How Needy is Too Much?

We all have our needs. It may be a need for sex, companionship, alcohol, alone time, bowling… whatever. But the odds are, if someone has ever told you repeatedly: “Hey, clingy, I’ve got all the Saran Wrap I need at home! You’re too needy!  Go away!” you probably turned to yourself in disbelief and said: “Me? Clingy? Really?” Really.

While the line is a shaky one at best, and wavers between individuals, there is always a line between caring and smothering. Once it’s established, however, you want to cross it as least often as possible. A caring person calls to check when a loved one is unexpectantly late, while a needy person calls before they even leave to remind them not to be late, again an hour before they would be late, and every five minutes once lateness has been established.

How do you spot a needy person?

“I’m needy? You’re the needy one!” Needy people are often in denial. If you don’t believe me, you are probably one. Needy people will lie to you, to your friends, and even to themselves; whatever it takes to get your attention, because constant, persistent, never-ending smothering attention is what they crave. They have an empty, emotional cavern in their lives and you have just the endless supply of sand needed to fill it.

It can be fun to spot the needy one in any social gathering. It takes just a few, simple observations. Let’s see if you can.

Sam has begun talking about his recent photo safari trip to Africa. He has barely gotten his camera lens off when Rita interrupts him to mention the time she fell off the Jungle Cruise ride at a local amusement park. She continues to explain that she hadn’t really fallen, she was shoved overboard by her conceited now ex-boyfriend Jake, while they were fighting over the way Jake was ‘studying’ the female boat captain.

Rita grabs a stranger, Pete, a sympathetic listener, and explains tearfully that, not only does she now have a fear of intimacy, but also of swamp water and mechanical animals. Rita then whisks Pete away, arm-in-arm, saying “That Sam is so conceited if he thinks anyone cares about his stupid trip to Africa…”

While funny, this story also points out many signs of the too needy person. They thrive on drama and Rita is drama packed. Not only did she break down to tears in front of Sam’s gathering, she also managed to inject her own personal tragedy to elicit sympathy and attention. She successfully snared a victim in Pete, who simply expressed concern for a traumatized, attractive woman, and ended up spending the rest of the night in her tight embrace. Rita obtained his phone number, email, address, and shoe size before the night ended.

Upon awaking that next morning Pete will discover a Facebook post announcing his close relationship status with Rita, fifteen texts on his phone asking if he is awake yet, and the knowledge that his computer had been hacked and all emails from ex-girl friends deleted.

What are signs of being too needy?

The truly needy strive to sink their hooks into someone, quickly and deeply. If, on your first date, you realize that by the second cocktail your date has already learned all of your early family traumas, your phobias, your pet peeves, the names, ages and preferences of previous lovers, and where you went to elementary school, you are showing definite signs of the too needy.

Another warning sign is if any time someone you’re with mentions that they are on their way to a movie, dinner, bris, or a funeral of someone you’ve never met, you insist on inviting yourself along. The too needy will needle and wheedle their way into the private lives of others, regardless of the appropriateness. It’s another way to try and infuse the importance of the needy’s needs over any circumstance.

What if I’m not needy, but my friend is?

It is a very common belief that you’re not a needy person–your friend is. Perhaps it’s true. Why then do you attract needy people? Obviously, you are seeking some sort of attention and thrive on the emotional dependence that needy people are drawn to like a heat-seeking missile.

A needy person will suck up all your time, leaving you no time to contemplate your own issues and life. What exactly is missing in you life that requires the need for someone’s constant distraction? Answer and resolve this and your needy friend will vanish in a puff.

How do I stop being so needy?

If you’ve discovered that you are, in fact, the one that is too needy, all is not lost.  There is help out there. Social groups, support groups, and even some good old-fashioned soul searching can help.

Ask yourself why you need to be the center of attention. What is lacking in your life? And most importantly, ask your friends (at least, any that are still talking to you) to help you by pointing out any time you are exhibiting needy behavior. They will be glad and relieved to help. You can switch from being a too needy friend to a friend indeed with just a little awareness and dedication.