Step by step self-reliance
March 2, 2016 7:08 AM   Subscribe

The past year I've been in a stressful situation and now I found that I may have been overly reliant on a friend for advice/help. Lately I realized this a imbalanced relationship and I'm looking for steps set boundaries and prevent this in the future.

I'm the odd person who has a small group of casual friends and probably one person I talk to the most out of them. However I'm worried if I'm becoming overly reliant on the same person over time. Mostly I prefer to keep everything compartimized like I have a therapist for mental health, a doctor, a gaming friend for games, a book friend for books, and etc.

I know this may sound like I'm withdrawing from people but I found that it's just exhausting to consider that I might be a burden to someone. So I'm looking for ways to set boundaries by becoming independent for example by coding on my own and using google for answers instead of asking them.

Also I'd like to know if there's anything I can do to prevent becoming overly reliant on just one person. So far I've tried to look for more friends, read books on new topics, go visit new areas, contact the person less, and basically to keep myself busy.
posted by chrono_rabbit to Human Relations (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I had a friend once tell me that I (at the time,) was pseudo-independent. He said people are never independent until they allow themselves to become comfortably dependent on people they know love them. Friendships are not necessarily made up of shared "light entertainments," as living is a richer experience not all easily compartmented. Having friends you can count on and share a full range of events is how you get ready for the organic nature of family, work, and even experiences with nature. Best to you.
posted by Oyéah at 7:21 AM on March 2, 2016 [4 favorites]

Ask people to help you see all sides of a decision, or to Devils advocate the decision you've already made - don't outright ask them what to do. That it, do 90% of the legwork yourself and then use your friends for sober second thought.

Has your friend said they don't like giving advice and feel you are a burden? Some people love it. Are you feeling vulnerable about opening up so much to one person and want to shut it down? Resent that they're never asking you in return? There are many different ways friendships are and aren't balanced. So either accept the imbalance (eg. My partner does more housework but I do more childcare) or re-balance your actions to match them (don't spill your secrets if you feel your friend is guarded and this bothers you).

You could read some books on critical thinking and Google around about developing your own judgement. Or how to develop your own "gut feel."

For me I think I was overly reliant on advice until I developed a stronger sense of who I am and what I want. And judging myself less for making mistakes. After that I found I needed people's guidance less and less. Though I still appreciate their perspective, in fact even more so now! It helps me fine tune my decisions. But paradoxically you kind of need to lean on people at first in order to get there - as long as each time you get advice you really chew on it, thinking about how they arrived at that conclusion, what values are they prioritizing over others in order to make that decision and do those priorities feel right to you. You can start to adapt and modify their critical thinking model to suit yourself. But whatever you do, don't just take their advice blindly without running it through your own logic, values and feelings. Including my advice here ;)
posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:24 AM on March 2, 2016 [6 favorites]

Ask your friend if you have been leaning on them too much. You could be wrong Make sure to thank them for the support.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:17 AM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

Eh I think I should give a example for my friend C it's not so much as advice as I find it closer to patriarchal which I find somewhat creepy as they're not much older than I am. I still think they are being considerate when I tell them xyz is bothering me ...they just forget in a few weeks.
posted by chrono_rabbit at 6:09 PM on March 2, 2016

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