This week’s Ask The People’s Therapist question comes from Stephanie, who’s having problems dealing with her best friend:
I don’t know what to do and I am pretty angry and annoyed with myself lately. I have basically enabled a close friend of mine by consistently giving in to her wants/desires and not setting up proper boundaries over the 22 years of our friendship, saying yes to activities and outings even when I would rather not have.
In the beginning, I thought her behavior was funny and was flattered that she insisted on including me in every area of her life. Even at times that I didn’t feel quite up to it, her strong personality won and her persuasiveness and persistence was easier to give into than fight.
Truthfully, most of her friends don’t have the balls to say no to her. In recent years, she has become bitter that she never married and seems to expect me to be there for her even more. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve put myself in a bad position. I am angry at myself for not knowing how to say no. That if I said how I really feel now, it would shock her and hurt her feelings and probably create permanent weirdness in our friendship.
I am scared to bring it up verbally. I’d rather create space and boundaries through my actions. What would you suggest I do to take some of the pressure off of myself?
And here’s my answer:
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