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How to Stop Being Needy: Why People Become Clingy & How to Fix It

As someone with a history of being needy, I understand how hard it is to learn how to stop being needy and start holding your own.

How to Stop Being Needy

Being needy and needing attention is not the same thing. Everyone needs attention and respect from their loved ones, but understanding how to stop being needy goes above and beyond that.

Neediness is something others refer to as annoying, but it is also unhealthy for you. When you’re needy, it only encourages you to build your confidence based on others’ views of you instead of how you view yourself.

Of course, being needy can go back to your childhood or how you were treated in your first relationship or even a fear of loss. Practicing healthy relationship habits can help you appreciate the attention you get from others instead of needing it.

[Read: How to overcome neediness and regain power in your life]

Why you should stop being needy

I cannot tell you how many times I asked myself how to stop being needy. Maybe its because I’m the middle child in my family. It could be my first relationship was filled with dysfunction and disrespect. Maybe it’s just my nature to want attention.

And whatever it is for you, relearning how to feel complete without the constant attention from others will not just help with how you think of yourself, but also how others see you.

It is unfortunate, but most people find someone who is needy annoying. And it goes beyond that. Sure, some people fish for compliments or exaggerate things for more attention or even pity, but being needy shows a lack of confidence that can be a turn off romantically and beyond. [Read: How to stop being clingy so people won’t up and leave you]

Those who are needy talk down about themselves to others. It’s similar to complaining that nothing ever looks good on you to your inability to cook or paint.

We all have down moments. However, needy people share these negative thoughts to receive assurance from others, even if they don’t realize it.

It’s funny, as a teenager, I was the definition of needy. I would double text and purposely send wrong texts just to get someone to text me back. And, I’d always talk down about myself in front of friends to hear something positive in return. [Read: Attention seeking behavior and why some people go looking for drama]

At the time I didn’t realize I was craving that attention in such an unhealthy way. It made me codependent on the attention of others whether those were people I cared about or not.

Now, after years of coming to terms with that behavior and learning to love myself, I notice these things from people so easily. And honestly, it is not something people pity, but are often annoyed by.

Even as someone who knows what it feels like to be needy, I try to have patience and understanding for it, but it even gets to me. [Read: Am I codependent? 14 signs you’re overstepping boundaries and annoying people]

What being needy looks like

Neediness could be a desire to text someone all day every day. It can be struggling to wait for a text back for more than 10 minutes. It can be a need to see your significant other everyday. Or it can be changing the topic to be about you, even if a friend is going through something.

As someone who has shown this behavior in the past, here are some of the things needy people do.

#1 Constant messaging. This is something I did a lot when younger. I felt the need to keep a conversation going. If the conversation died, it was my fault somehow.

I recently had someone message me asking for advice which I have no problem doing. I’m happy to help, but after I answered the question they continued to talk.

They asked how my day was, what I was doing, and filled me in on details of their day. They didn’t go more than an hour without messaging me. This type of messaging is not only unnecessary if you want to get anything accomplished throughout the day, but it is very forced.

#2 Not taking a hint. Usually, when someone makes an excuse not to see you or not to respond to you, it is pretty easy to tell if it is truthful or not. Maybe you can’t tell the first few times. But after it becomes a pattern, it is pretty hard to miss the hint that someone is trying to avoid you.

Now, I am not condoning ghosting or making excuses for it, but sometimes needy people can be in denial about these things which only makes them harder to deal with. [Read: How to respond like a grown-up when someone deliberately ignores you]

#3 Needlessly extending conversations. Extending conversations is similar. Instead of letting a conversation die down and picking another one up, this carries a conversation a lot longer than needed.

Needy people crave the attention of things as insignificant as small talk. When a conversation is closing out, someone needy will drag it out by repeating themselves.

#4 Apologizing. Something I used to do and that many needy people do is apologize for their presence. When they text, they say sorry if I’m bothering you. This can seem like a small thing, but is both self-pitying and manipulative.

This sort of remark instigates the thought that you aren’t good enough for someone to talk to or have time for and manipulates the person you’re talking with to convince you that you’re no bother. [Read: The common habits of people who are pushovers and how to change them]

#5 Saying thank you a lot. Whenever I have dealt with someone being needy, they repeatedly say thank you and not just in a polite way but in an over the top way. Again this is something that seems harmless on the surface. It can be damaging to their psyche as well as the other person.

If you read these and realized you do some or versions of them, you are definitely showing needy behavior.

[Read: Effective steps to stop being so needy and insecure]

How to stop being needy in any kind of relationship

I don’t want this to come off as insensitive. But, learning how to stop being needy in a relationship, be it a friendship or a romantic one, requires some tough love. It is something that is denied so often. People don’t want to bring it up because it is awkward. But, facing the truth is what will help you stop being needy.

Along with that, practicing self-love and self-control will help you gain your confidence and start holding your own.

#1 Catch yourself. Now that you can better identify your more needy behavior, catch yourself before you act on it. When you notice yourself getting antsy about waiting for a text back, put your phone down and do something else. [Read: Double texting and second texts – 6 rules that’ll make you look cool]

#2 Talk to a friend. Talk to a trusted friend about your neediness. Make sure this isn’t a friend who will just nod along with whatever you say, but will hold you accountable. This friend can let you know if you’re being needy in case you don’t notice. It is also someone you can talk to and confide in when you find yourself being needy with others.

#3 Let people come to you. It can be hard when you crave someone to talk to, but let them come to you. Most friends will reach out to make plans or catch up if they don’t hear from you.

You can like their Instagram posts but let them put some effort in. This will help you get used to not always being the first to reach out and have a balance in your relationships.

#4 Appreciate your time alone. Often, neediness is brought on by a desire not to be alone with your own thoughts. But, figure out why you’re so needy and work on that if you do spend time alone.

#5 Look for true connection. When I was needy, I wanted attention from people that didn’t really like me or I had no true connection with. I was forging something just for the moment to get that neediness filled.

If you can find people you truly connect with, the moments you share will be a lot deeper. You won’t feel the desire for constant attention. [Read: How to get to know someone and make connections with true friends]

#6 Practice positive self talk. Most needy people talk poorly about themselves around others and when alone. Instead, spin the way you think of yourself. When you make a mistake, instead of thinking, “I’m so dumb,” think, “I did a dumb thing,” or  “I made a mistake.” That small difference actually does a lot to improve your self outlook.

[Read: How to master positive self talk and banish negativity]

Learning how to stop being needy takes time and practice. And once you take the steps in the right direction, you’ll learn that you can still feel fulfilled on your own.

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Samantha Ann
My name is Samantha Ann. I am 28 years old. It was always my dream to become an advice columnist, so after years of off and online dating and eventually finding...