April 2, 2015 WHEN YOUR FRIEND IS SUPER CLINGY Today’s question comes from Marifer, who writes: My friend, Marlenne, is too clingy and physical. For example, when I’m going to the restroom and she sees me, she comes running up to me, hits me in the arm, and says, “Surprise! It’s me!” She always scares cute boys, too, because she punches them, as well. I like her and everything, but how do I stop her from punching and clinging to me? My Advice: Hi Marifer! I wish I could give you some ice with this advice, because I bet your arm’s pretty sore! It sounds to me like your friend thinks she’s being funny. She might even punch you and cute boys as a nervous reaction. Some people laugh when they’re nervous. Some people bite their nails. Other people act like they’re competing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. That’s probably why she clings to you, too: she wants to be your good friend, but she’s also a little insecure. I bet she’d get the hint if you told her in a joking way that this bothers you, like, “Woah, there! What did my arm ever do to you? You’re stronger than you look!” That will likely help with the physical stuff, but it may take a little more effort to get her to stop clinging. If she felt more comfortable with your friendship, she’d probably back off a little. So maybe you could say something reassuring to her, like, “I love that we really click! I bet we could switch schools and go weeks without seeing each other and STILL be really good friends!” This will reassure her that you DO like her, and let her know that you’d still like her even if you had a little space. If that doesn’t work, and you find her crouching inside the trash barrel near your locker, waiting to jump out and yell, “SURPRISE!” you might want to start distancing yourself just a little so she gets that she’s kind of smothering you. For example, you could wait a bit to write back when she texts, or say “no” every now and then when she asks to hang out or sit together in lunch. If she STILL doesn’t seem to get it, then you may want to come clean and let her know you value her friendship, but you also value breathing room, and you need some, ASAP! What do you guys think? Do you have any advice for Marifer?