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Practical Advice Wanting to isolate myself from friends

Jack D

SF Supporter
I will need to explain a few things first so that I can get the right advice for this context, sorry for the long read.

Until a few weeks ago, I used to be fairly cold and stubborn when it came down to what was on my mind and refusing to talk about things with anybody until I basically had a mental breakdown, I would rely on my friends from time to time but I always felt bad for always blowing up in their face with my issues (and that continues till this day). I'm naturally a paranoid and anxious person by default. But very recently I had my best friend effectively break this mental barrier I put up for myself by being the most wholesome, patient and nicest person I think I have had in my life for a very long time, and for a while I felt great, i felt wanted. But with that cold attitude I had towards people gone... I found that I was getting completely enthralled and obsessed with this person in question, I fully admit that I would cyber stalk, check messages constantly, want to be with them every waking second they were around, and worrying constantly when they left my messages read or whether I was saying something that was bad. Where only a few weeks ago I was fine with the distance between us from time to time and our occasional hanging out, I'm now I go crazy whenever I see them online.

This isn't the first time this has happened, I've done this time and time again with friends and ex-partners and get so clingy and needy of their attention and validation that I annoy them at best and drive them away at worst. I'm happy that I have at least realised what I'm doing before it's too late... but I'm petrified of losing him, and these feelings I have for them are so hard to control. Part of me almost wishes they weren't so nice to me so that I wouldn't have these obsessive-compulsive issues. I still want to be friends with them, and everybody I know in fact, but I fear that I will just keep getting myself in these loops and will eventually just drive people away. I'm more irritated at myself than anything; the moment someone treats me like a human being and is nice to me, my mind overreacts and makes this happen, sabotaging it.

This may well be the anxiety talking, but part of me just wants to run away, it's the only thing I know how to do. Part of me feels like the only way to stop this is to disappear for a certain amount of time without saying anything and then returning, not just from them, but from other friends too. I feel too burdensome for their own good and that my nature will just destroy their patience for me. I WANT to talk to them and have them in my life.. but by doing so I'll just keep hurting them and being in this obsessive loop.

So I guess what I'm asking is; How do I get rid of this obsession while still keeping them in my life? Is there a way I can stop worrying so much or thinking about them? And if I do need to go away for a while, how do I handle it?
Do you have a therapist? They might have some advice.

Generally, if you have a need for support, it's good to build a network, so that you don't put too much pressure on any one person, and if for any reason your support person isn't available, you have other supports to turn to.

So I guess what I'm asking is; How do I get rid of this obsession while still keeping them in my life? Is there a way I can stop worrying so much or thinking about them? And if I do need to go away for a while, how do I handle it?
In principle, you could talk to them about this. Not everyone is ready to have a discussion like this though, so you might want to think this over.

Whenever you tell someone something that you think they might not receive well, it might help to add something positive along with it. Saying you want to spend some time away might be received well if you add how much you value this person, and that they haven't done anything wrong.

Do you want to say if you've been formally diagnosed with any conditions?


Well-Known Member
You sound like me. I do that. Have done that. I did what you're wanting to do and left my friend without a word - and then came back a long time later when I felt I could be 'safe'. They forgave me and says that they are fine but I can't get over the guilt of having left them in the first place - especially since one of their big things is that people keep leaving them. I felt I just added myself to the list. I can't get past that and while they say they're fine - I'm not.

So - for what it's worth - don't go. Stick it out. Try talking to them, if you can, about how you feel. Not sure if that will work but - it's got to be better than the guilt I'm feeling. Please don't put yourself through that.

Good luck.


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Safety & Support
SF Supporter
Don't do it. It hurts your friends, it makes your depression worse. Not worth it at all, even though I know how it can be rationalized by The Brain. It's a lie, and you'll regret it.
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Well-Known Member
I feel that all or nothing sometimes too so I would say, try small actions every day, pace yourself instead of thinking of running away. If you are waiting for a message, give yourself whatever time limit you think you can manage before checking and then go off, walk away from the phone or pc or whatever knowing you can come back to it. I think you are very self aware so that is a major step to controlling it. Ultimately, I think talking to a therapist will be really beneficial.

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