While a clingy person may mean no harm, clinginess often comes off as uncomfortable and maybe even creepy to the receiving party. Often, there is a need to get rid of the clingy party, especially when ‘No’ doesn’t seem enough to get them away.
You may have to try a few different approaches to get rid of a clingy person. Here are ten ways to get rid of a clingy person without necessarily hurting their feelings.
1. Know What They Want
If you want to get rid of a clingy person, the first thing you want to do is figure out what they want from you.
Many clingy people want different things. Whilst others want stable friendships but don’t quite know how to go about it, others may want something more—friendship, relationships, marriage, etc.
Knowing what a clingy person wants is so important because it helps you keep that very thing away.
2. Understand That You Mean Good
It is common to feel bad about it when trying to get rid of a clingy person. It feels something like withdrawing a sharp toy from a cute child. Even though you know that toy might harm the child, you feel bad, still, for taking it away.
Often, the mind of a clingy person is like that of a child. And you have to see putting them away for what it is: you helping them. To keep them from being clingy, you have to risk causing a bit of hurt.
3. Remove Hope
Clingy people draw strength from glimmers of hope, no matter how small these glimmers are.
What this means is that they will keep clinging to you as long as they perceive and hope that you are willing to offer them what they crave.
To get rid of them, remove hope.
One of the most effective ways to do this is by direct communication. This is where you say, “No, I will not be giving you this.”
For some, this works. But for others, as you must have discovered already, it takes some more effort—some more firmness.
Whatever the case, saying no is a good start; it sows the first seeds of doubt in the person’s mind. Eventually, this doubt grows to swallow their hope so that they subconsciously back away.
4. Become Unresponsive
When you have said no to them, the next thing to do is create distance between you and the person being clingy. Distance means little to no contact.
Note that: in a romantic sense, the distance may do the opposite of pushing them away. It may even make them feel more attracted, seeing that a bulk of romantic attraction grows in space.
Space, however, may work if they have not been attached to you in a romantic sense. It is often said that out of sight is out of mind.
So, really, go out of their sight for a while. And even when they reach out to you, do not respond.
5. Speak to Them Politely (Explain Why You Can’t Give In)
You’ll be surprised that a number of clingy people are quite reasonable and will go away from you when you give them just enough closure.
This is how you give a clingy person closure:
- Convince them that you understand what they feel: clingy people often don’t feel clingy. Depending on the depth of your friendship, it is left to you to tell them they are being clingy and explain to them that it is sometimes normal to feel that way.
- Again, show them that they can’t get what they want: maybe you have said no a couple of times and still nothing. It doesn’t matter. Say it again, this time showing them why it can’t happen.
- Let them see what their clinginess is doing to You: many of the clingy people I have met in the past are nice people who really mean no harm. As I mentioned earlier, they can be loving—and a bit of polite communication can be just what pulls them away.
- Show a clingy person how their clinginess affects and makes you uncomfortable. You can say something along the lines of: “It is quite hard to concentrate when you keep blowing up my phone. You see, it affects me, and I would like you to stop.”
- Show them that you are willing to help them overcome clinginess: once, I used to be a clingy person. I stuck to anyone who showed me the faintest glimmer of attention. Until one of my college classmates told me: “Hey, I don’t like how you stick to me. I find it a bit embarrassing that you will do that.” She offered to help me get closure for a couple of weeks. She would check on me once in a while, establishing boundaries during this time; until, eventually, I became less clingy.
6. Polite Indifference
Indifference, simply put, is disinterest.
One of the ways to get a clingy person off your neck is to show them—not tell—that you are disinterested in what they say.
I often classify disinterest into two categories. One, I describe as polite indifference, and the other, I describe as cold indifference.
Polite indifference works in a non-romantic situation, whereas, as I will explain later, cold indifference works better when there is a bit of romantic attachment.
When you are being politely indifferent, you are being polite but not interested in what your clingy friend is trying to say.
Your responses are short and not lively. They don’t have to be ‘cold.’ They just have to be bland and not full of life or interest.
For example, one could say: “Hey, I got this dress that looks exactly like something you would love.”
Notice the excitement in their voice? Your job is to kill that excitement by being indifferent. So, your response should go along the lines of: “Oh, nice. That is nice of you.”
Do this a couple of times, and they will begin to get the hint that you are trying to get rid of them.
7. Cold Indifference
When it comes to getting rid of a clingy person, especially one who is attached to you in a romantic sense, cold indifference is the best tool in your arsenal.
Like polite indifference, cold indifference is just disinterest. The only difference is that this is much colder, and a lot of times, it hurts.
Only being ignored hurts more than cold indifference, Damilola tells us.
“The moment someone gets cold, I get the memo.” She says. “I have overstayed my welcome. It is at that point I see that I have been too clingy.”
Cold indifference aims to shut all conversations out at the first word. When you are being cold, you end every conversation before it even starts.
For example, they could say: “Hey, I got a dress I believe you might love.”
Respond to this with: “Nice.”
One word. Nothing more. Every conversation ends where it begins.
8. Kill Hope Even Further by Flaunting Your Relationship
This works when the clingy person is adamant about being in a relationship with you.
Kill their romantic interest by making them see that you are in a happy relationship and have no interest in entering another.
If you have them on your social media, post your man or woman as often as possible and make sure they see it.
Make comments about how happy you are in your relationship.
Once or twice, you can mention your relationship in personal conversations with someone who is being clingy to you. This will further make them agitated and more willing to let you alone.
9. Disappoint Them
You will be surprised, or not, to figure out that clingy people often idolize the object of their attraction. When someone is clingy to you, they are literally obsessed.
To them, you are someone who can do no wrong. So, in order to get rid of them, become “disappointing”.
A clingy woman may idolize a man romantically because she perceives him as manly and macho. But if he shows her how much he is none of those, if he becomes excessively nice and available, she will, in turn, begin to show less and less interest in him.
In the same vein, a man may idolize a woman because she seems ‘hot.’ But if she shows him that she is not, his interest in her will wane.
This is often the last resort, where you have to choose between keeping a friendship and cutting a clingy person off completely.
Blocking them right after going no contact for a while will push them away. Offer no explanations. Just block or ghost them for as long as it takes for them to get over you.
Clingy people are often obsessive—this obsession hangs on a thread of hope that they will get what they want from you. Cut that thread, and they will progressively start to show less and less obsession towards you.