I am an extravert whose love language is quality time. I love being with people! This is a good thing, except for when it wasn’t. Many years ago, after an emotionally abusive marriage and subsequent divorce, I was pretty messy. However, I managed to convince myself that I had it all together. I lost a lot of weight, created a new me and “started over.” I looked just fine. I even believed I was just fine until I began to blast through one relationship after another. Every failed relationship had a common theme: time. I was what I would call a time vacuum. I wasn’t just a needy friend; I was the overly needy friend. No matter how much quality time a person gave to me, it was never enough. I was wearing people out.
What I really needed was not more time with people—that would never fill the obvious void I had gaping open in my heart. What I really needed was healing, support, and truth spoken in love. I am forever grateful to friends and leaders who pointed me to Christ and got me the help I needed.
Have you ever had an exhausting friendship? Do you have an overly needy friend? Someone who is forever needing more than you have to give? Someone who is perpetually in crisis mode no matter how much you give? Someone you probably love dearly, but your helping only seems to hurt?
Here’s how to help your overly needy friend.
- Understand the difference between helping and enabling. Enabling is saying, “Yes,” when you should lovingly say, “No.” Ultimately, this hurts your friend when they end up in the same situation time and time again despite your efforts to make things better. For example, a friend genuinely has a financial need—every single month. Continuing to give them money only exacerbates the problem, but connecting that friend with resources such as financial counseling or debt management empowers them to choose to change for the better.
- Equip and resource. Sometimes the best thing is to connect your friend with options such as counseling services, support, and/or recovery groups who can help bring the skillful care that we may not be able to give ourselves. Unsure who to recommend? Start with your local church pastors and staff. They’re usually ready, able, and delighted to provide tons of resources for basically every situation. They can equip you with resources to help quench your friend’s real needs.
- Point them to the one who can give them what they need. While you cannot heal the hurt or fill the void in your hurting friend’s heart, you can lead them to Jesus who is the ultimate healer! Pray for your friend daily. Invite them to church and LifeGroup. Find a Bible Plan, and use the Plans with Friends feature in the YouVersion Bible App to complete it together.
If you’re reading this post, congrats. You’re already taking a great step to helping your friend get what they really need!