If you want to stop the drive to be close, then find happiness in being alone. That is the easiest way to learn how to not be clingy.
There are some of us who are good at being alone and others of us who are not so much. If you are someone who always needs a table for two, you might find that your need for someone smothers them. If you ask how to not be clingy, admittance is the first road to recovery.
There are many reasons why someone becomes clingy, but typically at the heart of any clinginess is fear of either losing someone or of being alone. Both of those things are pretty scary for everyone. If you find that you need to be connected to feel alive, then that might be driving people in your life away and turning the people you want to turn on, off.
How to not be clingy – 6 rules and ways to avoid being a clinger
The only way to stop being clingy is to find comfort in a table for one. Not an easy thing, it is possible for you to feel secure knowing that even if you are physically by yourself, you can’t ever be alone, really.
#1 Practice going solo. Sometimes we are afraid of things not because they are scary but because they aren’t familiar. I had one sister growing up and no one in our neighborhood, so we spent our time together.
That meant that I never needed to make a friend nor even cared to. As I got older, the chore of making friends overwhelmed me. Never putting myself out there for rejection, or fearing someone saying “I don’t like you” was very comforting.
What I found was that with practice, the fear dissipated. If you want to stop being so clingy, practice being alone and find comfort in it. Go to dinner alone, go to the movies solo, or find a hobby that just takes one. The more you do it, the more the fear will disappear. You stop worrying about being all on your own, and you might actually enjoy it!
#2 Watch for subtle cues. Sometimes the root of clinginess is not having social awareness of the nonverbal cues that people send you. If you notice people back away from you either physically or emotionally, that signals you’re too clingy.
We all like to be wanted and needed but not smothered. A huge difference! Try to pay special attention to people’s behaviors. If you feel like you are getting close, back off, or you risk turning them off altogether.
#3 Give people space. Start to put quantifiable boundaries on your contact with people. Don’t just think, “I am going to leave them alone for a bit.” Make a conscious effort to put some time constraints on it.
Instead of giving them a little space, define for yourself in measurable ways how many days you’ll give them you-free. How many times you are going to text, so you don’t go overboard, or how many times you ask them to do something.
If you notice a difference in their attitude toward your requests, then you know that it is working and you are unclingifying yourself.
#4 Only cling to people who cling back. The hardest part of being a clinger is that you are in need of people who aren’t in need of you. You spend a whole lot more time and energy on people who aren’t that into you.
If you want to not be so clingy, then find someone who is as into you as you are into them instead of chasing others who might not be. You can only be clingy if the person you are clinging to isn’t clinging in return. Find those people who want to be around you as much as you do them.
#5 The power of one. When you feel the world fall down and the need to cling to someone, have the special “one.” I tell my kids all the time that you can have a thousand acquaintances and be lonely, but if you have one true friend, you won’t ever be alone.
If you feel the need to cling, turn to the one person in your life who you depend on. Instead of reaching out to people who don’t return the favor or are always too “busy,” turn to the person, or even people, that you draw strength from. If you have one person that you know will always have your back, you won’t need to cling to others to feel fulfilled.
#6 Figure out why you are clingy. There are usually reasons why people cling. Whether it was because you weren’t as popular as a kid as you wanted to be and lost friends, or because you lost someone you loved unexpectedly. There are typically paths that lead people down the “cling” path.
If you figure out what the source of your fear and need is, then you can squash it by reasoning through it and learn how to not be clingy. Trying to cling to people who end up leaving you is only perpetuating the clinginess and does you no favors. Go to the source and find out what drives you. In turn, drive that energy elsewhere in a more productive way.
The problem with being clingy is that when you are, you rarely know you are. Clinginess stems from a drive to be near someone who probably doesn’t return the same need. The best way to overcome it is to either examine why you don’t want to be alone, find a way to make peace with being alone, or find that person who clings just as hard to you as you do to them back at you.
There are people in this world who need people and others who don’t. If you want to continue to be the one who needs, then find another needy person. Otherwise, change your needs to find happiness in the power of one and learn how to not be clingy.