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How to Not be Clingy: 12 Rules to Avoid Ever Turning Into a Clinger

It’s perfectly normal to be clingy every now and then, but too much can suffocate your partner. This is why it’s important to learn how to not be clingy.

how to not be clingy

There are some who are good at being alone and others who are not so much. If you are someone who always needs a table for two, you might find that your need for someone smothers them. If you’re wondering how to not be clingy, admittance is the first road to recovery.

There are many reasons why someone becomes clingy, but typically at the heart of any clinginess is the fear of either losing someone or of being alone. We’re all a little scared to lose the people we love, some more than others. But the fear is always there.

The only difference is clingy people tend to attach themselves more to their loved ones because of that fear.

This won’t just drive away the person you’re dating, but you’re also sabotaging your relationship. So it’s a crucial life skill to learn how to not be clingy. [Read: How to learn to give space and learn to breathe again]

Why do people become clingy?

More often than not, it’s because of the fear of losing a loved one or fear of abandonment. Although you can be clingy for the purpose of showing affection, the motivation is usually fear. What separates affection from fear is how suffocating it feels for the receiving end.

You’re clingy because you don’t want the relationship to end, but you don’t realize your clinginess will be the end of your relationship!

We’re all pretty scared of rejection and abandonment, but that isn’t an excuse for suffocating your partner or those around you.

Learning how not to be clingy is the best thing you can do for yourself as it will help you maintain all your friendships and relationships. [Read: The clingy boyfriend – 16 signs he’s doing too much and how to shut it down]

Most importantly, you’ll learn that you can show affection without suffocating others with your clinginess. [Read: 21 signs of a clingy girlfriend & how to avoid turning into one]

How to not be clingy – The most important rules and ways to avoid being a clinger

The only way to stop being clingy is to find comfort in a table for one. Not an easy thing, it is possible for you to feel secure knowing that even if you are physically by yourself, you can’t ever be alone, really.

1. Practice going solo

Sometimes, we are afraid of things not because they are scary but because they aren’t familiar. Go to dinner alone, go to the movies solo, or find a hobby that just takes one. The more you do it, the more the fear will disappear. You stop worrying about being all on your own, and you might actually enjoy it!

Life is all about going out of your horizons, no matter how uncomfortable it might feel. If you genuinely want to learn how not to be clingy, practice going solo. Also, there’s a big difference between being alone and lonely.

You’ll find that taking yourself out can actually be quite fun if you give it a chance! [Read: Why do I feel so alone? The answers that can change your life]

2. Watch for subtle cues

Sometimes the root of clinginess is not having social awareness of the nonverbal cues that people send you. If you notice people back away from you either physically or emotionally, that signals you’re too clingy. We all like to be wanted and needed but not smothered. A huge difference!

Be aware of other people’s body language when trying to tell if your clinginess is getting too much. A little affection is okay, but too much of this might drive anyone away. If you feel like you are getting close and the other person seems to take a step back, back off, or you risk turning them off altogether. [Read: 12 secrets to read people and figure out what they’re thinking in no time]

3. Give people space

Start to put quantifiable boundaries on your contact with people. Don’t just think, “I am going to leave them alone for a bit.”

Make a conscious effort to put some time constraints on it. Instead of giving them a little space, define for yourself in measurable ways how many days you’ll give them you-free.

How many times you are going to text so you don’t go overboard, or how many times will you ask them to do something. Look, space isn’t a bad thing, and you can’t take it personally here.

No matter how much people love you, they’re entitled to their own personal space and that has nothing to do with you. So give people a little breathing room if you want to learn how to not be clingy. [Read: 15 reasons why people may dislike you]

4. Only cling to people who cling back

The hardest part of being a clinger is that you are in need of people who aren’t in need of you. You spend a whole lot more time and energy on people who aren’t that into you. This is why clingy people often end up in the wrong relationships or even toxic ones.

You cling to people who aren’t willing to give you a portion of the effort you’re providing. If you want to not be so clingy, then find someone who is as into you as you are into them, instead of chasing others who might not be.

You can only be clingy if the person you are clinging to isn’t clinging in return. Find those people who want to be around you as much as you do them. [Read: Am I clingy? How to know the honest truth about yourself]

5. The power of one

When you feel the world fall down and the need to cling to someone, have the special “one.” You can have a thousand acquaintances and still be lonely, but if you have one true friend, you won’t ever be alone. If you feel the need to cling, turn to the one person in your life who you depend on, and they do the same.

They’ll understand you better and might even accept your clinginess wholeheartedly. Find that one friend or person who doesn’t mind your quirks and flaws, even your clinginess.

If you have one person that you know will always have your back, you won’t need to cling to others to feel fulfilled. [Read: 15 signs you have shitty friends and need to get some new ones]

6. Figure out why you are clingy

There are usually reasons why people cling, whether it was because you weren’t as popular as a kid as you wanted to be and lost friends, or because you lost someone you loved unexpectedly. There are typically paths that lead people down the “cling” path.

If you figure out what the source of your fear and need is, then you can squash it by reasoning through it and learning how to not be clingy. The key to self-improvement is being self-aware, and you can’t achieve that if you can’t find the roots of your clinginess.

So in order to learn how to not be clingy, you need to find the source first.

Are you afraid of being abandoned? Was it because of a bad childhood? Did a trauma trigger it? Asking yourself these questions will help figure out the cause. [Read: Feeling alone? The answers that can change your life]

7. Work on your self-esteem

Extremely clingy people tend to be that way because of their self-esteem. So if you truly want to learn how to not be clingy, building your self-esteem is the key.

Similar to the previous suggestion, you need to learn what triggers your insecurities and flaws. At the end of the day, we all have our flaws and insecurities. However, you can’t give in to them and attach yourself to people. Be confident and secure in your worth, as that’s the best way to get over your clinginess.

When you become confident, you won’t find the need to keep attaching yourself to people all because you’re scared to lose them. [Read: 18 ways to have high self-esteem and start winning at life]

8. Talk about it with your loved ones

If there’s anyone who could understand your clinginess, it will be your loved ones. By opening up that you’re struggling, they can help you get past your clinginess. It’s not easy to just stop being clingy, especially when you’ve been clingy for so long. However, you can learn how to not be clingy if you learn to open up.

Maybe by talking about it with them, the burden and pressure would feel lighter for you until you can gradually reduce your clinginess. You won’t improve overnight, but you’ll eventually get there with the help of the people you love.

9. Prioritize yourself

Clinginess is often a sign that you’re neglecting yourself. There’s something that you’re failing to give to yourself, and that’s precisely how clinginess becomes an issue. So if you want to counter your clinginess, it will take a lot of redirection to yourself and giving yourself the love you deserve.

This might sound cliche, but self-love is necessary to stop being clingy. If you don’t love yourself, you’ll constantly be attaching yourself to others, hoping to find someone to fill the void in your heart.

However, it doesn’t work that way, and you’ll keep repeating the same cycle to every person you meet. Instead of being clingy, pour all the love you have in your heart into yourself instead. It makes all the difference. [Read: 20 non-clingy ways to stop being a possessive friend and give them space]

10. Manage your anxiety

Some people end up being clingy because of their anxiety. So if you want to stop being clingy, you need to manage your anxiety better. Also, it helps to find the root cause of your anxiety.

For instance, if you tend to be anxious whenever you’re burned out from work or when you’re triggered, it’s these instances you should be more self-aware about your clingy nature.

By knowing how to manage your anxiety, you’re also preventing yourself from being excessively clingy to the point that it sabotages yourself and your relationship with others. [Read: Signs of anxiety – How to read the signs ASAP & handle them better]

11. Keep yourself busy

This is such an important tip on how to not be clingy. If you genuinely want to get over your clinginess, it’s essential to get a life for yourself and focus on yourself.

Don’t be so caught up in the life of others that you’re neglecting your own life. Keeping yourself busy with your hobbies and interests will help you be secure enough to stop attaching yourself to other people. Most importantly, it will distract the fear in your head that constantly reminds you that people will leave and abandon you.

Don’t listen to that voice, no matter what. Instead, keep yourself busy and productive enough so you don’t end up being clingy.

12. Learn how to be alone

Clinginess comes from the fear of abandonment, and the only way to feel more at peace with that fear is to learn to live with it if ever your worst fears do come true. So if your partner ends up leaving you, how will you manage to be alone?

Learning to be alone is sometimes the best way to learn how to not be clingy, especially when you realize you’ll be okay with or without them. That doesn’t mean you don’t need your partner anymore. It just means that since you know you can manage the worst outcome, your tendency to be clingy shouldn’t be as bad anymore.

[Read: How to make the absolute most out of your alone time]

So, how to not be clingy?

The problem with being clingy is that when you are, you rarely know you are. Clinginess stems from a desire to be near someone who probably doesn’t return the same need.

The best way to overcome it is to either examine why you don’t want to be alone, find a way to make peace with being alone, or find that person who clings just as hard to you as you do to them.

Being clingy often comes from the fear of being left behind, but you can’t be clingy just because of that fear. All it will do is result in sabotaging your relationship.

[Read: The stage 5 clinger and 13 signs you’re not wanted anymore]

Learning how to not be clingy will save you a lot of frustration, especially as you won’t be suffocating the other person with your affection. Moderate clinginess is okay but when it becomes too much, that’s when it becomes an issue.

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The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...