Thursday, January 14, 2010

Not You Too, Abby!?

DEAR ABBY: My problem is I attract needy people. I don't have a problem setting boundaries. However, those boundaries are frequently crossed because the person is so self-absorbed that he/she "can't hear" me.
How does one draw the line with a complete stranger who wants to tell me her whole life story the first time we meet, and sucks away my energy and my time? I feel like the individual isn't even talking to me. She might as well be talking to herself or to a wall for all I care.

Abby, I do not want to continue being taken hostage by these kinds of people. I'm not interested in their lives or troubles. I have enough of my own. I don't want to be unkind, but I haven't found a way to protect myself from being forced to invest time in needy acquaintances with whom I do not wish to pursue a relationship. I am not a total (rhymes with witch), but I am definitely ... BAFFLED IN VERO BEACH, FLA.

DEAR BAFFLED: If I understand your description correctly, the type of person you describe is a "sapper." These are individuals who talk until they completely drain the energy from their "victim" -- not unlike vampires in Stephenie Meyer's novels.

An effective way to deal with a sapper is to stop the conversation. Explain that he or she has caught you at a time or place when it's inconvenient to talk, or tell the person you do not feel qualified to deal with their situation and refer them to a doctor, lawyer or therapist. Then walk away or end the phone call -- depending upon how they have "attached" themselves to you.

DEAR ABBY: Your analogy bothers me. Using Stephenie Meyer books to dole out your crappy advice? Does this mean you're a Twilight fan? Or did you get paid for that little plug? Either way, consider me....BARFING IN SAN DIEGO.


Karen said...

First, the irony of this rambling question being addressed to a total stranger is worthy of attention.

Second...yeah. That analogy was stupid and irrelevant and made absolutely no sense. Shameless plug? I'm surprised she didn't declare her team allegiance while she was at it.

ukyankoz said...

This brings up an interesting question - which team would Dear Abby be on? I'm thinking Team Jacob...