Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

College student can't say no to manipulative friend

Carolyn Hax on

If you don't want to lend your car anymore, then say you're not lending your car anymore. (Really -- stop.)

If you don't want to plan Allison's class schedule, then say you have enough to manage with your own and suggest she see her adviser.

If you're done being suckered, pick more mature friends.

This stress you're under isn't a matter of Allison's asking too much, or her failure to spread it around by asking Alex sometimes instead. Your seeing it that way makes Allison the one who is in control of this situation, and of you -- since you're just asking and waiting for her to make changes for you.

But you're in control -- of you, your time, your phone, your car, your definition of crisis, and your availability to help with one real or imagined. All you.

Slide a peek over at Alex; I'm as confident as I can be about a complete stranger that Allison doesn't badger her for anything because her hysterics don't work on Alex.

When Allison accused you of being selfish, that was manipulation 101. Do you see it? Allison spun her neediness into your fault.

Until you do see it, you'll be dogged by Allisons. They spot people more worried about losing their friends than about losing themselves, and latch on. The powerlessness you feel is what losing yourself feels like.

It's not uncommon, but fix it now, please -- with a counselor at school if need be -- while your Allison is just Allison and not your boss, child or spouse.

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Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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