Dealing with friends who never grew up can be frustrating and draining. Whether they are "drama queens," needy and clingy or throw tantrums if they don't get their way, immature friends can bring out the worst in you. By using the appropriate techniques combined with patience, you will be able to deal with these childish friends while maintaining a mature attitude.
Reflect on the reasons behind your friends' behavior. Ask yourself if you are rewarding their immature behavior by giving them your attention or putting up with their demands. Analyze if their behavior is a result of their upbringing, previous relationships or just a temporary phase. Sometimes it can be difficult for them to change their ways, says psychologist Irene S. Levine on "The Friendship Blog." "Your friends may be behaving the same way they have been for many years out of habit," she says.
Don't allow yourself to become engaged in your friends' immature behavior. Remember that you are a mature adult and should avoid stooping to their level. Keep a calm and collected attitude in all your interactions with your friends. If you find yourself losing patience, get away from the situation and allow yourself some time to cool off. Model appropriate behavior by being reasonable and using good communication and problem-solving skills.
Have a conversation with your friends about their behavior. Discuss specific examples of their childish behaviors and offer better alternatives. Emphasize that you care about them and that it is your duty as a friend to help them become better people. If possible, bring in additional friends or loved ones to intervene in the conversation so you are not left as the sole "bad guy."
Empower your friends to act as adults. Immature adults tend to be dependent and clingy with their friends. Don't give in when they are acting possessive or when they rely on you to accompany them to everything. Motivate them to pursue their own activities and to do things on their own. Avoid becoming their lifeline every time they have an issue. Be available if they have a life-threatening emergency, but give them the opportunity to deal with smaller problems on their own.
Evaluate whether these friendships are worth keeping. Identify the benefits that you derive from these relationships and ask yourself if they are worth the drama and conflict. Staying in toxic relationships can have a detrimental effect in every area of your life, including your health. A study, "Negative Aspects of Close Relationships and Heart Disease," published in "Archives of Internal Medicine" found that individuals with close negative relationships had a higher risk of a cardiac event.
Lauri Revilla has been writing articles on mental health, wellness, relationships and lifestyle for more than six years. She moved to San Antonio, Texas, from Mexico in 2006. She holds a Master of Science in Psychology from Our Lady of the Lake University.