How to Stop Enabling Others in 7 Easy Steps

Lorna Harvey
3 min readJul 20, 2022
Image from

Have you ever been in a scenario where, despite your best efforts to assist someone, things continued to go poorly for them? If that is the case, you might have been enabling.

Whenever you try to help someone, you can be acting in a way that worsens the problems instead of alleviating them.

Here is a Possible Typical Scenario

Your friend and coworker, Sally, has consumed a little more alcohol than usual. As a result, she has been arriving to work late most days and has asked you to cover for her.

When her boss asks where she is, you lie and tell them Sally went to Human Resources to ask a question and should be back any minute.

You all go out for drinks after work. Sally accepts your offer to buy her drinks for the evening because she has no money.

Later that night, Sally confesses she hasn’t finished the report chapter due the next day. Sally requests that you complete her unfinished paper.

You agree to take the report home and type it out before tomorrow morning despite being tired and prefer to rest at home.

Unfortunately, even if you don’t mind lending a hand whenever you can, your acts are preventing Sally from having to answer for her mistakes.

There is a Solution

What can you do to stop enabling someone you care about in this way?

Consider the following advice:

1. Stop. Even when they are a friend or loved one, picking up for them is not assisting in their recovery.

2. Keep an eye on everything. Sit back and observe what happens rather than being so eager to step in and provide assistance. Keep an eye out for patterns in the person’s behavior.

3. Listen. Learn what your friend or loved one feels so you can stay informed. An excellent friend pays close attention. Consider listening as a crucial act of compassion.

4. Give your loved one the chance to resolve issues independently. Keep in mind that when you constantly step in and try to help, the person is being deprived of the opportunity to learn how to handle problems on their own.

Lorna Harvey

I’m a blogger, writer, and interested in helping people find answers for living their best life. I also write on