Signs You're Being Love Bombed By A Friend & How To Handle It

Love bombing is a term that's usually heard on the dating scene. It refers to someone showering you with affection and adoration, often in the form of gifts, as a manipulation technique. Love bombers try to win you over by treating you like they worship you, only with the end goal of making you dependent on them. And while love bombing is the most common among people who date, it can also happen at the friendship level.


Friends love bomb for the same reasons that daters do. The end goal is to win someone over so you have them wrapped around your finger. In toxic friendships, people often love bomb with the hope of securing your loyalty, perhaps because they don't offer other good qualities that would cause you to develop it genuinely.

The good news is that whether you're getting love bombed by a lover or a friend, the signs are similar. "In friendships, love-bombing can look like excessive praise, constant communication and support, and a desire to spend all their time together," positive psychology coach Elle Mace told Glamour.

That is not the kind of behavior you should tolerate, and responding appropriately will begin with standing your ground and then doing a little internal reflection.


Your friend wants to spend all their time with you

At first glance, you might think it's sweet that a friend wants to hang out with you all the time. But by their nature, friendships are supposed to be less demanding than romantic relationships. They're also not exclusive or monogamous, in that you're only allowed to have one friend. So a friend who wants to spend all their time with you may be love bombing.


They might be hoping to build a bond with you quickly by seeing you every day, or by getting you to be more loyal to them than your other friends by dominating your schedule. A love bomber might also try to gaslight you if you ask them why they want to see you so often. They'll likely say that they just love hanging out with you and make you feel guilty or paranoid for thinking otherwise.

Their affection comes out of the blue

Love bombing can happen at the beginning of the friendship, but that's not always the case. Sometimes, a person who's been a distant friend or even an acquaintance for a while can suddenly decide that they want to secure you as one of their besties and start bombing away.


The key to spotting this is looking for affection that just comes out of the blue. Has this person never really made an effort with you, and all of a sudden they're texting you all day and asking to see you all weekend? Were they never particularly caring before, and now they compliment you non-stop? This random affection indicates that being affectionate isn't just part of their personality, or a result of the nerves that come with making new friends. It's more likely that they have an agenda, and they're trying to dull your senses by overwhelming you with friendliness.

They share (and want to know) inappropriate secrets

When it comes to sharing secrets with friends, we all have a level that we're comfortable with, and certain people with whom we're more comfortable sharing than others. If you and your friend have always told each other everything, there's no problem. It's only a sign of love bombing when a friend you aren't close with forces themselves into your inner-circle by sharing things, or asking things, they really shouldn't be.


Having deep and meaningful conversations is one of the experiences that brings friends closer together, so this person is likely trying to get closer to you by revealing things they might not tell anyone else. Sometimes they'll share secrets hoping that you'll feel guilty and want to share things in return. Other times, they'll directly ask you questions that you might not be comfortable answering, but you feel like you can't say no because they've already told you so many intimate details about their life.

They keep you from seeing other people

Not only does love bombing involve a friend who takes up most of your schedule, but it may also include a friend trying to isolate you from your other friends and family with the long-term intention of being able to manipulate you. Love bombers want you to depend on them only.


A common trait of domestic abusers is to isolate their victims. This is done so those who experience domestic abuse feel like they can't seek help, or they'll have no one to turn to if they ever decide to leave the relationship. The same logic applies with friends who love bomb. Removing all your other sources of support makes you easier to control and bend to their will. It also reduces the chance that other people in your life will disapprove of your love bombing friend, because they won't be around to see the way you're being treated.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.


Too many compliments

As they try to butter you up, love bombing friends will bombard you with compliments. They'll praise you to no end and tell you what you want to hear. In some cases, this only happens until they've won over your trust. As their true colors come out, they may be brutally honest or even insulting and abusive.


Friends who love bomb you also compliment you because it makes them look like nice people. They don't say positive things about you because they genuinely mean it, but rather because if anybody else hears how they're speaking to you, they're likely to think highly of the love bomber.

Some friends who love bomb will also compliment you so they can get compliments back from you. Those who thrive on validation from others are particularly likely to be guilty of this. Whatever their reasoning, the things they say might be nice, but their intentions aren't pure. There's either something in it for them or they have sinister motivations.

They buy you elaborate gifts

One of the most classic signs of love bombing is gift giving, and this happens both in friendships and in romantic relationships. If your love language is gift giving, then this may be particularly difficult to notice as a red flag.


Typically gift giving that occurs as part of love bombing is elaborate, frequent, and does not correlate to the strength of the bond. If your best friend of 20 years gives you an expensive gift for a milestone birthday, for example, there's no cause for concern. But a new friend constantly bringing you over-the-top or expensive gifts? It's possible that they're just trying to win you over.

Pay attention to how long you've known the person, as well as how much they're spending and whether they treat their other friends the same. It's true that some people are just well-off and generous, but if you're the only one getting a flood of gifts, you have to ask yourself why that is.

Make your boundaries clear

Writing for Forbes, psychology writer Mark Travers explains that it's vital to make your boundaries clear when dealing with a friend who love bombs you. Pay attention to their love bombing behaviors, work out what you aren't comfortable with, and then stand your ground.


For example, if you don't want to share a particular secret, tell them that you don't feel comfortable doing that, and the matter is not up for discussion. Or if you don't want to hang out with this person every day, tell them that you need space and time to yourself, or to see other people you care about.

It can be daunting having to make your boundaries clear, but doing so will let the love bomber know that they can't manipulate you. Someone who is genuine and does care about you will respect your boundaries, so you don't need to worry about scaring away true friends by speaking up.

Learn your sore spots

Certain weaknesses or vulnerabilities that you have may make you more likely to fall victim to a love bombing friend (via Psycom). If you have been in verbally abusive relationships in the past, for example, you might attach closely to someone who compliments you, even if they don't mean it. Or if you've felt unloved or unworthy, you might be over the moon that someone wants to spend all their time with you.


Take some time to reflect on how these behaviors make you feel. Love bombing is meant to resemble love and affection, so it's totally understandable if you do enjoy being showered in gifts or compliments. However, it's also important to recognize that it's not healthy, and to understand that you can get the answers you seek elsewhere; not just from a friend who compliments you or buys you gifts.

To be clear, it's never your fault for being love bombed. The blame lies 100% with the bomber. And by recognizing how you might be a target for this kind of manipulation, you can heal those wounds for yourself and find it easier to withstand the onslaught of phony affection.