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8 Communication Tips For Dealing With People Who Exhaust You So That They’ll Go Away And Stop Exhausting You

Say it with me, “I am not their mother/adult babysitter/emotional support human.”

Image @Unsplash

Are you the “go to” person when others are in crisis, leaving you exhausted, with nothing left but the urge to run far, far away? If you have a hard time drawing the line between being supportive and being eaten alive by exhausting people, here are communication tips that work like magic—POOF—exhausting people be gone!

1. “I’ve done nothing with my life!”

When someone speaks in absolutes, try to expand their perspective. Black and white thinking rarely resolves anything, so try adding nuance:

“You’ve done nothing of note with your life.”

If that fails, I’ve heard from white men that patronizing others works like a charm:

“You may be insignificant, but I’m sure your mom thinks the world of you!”

2. “I just don’t love myself!”

Rather than push aside their intense feelings of self-loathing, try your best to make them feel understood:

“That makes sense,” or “I don’t love you either” are effective responses for validating their experience.

3. “I’ll never find my soulmate!”

Rather than regurgitate “there’s plenty of fish in the sea” get real and do the actual math. Try this response:

“You’re right! You’ve got a 1 in 7.9 billion chance of finding The One.”

If you don’t like math, try:

“Have you considered settling?”

4. “I’m incapable of emotional regulation and I’ve scared away everyone else in my life, so I’m going to need ALL your attention.”

This one can be tricky, as the request (demand) is rarely communicated with actual words, and the process is rather covert and devoid of gaining your consent. Their plea for round-the-clock care is often transmitted with uncomfortable, sustained eye-contact, strained grimacing, and manipulative compliments like “you’re so strong!” and “I’m so lucky to dump all my issues on you!” Therefore, the most appropriate response I’ve found is:

“How would you feel about you and I becoming…enemies?”

5. “No one understands me!”

This one is easy! Try:

“Have you considered being someone else?”

Though, my personal favorite is:

*walk away*

6. “No one cares about me!”

Sometimes embodying a licensed therapist is the best route (though a tad illegal and a smidge unethical). Step deeply into your metaphorical Birkenstock sandals and try:

“When was the last time you cared for yourself?”

If that fails, encourage them to take small actions to improve their situation. But remember—this is their journey and you should remain idle when it comes to their incessant neediness. Rather than act on their behalf, try:

“I think I saw a Care Bare on eBay. Maybe you should buy some care?”

If that too fails, honestly is an effective last resort:

“I can’t speak for everyone, but on a personal level, yeah, I don’t care anymore.”

7. *discharges a lengthly, tactical sigh that’s supposed to engender sympathy from you*

Try:

*cough*

*fall on floor*

*play dead*

8. *attention-seeking weeping*

*scream*

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Katherine Shaw

Katherine Shaw

(she/her) is a writer living somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. Words in Slackjaw, Points In Case, Frazzled, and more. IG@daclassybiatch

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