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Well and Good – Get ‘Love Bombed

Dr. Danielle Forshee spoke with Well + Good Magazine about getting love bombed even in a friendship!

Danielle Forshee, PsyD, says friend bombers often want to know everything that goes on in your life, and share every detail about theirs—without accepting any boundaries. “A sign to look out for is having a high frequency of communication throughout a 24-hour period along with an expectation of a quick response time, and if it doesn’t go that way, conflict may arise,” she says.

Friend bombers may also have unrealistic expectations about their role in your life, adds Dr. Forshee. “A strong desire to be involved in all things you and part of your life are likely to be present in the friend bomber, whether this comes through at their specific request, subtle hints, or expressing hurt that you didn’t assume this would be the case,” she says. A former flatmate of mine definitely fit that bill—he used to talk about someday walking me down the aisle, and invited himself as my plus-one to an awards event. But when I decided to maintain some distance, he asked me to move out within a matter of weeks.

Why does love bombing in friendship happen?

The motives of love bombing are quite clear: gaining control over a partner. But that’s not always the goal (at least, not consciously, at least), with friend bombing, says Worthy. “The friend bomber wants connection, and that’s [likely] eluded them for most of their life. They’re excited to meet you and hoping you’ll be the friend they’ve never had. So the bombing is a seduction—not deceitful or manipulative, but an earnest attempt to build a friendship using the only tools they understand,” he says.

Individuals who jump head-first into new friendships and relationships are usually motivated by a strong desire to feel needed, attached, or accepted, agrees Dr. Forshee. “Usually, these relationships start on a high because of this, and [the friend bomber’s] hopes and expectations are high to get the need met,” she says. However, she says these relationships tend to end quickly because they are lacking in healthy boundaries—and not grounded in realistic expectations. “It’s only natural that when expectations are not met by others, we become upset,” she says.

Unfortunately, even though the intention of friend bombing isn’t always manipulative, it can certainly end up feeling that way if you’re on the receiving end, says Dr. Forshee. “Let’s say the recipient has a history of not feeling emotionally safe and secure in relationships,” she says as an example. Being love bombed, then ghosted, by a new friend would add “salt to the wound” of those old insecurities, she says, which is harmful and frustrating.

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