7 ways to deal with a bossy friend like a boss lady!

It's not just at your workplace or home where people can boss around. Friends can be bossy and controlling too. Know what to do when you have a bossy friend.
Friends standing back-to-back
Ways to deal with a friend who is bossy. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Updated: 3 Apr 2023, 16:30 pm IST
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Friendships are not just about sharing a few jokes, doing fun things or having similar interests. Mutual respect is also important in a healthy friendship. But there can be times when you may end up with a controlling friend – someone who likes to keep telling you what to do and boss around. Instead of making you happy, controlling friends might annoy you or make you feel bullied. Whether it is a friend or a boss or your partner, you should not let anyone control you. But that doesn’t mean you engage in heated arguments with your friend! Let us share some tips on how deal with a bossy friend.

Health Shots reached out to psychotherapist, life and business coach Dr Chandni Tugnait, to understand ways to handle a controlling friend.

bossy friend
A healthy friendship has no room for bossy pals. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Who is a bossy friend?

You can easily spot a bossy friend, as she or he is someone who tries to control or dominate the group or people within it. That person might try to make decisions for others without considering their opinions or feelings. Dictating how things should be done comes naturally to such people. They may try to dictate what you should wear, how you should spend your time or who you should hang out with. They may also disregard your opinions and feelings. Dr Tugnait says that a bossy friend can be very demanding and may even become angry or upset when they don’t get their way.

Ways to deal with a bossy friend

Having a bossy friend can be very challenging and can lead to a power struggle within the friendship. It can be difficult to maintain a healthy and positive relationship when one person is constantly trying to assert their authority over the other. The expert says that bossy behaviour can also lead to feelings of resentment, frustration and anger, which can be damaging to the friendship in the long run. You shouldn’t want to hang out with toxic friends!

Here are ways to deal with a controlling friend!

1. Communicate clearly

Be honest with your friend about how their behaviour is making you feel. You can use “I” statements to express your feelings in a non-confrontational way. It’s not being selfish, but just being honest.

2. Set boundaries

Let your friend know what behaviours are not acceptable to you and set clear boundaries. Be firm in your boundaries and follow through with consequences if they are not respected.

3. Be assertive

Be willing to stand up for yourself and express your own opinions and ideas. Don’t allow your friend to make decisions for you without your input, so be assertive.

4. Offer alternatives

If your friend is being bossy about a particular situation, offer alternative solutions. This can help shift the dynamic from one of control to one of collaboration, which is required in a healthy friendship.

5. Be confident

Bossy people often target those who lack confidence, so be confident in yourself and your abilities. Don’t let your friend’s behaviour or anything be the reason for low self-esteem.

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bossy friend
You should stand up for yourself and be confident! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

6. Don’t engage in power struggles

Bossy people are all about power struggles, so avoid engaging in them. Instead, stay calm and assertive, and focus on finding a solution that works for everyone.

7. Seek support

If you’re struggling to deal with your bossy friend, seek support from other friends or a therapist. Having someone to talk to can help you process your feelings and develop strategies for dealing with the situation.

If your friend’s behaviour is consistently harmful and they are unwilling to change, you may need to consider ending the friendship. Yes, it can be a difficult decision, but it’s important to prioritise your own well-being and emotional health.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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