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You were asleep—until the ringing phone awakens you. It rings again. You pry one eye open to look at your alarm clock, groggy, disoriented and more than a little irritated. 1:35 a.m. Might be a family emergency, might be your boyfriend calling for a little wee hour pillow talk. But you’re pretty sure you already know who it is.

First of all, shake off the guilt about considering anyone in your sister circle to be a bit of a handful. A good friend is supposed to be honest, if nothing else, especially where her closest homies are concerned. Actually, a good friend gets her start by being honest with herself. When our relationships with men become unhealthy, we get to the root of each and every contributing issue before we decide to dump the offending partner. Somehow out of allegiance to another woman or to an imagined badge of good girlfriend honor, we can tolerate even worse from fellow females. But when you’ve been hazed as the sounding board for your girl’s incessant string of financial woes, men problems and career stall outs, your relationship takes on an uneven kilter.

Eight Sure Fire Signs That Your Friend Is High Maintenance

While your girl may take the label of high maintenance as a compliment, it isn’t cute—it’s a sign that you need to reevaluate the worth of the friendship. You may think she needs you because everyone should be able to rely and count on someone else. We all harbor fear of abandonment and rejection in the deepest parts of our spirits and no reasonably compassionate person wants to be the source of someone else’s perpetual diss. However friendship, like romantic love, is a two-way affair. If you are pouring into a relationship that you’re getting nothing back from, why keep making the emotional (and sometimes physical and financial) investment? You wouldn’t put stock in a failing company. So don’t place your precious energy into a fruitless friendship.

Communication will reveal the true quality of your high maintenance situation. If confronted with your feelings, your friend may admit that she didn’t realize that her behavior had become so overwhelmingly one-sided and work immediately to adjust it. That’s the Mary Poppins, We-Are-the-World, squeaky-clean-like-Disney scenario. In the real world, though, you have to brace yourself for the possibility that your girl might play defense to the challenge of her authenticity as a friend. She may withdraw; she may even cuss you out, in which case you’re better off on the receiving end of her silent treatment. Saying life is too short has become so clichéd, but it couldn’t be more true—these precious days go by too quickly to be worrying about, taking phone calls from and cleaning up messes for someone who wouldn’t return the favor for you.

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