She’s made all the mistakes, so you don’t have to… Ask Erin is a weekly advice column, in which Erin answers your burning questions about anything at all.
My problem is that I have a friend that always gets her way.
If she wants pizza, we all go to eat pizza. If she wants to invite us to her house, we go to her house.
She always makes the plans, and they work. But when I want to set a plan, they never work.
She always has an excuse. All our interests that she doesn't share are boring or stupid for her. Like, we all have to agree to watch an orchestra concert, but she never agrees on going outside dancing. She wants us in her house, but she'll never go to visit me at my house.
She wants things done HER way, and if somebody else comes with another idea, she screws it up.
How can I stop her from doing this?
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We all have one of these friends. Heck, at some point, some of us have been that friend.
Like most problems with personal relationships in life, this is all about boundaries.
First, let’s address your actual question: “How can I stop her from doing this?”
We can’t control other people. There is nothing you can do to stop her from behaving how she has been behaving. BUT, you can change your behavior.
When one person changes their behavior in a dysfunctional situation, it forces the other person to do the same.
For starters, be direct with her. Say this: “I’ve noticed that you always take the reins by making plans. I have planned this (fill in the blank).”
If she protests or says it’s “boring” or stupid,” say: “Don’t feel obligated to join us, but we hope you do.”
By taking charge in this way, you are setting a boundary. If she tries to engage further, just end the conversation.
From your email, it’s indicated that she is like this with your entire friend group, I think it’s best to get this all out in the open with them as well — not as a means to gang up on her, but if you all change this dynamic, she will be forced to change… or walk away which doesn’t sound like the worst thing if she acts like a tyrant all the time.
Life is too short to put up with adults who tantrum when they don’t get their way.
If this opens up a conversation, share your feelings with her. I have found that being direct (while remaining kind about it) is the most clear-cut path to remedying tension or awkwardness.
As we enter a new year, I hope you implement these changes. You will ALL be a lot happier, even your bossy friend.
The information within Ask Erin should in no way be interpreted as medical advice because I’m not a medical professional. But I am here to help — to share with you the wisdom I’ve gained after years of making mistakes. If you have a question for me about relationships, addiction, dating, friendships, depression, parenting, sex, consent, what I’m listening to, what I’m watching, Black Tourmaline, or anything at all, use the contact form below or email me at email@example.com. As always, your anonymity is golden. Lastly, I’m so excited to share with you my Ask Erin Self-Care Guide, free when you sign up for my weekly newsletter. xoxo