How to get rid of a stage-5 clinger?

He just wanted to hook up. Now she’s calling, texting, and friending all his friends.

By Meredith Goldstein
Globe Staff / April 16, 2011

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Q. I’m considered a pretty nice person, which at times is not good. Yes, I have gotten the whole “You’re too nice’’ malarkey several times. And no, this is not one of those “waaahhh I’m too nice, I hate my life waaaahh’’ stories. No, I’m not like that. I don’t play that card, I find it pathetic. But every once in a while I wish I could be more of a jerk.

I’m a single person in my late 20s. I love my independence. I do things for myself and answer to no one. Would I like to have a girlfriend? Sure, if it’s right, but right now I have other priorities.

So, a couple weeks ago, I hooked up with this girl and she stayed over. Sweet, right? Wrong. I’ve known this person for a long time and had a sense that she liked me but I wanted no part of her beyond what we were doing that night and made that explicitly clear. Before anything physical began I reviewed the ground rules (this is what it is and not anything more, I don’t want you calling me all the time, I will not visit you, I do not feel for you romantically, this is just a hook-up, etc. etc.). And now I am being mercilessly bombarded with numerous daily texts, phone calls, Facebook chat messages and wall posts, she’s friended my friends. . . . I hate when my cellphone buzzes. Seriously it’s NONSTOP. I’ve reminded her of my pre-bedroom riot act speech but nothing changed. Currently I’m ignoring her and it’s not working.

So this where the whole “nice’’ thing comes in. I’m not totally unaccustomed to clingers, but this is for sure a STAGE 5 CLINGER. I usually have good radar for them, but I definitely let my guard down to satisfy an urge, and now this has become my life. My friends think this is hilarious, but she’s even annoying them. Any breakup or parting of ways, aside from a couple nasty heartbreaks, has either been mutual, cordial, or ended by passive disinterest. I have never had to resort to being a jerk to get rid of someone and I really do not want start now. I feel like that might be my only resort unless you can figure out an alternative.


A. My dear EP, feel free to cut this next paragraph and e-mail it to your clinger.

Dear [insert clinger’s name here], This is a difficult e-mail to write. I’m concerned about our friendship. I allowed our relationship to become physical a few weeks ago and it was probably a mistake. I’ve been noticing that you’re contacting me a lot more often than you used to, and while I think that you’re pretty great, I just can’t be the friend/partner you’re looking for. I’m starting to feel guilty when I don’t pick up the phone, and when I do pick up the phone, I’m afraid that it means more than it should. I think that we should take some space to figure out how to make our relationship more like it used to be. I care about you and don’t want to hurt you. But I also want to be honest and make it clear that I was happy with what we had before we crossed a line. I hope you understand. For now, let’s keep our distance. Sincerely, [your name here]

That answer falls somewhere between passive and jerky and makes it possible for you to block her on Facebook and to ignore her calls without feeling as though you’re disappearing without explanation. Just be clear about what you need — and do it respectfully. It’s called being empathetic and assertive. You’re capable. MEREDITH


I wouldn’t send Meredith’s letter. You mention nothing about her being a friend or caring about her. Tell her to leave you alone and that you don’t want any contact with her. Remove her from your Facebook and block her number. NOUDON



Well Mr. Nice Guy, you knew you shouldn’t have, but you did it. You hooked up with her. You can make all the “I made it clear. . .’’ excuses you want, but you shouldn’t have done it. You know that. That’s why you feel guilty about giving her the brush-off in the passive-aggressive way you’re trying to. Is she a nutter? Oh, well, yeah. But you messed up by even going there with her. CONEARTH

Duh. Shame on you. You knew she liked you. You took advantage of her liking you to get your kicks. You didn’t even think about the repercussions. What were you thinking? Oh wait, you weren’t. Or you were thinking with the little brain. Your brain was oxygen depleted. You deserve a stage five clinger. Sure, maybe you went through a whole speech, but you have to know that the poor girl was hoping she could wow you into a relationship. You couldn’t possibly be that naive, could you? DAWNM90

The problem is Bro, that you’re doing exactly what she wants. You’re treating her like crap. Why don’t you try chasing her? Then she’ll probably run as fast as she can. Don’t you know how women work?


Women almost always act like this for only one reason — they want answers! She probably liked you for a long time and thought she was finally getting what she wanted. Now she’s wondering what she did wrong to make you act this way and ignore her. Once she has the answer I think she’ll back off. It’s the not knowing where she stands or why she isn’t enough (you never really explained why you’d never date this woman in your letter?) for you that is making her act crazy. Just call her!


Well I hope you learned your lesson. Just because you set the Rules of Engagement and she agreed doesn’t mean they will be adhered . . . especially since this isn’t some random pickup. This was a friend despite your obvious attempt to downgrade her into “someone you’ve known for a long time.’’ BCP4EVER

Edited and reprinted from Meredith Goldstein can be reached at She chats online Wednesday at 1 p.m.