone, being left behind, or being ignored. Clingy people can even become overly paranoid that people are hanging out without them because they think that nobody may really like them in the end. Get over these feelings and work on loving who you are. If you're confident, then you won't be obsessed with people leaving you and will be less clingy.
    • Think of at least three things that make you special. Learn to love yourself.
    • Take pleasure in being good at something, whether it's running, the hard work you do, or your ability to make people laugh.
    • Have the body language of a confident person. Stand tall with your arms away from your chest, and smile as much as you can.
    • Work on addressing your flaws. Everyone has flaws, and addressing them will make you feel better about yourself.
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    Work on your trust issues. Many people are clingy because they have trust issues, whether they stem from feeling abandoned as a child, being ditched by a former best friend, or even being cheated on by a former significant other. These causes must have been very painful, but you need to learn that you should approach each new relationship on its own terms, and that the past cannot dictate the present.
    • Learn to let go of the people or situations that hurt you in the past, and look toward building a better, healthier future of fulfilling relationships.
    • Tell yourself that clinging to people is not the way to make them be more loyal to you -- in fact, clinging to someone is much more likely to push him or her away.
    • Don't be frustrated with yourself. You can't resolve all of your trust issues overnight -- but you can take baby steps that make you feel more open to trusting people without being by their side all the time.
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    Ease your anxiety. A lot of clingy behavior is rooted in anxiety -- you may be anxious about being alone forever, anxious about not having a best friend, or anxious that people are laughing at you behind your back the second you leave the room. You may also just be anxious about trying to navigate multiple or new relationships, so you stick to the person or few people that you know well to deal with your fear of the unknown.
    • A lot of anxiety is mixed with stress -- you may be feeling anxious because your world is so crazy and busy and you have so much on your plate that you feel like you can't handle it on your own. Take some steps to reduce stress, like meditating, doing yoga, and maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, and see if you feel less anxious.
    • Before you walk into a room full of people, just take a few deep breaths. Tell yourself that it's okay to talk to new people and to branch out instead of being glued to the person you're with.
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    Talk to someone. If you feel so clingy that you're dependent on your mother's, boyfriend's, or best friend's every move, then you may need to talk to someone about your problem. You can start by opening up to a close friend, significant other, or family member about your problems. If you feel out of control, you can talk to a doctor or therapist and see if your problems are linked to an anxiety disorder or depression.
    • Talking to someone can help you look for the root causes of your clingy nature. There are many reasons for being clingy -- maybe you grew up in a house full of rambunctious siblings and were fighting a losing battle for attention, or maybe you ended a relationship with a loved one because you weren't invested enough and are over correcting.

Method 2
Manage Your Relationships

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    Give people space. Giving people space is the best way to maintain a healthy relationship. Whether you're giving your best friend or boyfriend some breathing room, you should know that being apart from someone will actually make that person appreciate you more when you do come together. If you're with a person all the time, it's only natural that you'll get sick of each other because you don't have any time to miss each other or to report back with any interesting things that happened when you are apart.
    • Give people space in your communication. Don't constantly text, call, or just "show up" to hang out with a person. This can be annoying and even rude. Make sure the person you're calling also calls you.
    • Don't smother people. If you smother someone, then you're always around, and asking about every little detail of that person's day without giving him a chance to do anything on his own.
    • Try spend at least three times as much time away from a person as you do with him. Even if you're so madly in love that you can't keep your hands off your new man, know that this feeling can't last forever.
    • Enjoy pursuing your interests when you're not with the person or people you want to hang out with. Don't look at it as just "killing time" until you can hang out with that person again.
    • Learn to read the signs. If a person needs some alone time, he or she may not be answering your calls as often, withdrawing when you're together, or saying that he's having a really busy week. Don't try to be around even more if this happens, but give the person some breathing room.
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    Take it slow when you meet someone new. A lot of clingy people immediately latch on to a new person, whether it's a new person or someone they've had just one or two dates with. This is a defense mechanism that says you're afraid that the person doesn't return your affection and will let you go if you're not as aggressive as possible. Just take it easy and relax with a new person, trying not to hang out with him or her more than once a week.
    • If you start planning your entire social schedule around a new person, you'll be likely to scare him or her off.
    • Don't immediately open up and talk about how you've been looking for a new friend, boyfriend, or girlfriend -- this will scare the person off.
    • Don't initiate every hangout with the new person. Make sure there's a balance and that you both try to hang out equally.
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    Don't baby anyone. A lot of clingy people think that people need them to take care of them and hang around trying to help people or give advice to people who don't really need it. Sometimes people will need your help, but don't take on a motherly role with everyone you meet, thinking that a person's life won't be complete without all of your attention and advice.
    • If people need your help, they'll ask for it most of the time, so don't assume that people always need you to take care of them.
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    Watch your body language. Even your body language can overwhelm people and make you feel like you're trying a little too hard to be in their personal space. If you're with a friend, don't stand too close, give too many hugs or touches, or play with that friend's hair or accessories, or you may smother her.
    • If you're with a significant other, cuddling and kissing is nice, but if you have to hold hands 100% of the time and be glued to the person at parties or social events, then you'll be coming on too strong.
    • Though you should give your attention to the person you're talking to, don't corner the person, maintain intense eye contact, and keep the person from talking to other people.
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    Don't get taken for granted. One of the downfalls of being clingy is that you'll get taken for granted. Clingy people can be taken for granted because they are always around -- if you're clingy, your friend or boyfriend knows that you'll appear to help or hangout in the blink of an eye. If you don't want to get taken for granted, make sure you're not always around or available.
    • Make it clear that you have other people in your social network -- mention hanging out with them and don't spend all of your time with the person you're clinging to.
    • Mention other things that take up your time, whether it's a project at school, your club soccer team, or planning your mother's birthday party. Let people know that you're busy and have to fit them into your schedule, not rearrange your life so you can see that person.
    • Though you shouldn't blow off your friends, don't answer your phone instantly or respond to a text or Facebook message within seconds, or you'll look like you have nothing better to do.
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    Enjoy keeping a healthy distance. Once you learn to stop being clingy, you'll actually love maintaining a healthy distance from the people you love. This will give you a time to work out your own issues, pursue your own interests and goals, and truly appreciate the person when you do hang out. Having a busy and interesting life should make you feel much better than spending all of your time with one person without anything else going on.
    • Take pleasure in maintaining several or even many wonderful relationships without spending your time obsessing over just one person.
    • Check in with people once in a while. Don't be afraid to ask, "I'm not overwhelming you too much this week, am I?" Once you're aware of your tendency to cling, you'll be much better at avoiding it.
    • Think about how much more you love yourself now that you know how to be alone and to do the things you really love without company. Being a person who is comfortable being alone will also naturally draw more people towards you.

Method 3
Live a More Fulfilling Life

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    Pursue your own interests. The easiest way to stop being clingy is to lead a busy and exciting life that is full of things to look forward to. If you don't have a whole lot going on for yourself, it'll be much easier for you to want to spend all of your time with your boyfriend or best friend. If your life is filled with exciting and rewarding activities, you'll be much less likely to be clingy. Here are some things to try:
    • Find your passion. You may have a love for photography, yoga, or the piano that you never even knew you had. Don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone to try something new that could end up filling a lot of your hours.
    • Find a fun form of exercise. Whether you're running, mountain biking, or taking a kickboxing class, find something that lets you release your extra energy and feel good about yourself in the process. If you take an exercise class, commit to going at least two or three times a week, so you create a new routine that doesn't involve depending on other people.
    • Devote a few hours a week to your favorite hobby. Whether you love writing songs or poetry, gardening, or making jewelry, make sure to spend at least a few hours on this each week. Not only will you feel accomplished for doing something you love, but you'll enjoy being on your own more.
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    Pursue your own goals. Pursuing your own goals is just as important as pursuing your own interests when it comes to not being clingy. Pursuing your own goals will help you focus on your own short and long term dreams and will keep you focused on what's ahead for you -- not for your best friend or sister. No matter how old you are, you should have some short and long term goals that keep you driven and thinking about yourself.
    • Set some short-term goals. This can be as simple as training for a 5K or finally finishing War and Peace. You can write down the target dates for these goals in your planner to keep you motivated.
    • Make a plan for achieving your long-term goals. Whether you want to graduate college with a 3.8 GPA, get a promotion at work, or write a novel, make a plan for making your dreams come true. This will give you plenty to think about other than what your boyfriend is up to every night.
    • Write about your goals in a journal. Journals can help you be in touch with who you are and what a good future will look like for you. This will make you be focused on what's important to you.
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    Expand your social network. This is another excellent way to be less clingy. You're much more likely to be clingy if you only have two friends or if your boyfriend is your only real friend in town. The more people in your social network, the richer your social experience will be, and the less likely you'll be to focus all of your attention on what just one person is up to. Here's how you can expand your social network:
    • You don't have to have ten best friends to expand your network. Just ask a more casual friend out for coffee, or even turn an acquaintance into a friend.
    • Be friendlier with your coworkers or the students in your classes. This can turn into a friendship, or it can just give you something to do. Even if you're just going to happy hour with your coworkers twice a month, you'll still be expanding your social network.
    • Get in touch with old friends. Maybe you've brushed some old friends aside because you were so busy being focused on one person. Get back in touch with those people and apologize for falling off the grid.
    • Don't be afraid to make a friend date. If you really click with a girl at a party, ask her if she wants to try a class at your yoga studio or to grab a glass of wine some time.
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    Learn to like being alone. Many clingy people prefer to spend 99% of their time with other people. Wanting to always hang out with other people will make it particularly hard for you to be alone. Enjoying your "me time" is an important way to build confidence, find what makes you happy, and just to decompress and spend time away from other people. Here are some ways to like being alone:
    • Go for long walks. This is not only healthy but will help you get in touch with your thoughts.
    • Find a love for reading. Reading is not only entertaining and educational, but a book can be a perfect companion.
    • Redecorate. Redecorating your own space can make you more in touch with what appeals to you and can make you more excited to spend time in your space.
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    Volunteer. Volunteering is not only a great way to help out in your community, but it can make you feel needed and useful, instead of being needy. Find a way to help out in your local soup kitchen, clean up a park, or teach people to learn to read at the local library.
    • Once you find a volunteering activity that appeals to you, you should commit to doing it at least once or twice a week. This is another way to maintain a busy and fulfilling schedule without depending on others.
    • Volunteering can also help you expand your social network. You can find another fellow volunteer that you really click with and can start a new friendship.


  • Allow "hearts to grow closer" through absence. Every person in your life is important and so you are to them. And the more space you grant each person, the fonder they will be of you because you're not in their pockets all the time. Importantly, they're not in your pocket all the time either, so you can be liberated from feeling suffocated by others because you're setting an obvious standard to them that you expect space to form a part of your relationships with others.
  • Spot the signs of your own clinging behavior. You will see irritation and frustration relayed back to you from the people you're targeting. Don't be tempted to manipulate that against them; instead, use it as a mirror of your own behavior and find other ways to interact with these people, giving them space and finding your own ways of coping.
  • If you're with a clingy person, suggest separate activities that play to the other person's interests and strengths. Help them gradually realize that they are better off pursuing the things they enjoy doing with other people or by themselves when it's not an interest of your own. Help ease the transition by combining separate activities with at least one shared activity to balance out the change in approach to your relationship.
  • If you're dependent on other people for important things like going out of the house, basic self care and the like, look honestly at why. It may be agoraphobia or other mental illness. Seek treatment, mental illness is as real and debilitating as physical illness. Likewise if you need help for physical reasons, it's not clinginess to need help. Instead, seek to broaden your support network and explore what services may be available to get a professional to do the things you can't do on your own.


  • Long-term clinginess loses friends and other people's patience wears thin in any kind of relationship. After a time, even the most patient person recognizes helplessness-as-manipulation when it's always targeted at them.

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