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Am I Clingy? 23 Signs of a Stage 5 Clinger & How to Stop Being One

If you’re wondering ‘am I clingy?’, at least you’re recognizing a possible problem. Nobody likes a stage 5 clinger – pinpoint the problem and solve it ASAP. 

am I clingy how to stop being a clinger

It’s normal to feel a little insecure from time to time. It’s normal to ask questions. But if you’re too clingy in a relationship, you’ll suffocate your partner and cause them to question whether they really want to continue in the union or not. It might be time to stop and ask yourself, ‘am I clingy?’

It’s never easy to question yourself in this way. Nobody wants to identify problems with their own behavior. But, without doing so, you could end up single before you realize it. [Read: How to stop overthinking – Secrets to go from overthinker to relaxer]

What does it mean to be clingy?

Before we can explore whether or not you’re clingy, we need to really nail down the definition. So, what does it mean to be clingy? 

Basically, when you’re clingy, you suffocate your partner or your friends because you have to be close to them or in touch with them at all times. You don’t give them the space they need, and that means you also don’t get the personal space you need. 

When you’re alone, you text them. If you’re away from them for any length of time, you get panicky and worried, so you contact them again. You always think the worst. None of this is healthy for you, or them.

You might have also heard of another phrase; a stage 5 clinger. [Read: How to stop ruminating – 18 ways to leave your past and be present]

So, what is a stage 5 clinger?

A stage 5 clinger takes it to a whole other level. This is someone who is borderline obsessed with another person, but the other person doesn’t share their enthusiasm.

It’s not necessarily always in a romantic setting either. For example, let’s say you meet someone and you become friends. You’re not particularly close, but you see each other through mutual acquaintances from time to time.

You adore everything about them. They make you laugh, they have qualities you want for yourself, and you basically can’t spend enough time with them. That makes you reach out to them a lot. You might call them, text them, or constantly comment on their social media.

The problem? They don’t feel quite so adoring of you. Sure, they like you as a friend, but they don’t think about you all the time. [Read: 21 signs of a clingy girlfriend and how to avoid turning into one]

Can you see how this could become a problem?

Your stage 5 clinger behavior causes your friend to back away and put some distance between you. They’re fed up of seeing your name flash up on their phone all the time. It’s gotten to the point where they know who has liked a picture on their social media without having to read their notifications.

You’ve become too much. It’s clingy and it’s needy. So, they become less and less responsive and that causes you a lot of angst. 

By this point, your stage 5 clinging needs to stop. [Read: Am I clingy? Here’s how to really know the truth about yourself]

Am I clingy? The most obvious signs that you might well be

If you’ve asked yourself the question, “am I clingy?” once or twice, you might feel like you should take a step back. Just because you’re asking yourself that question doesn’t mean that you’re the latest owner of the cling. But if you’re thinking it anyway, it’s a sign that you might need to simply breathe and let things be for a while.

What will be will be. Quite frankly, most of the time ‘what will be’ is pretty damn good! Go with the flow. [Read: How to stop being such a clinger and the truth behind why people become needy]

1. You send a text and expect a reply or call within minutes

We’re all impatient occasionally, but if you hit ‘send’ and obsess over when your phone will chime with a reply, question why you feel that way. [Read: Am I codependent? 14 signs you’re overstepping boundaries and annoying people]

Perhaps their phone is in their bag and they’re in the gym. Maybe they’re in a meeting. Perhaps their phone battery has died. There are a million and one reasons why someone doesn’t reply to you straight away.

Do you reply to messages straightaway every single time? Probably not! Chill a little, they’ll get back to you when they can.

Remember, the lack of an immediate reply does not mean that they’ve decided they don’t want to be with you anymore, or be friends with you. [Read: Double texting and second texts – 6 simple rules to play it cool]

2. You read into messages

Do you analyze every word, every emoji or lack of, and always look on the negative side? If so, you’re probably erring towards the ‘yes’ side of ‘am I clingy?’

It’s normal to read into messages a little, but not every time. If your partner simply answers you with ‘okay,’ it doesn’t mean they’re angry, uninterested, or not bothered.

It might literally mean ‘okay.’ Or it could mean that they’re busy at the moment and rather than not reply to you at all, they sent a quick message and they’ll get back to you again later. Chill out a little! [Read: How to overcome neediness and regain power in your life]

3. You don’t like it when they go out without you

We all need space, and if you’re always becoming a little annoyed or paranoid when your partner goes out without you, chill out and take a step back.

A relationship without trust is literally going nowhere. Feeling this way shows you either don’t trust them, or you really don’t like your own company.

You cannot be together 24/7, and if you want to be, the answer to ‘am I clingy?’ is a big, fat yes! [Read: How to learn to love someone without smothering them]

4. You can’t just let it be

If your partner tells you something, do you simply accept it, or do you ask a million and one questions and attempt to catch them out? For instance, if they go out with their friends to watch a movie, do you go into private investigator mode and want to know who was there, what they watched, etc.?

This is one of the main traits of someone who is a little on the clingy side, and you should be careful that this doesn’t drive your partner away.

Head out with your friends when they go out with theirs. Fill your time and enjoy space as well as time together, without feeling the need to interrogate them all the time. [Read: Alone time – Why you need it, how it helps, and how to make the most of it]

5. You turn up where they are

Have you ever done this before? Be honest. Okay, once we can let you off with, but more than that and you have a problem. If you’re nodding your head to this one and asking ‘am I clingy?’, then we’re afraid you are!

If you know that your partner is going to be at a certain place and you happen to swing by there, when you have no real reason to, you show super-clingy signs.

How would you like it if you were out with your friends and suddenly your partner turned up randomly more than once? [Read: 12 key moments in a relationship that predict your future together]

6. You don’t see your friends as much

Since you started dating, do you see your friends the same amount? Sure, it’s normal to not see them quite so much at the beginning.

However, it should level out over time. Strive for a balanced social life, seeing both your partner and your friends. If you’re only seeing your partner and your friends have forgotten what you look like, that’s a sign of clinginess.

It’s not healthy to lose interest in your friendships when you get into a relationship. Your friends were there before you met your partner. If things don’t go well, you’ll want them with you afterward. [Read: How to be a friend – The real art of true and meaningful friendships]

7. You can’t remember the last time you did something you always enjoyed before

Did you like painting but now you can’t remember the last time you did it? How about reading? When was the last time you sat down and read a book?

You can nod your head to the question ‘am I clingy?’ if you’ve given up your own hobbies and likes, and all you do is the things that your partner likes.

You might even convince yourself that you enjoy these things, but deep down, is that really the case? Could it be that you’re just trying to keep them happy? [Read: How to fix a smothered relationship – Pull back and reignite the sparks]

8. You always put them before you

It’s normal to put your partner first occasionally, but that doesn’t mean you need to do it all the time. Your happiness is just as important as theirs.

If you’re always the one who misses out because they come before you, why do you do it? Why do you think that they’re more important than you? What are you scared of losing?

The chances are, if your partner found out that you weren’t happy because you were always putting them first, they’d be devastated. [Read: How to recognize a martyr complex and stop the self-inflicted suffering]

9. You always check their social media feeds

Social media is often the death of many relationships. There are so many outside influences that can sway things from one direction to another. Most of the time, they’re blown out of proportion.

You can answer ‘yes’ to ‘am I clingy?’ if you’re always checking your partner’s Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter profile and reading into every little thing that you see. [Read: Dangers of social media – Why it makes you feel really insecure]

10. You often feel nervous

Do you feel like you can’t really relax? Perhaps you’re always nervous or on edge? That’s also a sign of being too clingy. You’re always expecting the worst to happen, and that’s forcing you to act out of character (or in character if clinginess is a part of it). 

Clinging on too tightly to your partner is not going to make them stick around. We don’t want to say this, but the truth is that if they’re going to cheat, they’ll do it anyway. You holding on to them so tightly is not going to stop them.

If anything, you’ll push them further away and closer toward the possibility. But, how do you know that your partner is going to do anything bad at all? You’re creating a self-fulfilling prophecy in so many ways. [Read: How to get rid of nervousness and calm your mind wherever you are]

The subtle signs you’re being a stage 5 clinger and someone needs space from you

Now you know how to identify the personal traits to tell you whether or not you’re clingy, let’s look at a few specific signs that someone in your life needs a little space from you, be it a friend or someone you’ve attached yourself to.

In this case, you’re showing serious stage 5 clinger behavior, and they’re desperately trying to pull away for air!

1. They’ve stopped answering your text messages

If you have sent them three messages, and you haven’t gotten an answer, that is not an oversight… that is intentional. The more you text them, the more annoying you become. That can take a stage 1 clinger to a stage 5 in zero to five. 

Put the phone away. Yes! They are trying to get rid of you. [Read: Being left on read – What it really means when they don’t text back]

2. They hang out with the group less and less because of your stage 5 clinger behavior 

If you all hung out together, but you suddenly notice that the person you can’t get in touch with anymore isn’t hanging out as much, or at all, it may be because of you.

Ask the other people in the group if they have been in touch. If they don’t seem to notice anything amiss in their relationships with this person, then they are likely avoiding the event because of you. Next time, make it known in circles that you are skipping, and if they show up, it is all you. [Read: 10 clearest signs he’s avoiding you and has something on his mind]

3. They pretend not to see you when they clearly did

Before you go running through the mall, across the hallway, or jumping over trash cans to say “hi”, when it was clear they saw you and didn’t wave back, just stop.

If they didn’t wait to catch up, they are trying to get away from you. A stage 5 clinger doesn’t get subtle hints. Don’t make them run while you are chasing them. Just turn yourself around and go your own way. [Confession: I’m a boyfriend who’s too needy and clingy]

4. They can’t seem to get away fast enough

If it feels like every time you try to catch up with them, they can’t seem to distract you quick enough, or get out of the situation at any cost, then they don’t want to talk to you.

If you haven’t done anything to upset them, then you may just be too clingy. A stage 5 clinger will often be found backing someone up to the wall as they are trying to get away. Don’t do that. Find someone else who wants to talk to you.

5. People roll their eyes when you talk about them

If you keep asking your friends about how they are doing, and all they can do is roll their eyes, it is probably because they can’t believe that you don’t know by now. 

If you have to find out about your ‘friend’s’ life through other people instead of them, then they are likely avoiding you. It could be that everyone sees it but you, so move on. [Read: 5 reasons why loving someone too much kills the love]

6. You have a feeling they are trying to get rid of you, but brush it off

If you go through every date in your calendar book to get together, and all of a sudden they are so busy they simply can’t find the time, then you are probably a stage 5 clinger.

Making yourself available to someone when all they can do is make excuses, and duck and weave, has stage 5 clinger written all over it!

7. They are too nice to be mean

If you know that they are a really nice person and wouldn’t want to hurt you, but seem to try to shirk you from their social circle, then you are probably their stage 5 clinger.

Someone who is too clingy may be cramping their style, but they are too embarrassed, kind, or downright nice just to say, “hey, back off.” [Read: 13 ways to stop feeling neglected by someone you love]

8. Their other friends eye roll when you walk over

Ever felt like you just walked in on someone talking about you? If the idle chatter they were having turns to eye rolls as you approach, that probably means that you aren’t welcome.

When you join a group or conversation, people should react with delight, not annoyance. If you notice the eye roll or the wink between the people talking, keep on walking without stopping to say, “hey what’s up?” [Read: How to look into her eyes without looking like a creep]

9. They have omitted you from their invite list

If you are thinking to yourself, “I wonder why I didn’t get the annual invite to their holiday party, or their birthday party the month before, or their wedding the month before that,” it is time to open your eyes. They are trying to omit you from their life.

A stage 5 clinger has to be omitted from invite lists or the host will never be able to break free.

10. You think “that’s funny, they didn’t call me on my birthday”

If you didn’t even get a Facebook, “hey, happy birthday,” but you notice that they are updating their status or saying “hey” to other people, that is a sign that you are being dumped.

A stage 5 clinger will often see the signs that they aren’t being included, typically because they are semi-stalking the other person. Hence, being a stage 5 clinger. [Read: Not wishing you happy birthday just to hurt you – Why play this sick game?]

11. Their default answer is “I’m busy”

If their answer to what are you doing tonight, tomorrow night, next weekend, and next year is, “gee, I’m sorry, I’m busy,” you have become their stage 5 clinger.

No one wants to be with someone who has nothing on their to-do list but to get together with one person.

It is time to find someone who isn’t too busy for you, and then DON’T cling.

12. They’re running out of credible excuses

If you catch them in a lie, like it being the third time in a row that their mother is having a birthday, they are trying to blow you off. A stage 5 clinger can only be handled one way – by lying and avoiding.

If you’re catching them in a lie about what they’re doing, it’s called trying to move on. You should do the same. [Read: 9 effective ways to stop being so needy and insecure]

13. You feel like you’ve been replaced

If you saw them with another person when they said they couldn’t meet up with you, then you are probably the stage 5 clinger who has been replaced. If it happens more than once, it’s definite.

Often, when someone feels like you are getting too close and too clingy, they will move on and try to find someone who isn’t so possessive. If you have been replaced, then you were probably holding on too tight. [Read: 13 ways to stop feeling neglected by the one you love]

You’re a stage 5 clinger? Wake up and smell the coffee

There are times when we can get a little overzealous about liking someone. This goes on in both romantic and non-romantic relationships. If your bestie is avoiding you, you may have reached stage 5 clinger status without even being aware.

The best thing you can do is take a breath, take a break, and stop trying to insert yourself into a relationship that is one-sided. You know you deserve better, and to be honest, they need a break! [Read: How to love someone without smothering them]

How can you stop being so clingy with your partner?

You’ve been asking yourself ‘am I clingy?’, so the chances are you need to change your behavior a little. Here’s how you can stop being clingy and move away from the constant upset.

1. Communicate with them

If there’s something that’s causing you to feel clingy, why not sit down and talk to your partner about it? Maybe they can reassure you that everything is fine.

It might be enough to get you to relax and settle into the relationship. After all, your partner isn’t a mind-reader. [Read: How to communicate in a relationship – 16 steps to a better love]

2. Trust them as best you can

It’s very easy to say “just trust them,” but you have to try. If they haven’t given you any reasons to distrust them, then you have to just blindly go with it and hope for the best.

Yes, it’s scary. Especially if you’ve been hurt in the past, but you can’t tar everyone with the same brush. If you can learn to trust them, you’ll find your clingy behavior is easier to shrug off. 

3. Distract your mind

Keep yourself busy! The more you focus on the things you enjoy doing, the less time you’ll have to think about what may or may not be going on.

So, if you enjoy painting, do it. Perhaps you’re a keen jogger, and in that case, get out there and jog away. The more you keep your mind ticking over and away from the things that cause you concern, the less clingy you’ll be. [Read: How to stop having negative thoughts that drag you down]

4. Focus on any past problems that have caused you to feel this way

If you’re asking yourself ‘am I clingy?,’ it’s probably because there’s something that has caused you to feel that way. It could be low self-esteem in general, or maybe someone hurt you in the past.

Try and pinpoint the reason and do some thinking. Try and overcome it by talking about it with someone you care about, especially your partner. 

5. Focus on yourself 

A person who is quite clingy is often focused entirely on their partner. But, you need to focus on yourself. ‘Me time’ is something we all need.

Head off to the spa, go for a run, eat your favorite foods, and watch the movies you adore. The more you realize that you’re important and you deserve care too, the easier it will be to overcome clingy behavior. [Read: How to love yourself – The 23 best ways to find self-love and happiness]

6. Surround yourself with friends 

Surround yourself with your nearest and dearest and you’ll not only be distracted, but you’ll feel great too. Our friends lift us up and drag us out of the dark times.

You need your friends right now, so make sure that you talk to them about how you feel and get them to distract you as much as possible. The more fun you have, the less you’ll focus on things that you don’t need to focus on. 

But remember not to lean on them too much, otherwise you might end up in stage 5 clinger territory too. [Read: What makes a good friend – 15 traits we desperately seek in a friend]

7. Get help if you need it 

It may be that you need a little extra assistance to overcome the core reason for being clingy. That’s fine, and if that’s the case, be sure to reach out and get all the help you need.

It’s never a failure or a weakness to say “help me.” It’s a truly strong thing to do. Counseling or therapy could be the answer for you. If that’s the case, grab it with both hands. [Read: Relationship therapy – 25 clues to know if it’ll help your romance]

Whether you’re clingy in a relationship or a stage 5 clinger with friends, you can overcome it!

We’ve talked about general clinginess in a relationship and stage 5 clinger behavior in other relationships, such as friendships. If you recognize these signs in yourself, it’s time to take action.

You do not need to hang on so tight to someone to make them want to be around you. Learn to love who you are, and you’ll see that you’re amazing without all the extra work! Let your personality and kind heart shine through, and they’ll be by your side without trying to make them.

Being too clingy can destroy a romantic relationship, and it can ruin friendships too. Take a step back and recognize when you need to work on yourself for a while.

[Read: How to stop being clingy so people won’t up and leave you]

Many people ponder ‘am I clingy?’ occasionally. Be honest with yourself if you want a true answer and learn how to stop being clingy once and for all.

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...