Some Thoughts On Neediness

“I’ve changed”, I said to my long-term friend, M., who knows me as an introvert. “I was at this conference once and I tried to organise a social group so that we’d get to explore the area together”. And then M. says “I’ve always been sceptical of people like that. They appear to be needy”.

And that got me thinking “am I needy?”. Came home, started googling “is he needy?” question. Surprise, surprise, countless relationship guides told me that I am. “Does he have a blog? He is active on twitter? Does he initiate chats with his friends? Can he be left alone?”.

Well… there goes my “feeds on human connection” self-description. I guess, most people would rather just call me needy.

But, this blog post isn’t just about my insecurities! I think I am onto something. And that something is… to not think of “needy” as a characteristic that would describe an individual. Instead, it’s a characteristic that describes a bond between two individuals. In other words, I can be needy towards my friend A, yet not needy towards my friend B. Being needy is about whether you request more attention than another person is willing to give. If B loves hanging out with me then I am not needy towards B!

The way I see it, some people value social interaction more than certain activities. These days I even struggle to watch a movie without thinking that I am bored. Social interactions are just more valuable to me when it comes to spending my free time. Watching a movie together with a friend? Now we’re talking!

And… I don’t consider this to be a trait worth changing. On the contrary, I’d rather more people were like me. After all, if people with higher needs for social interaction find one another and talk to one another all the time, then what’s the harm? Win, win for all parties.

However this does bring me to “needy bond” issue. How would you foster bonds that are healthy? My current working theory is to match the efforts both parties put in. If a person isn’t particularly chatty and responsive then invest less into the bond so that you don’t come across as a burden. And… of course, never ever demand attention!

Demanding attention happens when person’s refusal to give you attention is met with reprimands, stroppy fits, whining and arguments. This IS NEEDINESS. Requesting attention though means that a person’s refusal is consequence free.

Thus, my TL;DR; thoughts on neediness: match people’s efforts and don’t demand attention. My need for social interaction is irrelevant. Tada.