Need VS Neediness: Why the difference matters

A dude emailed me the other day asking me to explain a contradiction that I’ve made.

I often talk about how all emotions are okay and normal and we should experience them all, but I also say that neediness is bad and that it ruins relationships and dating and so on.

It was a fair criticism, because I haven’t been clear that when I say “neediness is bad”, I don’t mean the emotion of need and desire is harmful. I mean the behavior of neediness is what does the damage.

Any emotion is fine, including feeling needy. It’s how you act on it that matters.

If, for example, I feel needy to have you in my life, but I tell you, “Look, you choose for yourself. I like you. I’m here if you want it. If not, walk away. I’m not going to chase you.” Then I’m not being needy with my behavior, just my feelings. No harm done. It’s actually an attractive way to express desire.

However, if I cling to you, and beg for attention, and triple-text you (keep contacting you despite you not replying), and try to manipulate you into my life, then I’m being needy, and that’s what’s going to put you off.

Separate your feelings from your actions. You can do anything in reaction to any emotion. There’s always a healthy way to express yourself.

The emotions don’t harm your relationships, and neither does honesty if it’s done well.

For more on this topic, check out my check out my podcast episode “How to Stop Being Needy”:

One Response

  1. Learning to speak about feelings without shame and without pressuring the other person to do something about it is the key to emotional confidence

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