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How to Stop Being Needy: Why People Get Clingy & 32 Ways to Fix It

Being codependent and leaning on others isn’t a healthy habit all the time. So, learn how to stop being needy and stand on your own two feet.

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.

But practicing healthy relationship habits can help you appreciate the attention you get from others instead of needing it.

[Read: How to stop being clingy and 19 steps to grow your confidence slowly]

Are you needy and clingy in your relationship?

Isn’t it great to be in love? There’s someone who’s always going to be there for you. Someone who will listen to you, give you advice, comfort you on bad days, and make you feel better.

They can help you with chores, call you every hour or shower you with gifts and compliments! Doesn’t love just make life so perfect?

Looking at your relationship through rose-tinted glasses is common at the start. But when you take off those glasses and try to objectively have a peek into what’s going on in your relationship, what do you see?

Do you see someone who’s always running to their partner for help? Someone who’s always texting, calling, and emailing their partner even if they know they’re busy at work? Do you see someone who needs constant affection and adoration from their partner in order to feel good about themselves?

If any of those statements somewhat describe the way you behave in your relationship, then there’s a possibility that you are insecure and need to learn how to stop being so needy in any relationship.

Give yourself a moment and try to see if there’s even an inkling of a chance that you may be smothering your partner with clinginess.

[Read: How to love someone without smothering them with too much love]

Why you should learn how to stop being needy

There are many reasons why people become needy. But, 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. Those who are needy talk down about themselves to others. We all have down moments. [Read: 14 signs of attention-seeking behavior that masks someone’s insecurity]

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

But, by learning how to stop being needy, you can rebuild your confidence, learn how to have faith in yourself, and as a result, you’ll have stronger relationships. [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 from someone you like. It’s possibly a need to see your significant other every day. Or it can be changing the topic to be about you, even if a friend is going through something.

Here are some of the things needy people do that separate them from mentally healthy individuals. [Read: Attention seeking behavior and why some people go looking for drama]

1. Constant messaging

This is something many people do without realizing it. You feel the need to keep a conversation going. If the conversation dies, you think it’s somehow your fault.

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, we are 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 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” too much

Whenever we 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 points and realize you do some, or versions of them, you are definitely showing needy behavior.

How to stop being needy in any kind of relationship

We don’t want this to come over 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. [Read: 18 serious warning signs of a clingy guy and why everyone tries to avoid him]

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

If you want to learn how to stop being needy, 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. [Read: Sense of self – 26 steps to raise it and feel like a million bucks]

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 connections

You might want attention from people that don’t really like you or those you have no true connection with. You are 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]

7. Don’t bargain for time

Keeping tabs on how often you’re together isn’t healthy relationship behavior. You can’t tell them that just because they’re out with their friends today, they need to be with you all day tomorrow.

They shouldn’t have to “pay” for doing the things they want. If this keeps up, they might be tempted to go behind your back whenever they want to do something just to avoid you making a fuss.

This can either lead to more lies or them getting fed up when you’re asking for more time. Remember, it’s the quality of the time you spend together, not the quantity. [Read: How to make someone like you – 25 ways to draw anyone closer to you effortlessly]

8. Get a hobby, preferably one that can enhance your self-esteem

There are tons of things you can do to improve the skills you already have. Love working with your hands? There are tons of DIY projects out there! Have an ear for music? Maybe music lessons would work. Want to be in better shape? Try a new workout.

Not only will this help you raise your self-esteem by improving your skills, but it will also keep you occupied enough to give your partner some space.

9. Make communication an even trade

Have a look at your text or online conversations with your partner. Are you taking up more than 70% of the talk space? If you want to learn to stop being needy, start by paying attention to your texts. A good way to avoid bombarding your partner with messages is by aiming for equality.

For instance, whenever you send out a text, it may be tempting to send a follow-up. Skip the follow-up and make your initial text a conversation starter.

Ask about their day, mention something they’d be interested in or even ask them out for drinks. Now patiently wait for a response before sending another text. In the meantime, you may want to work on your hobby. [Read: Am I texting too much? 16 signs they think you’re a clingy texter]

10. Don’t let jealousy rule your relationship

Jealousy can lead to so many ugly scenarios that it needs its own library! But the thing about jealousy is that it can form its own vicious cycle. You can start off with feeling needy, but this would then lead you to be jealous of others who take up your partner’s time.

If you often feel jealous when your partner isn’t with you, bombarding them with texts or accusing them of infidelity won’t help.

Instead, what you can do is to try and have a little faith. Calm down and be rational. If they’re not known to have a wandering eye or if they’re just at work, try your best to believe them when they say they’re not doing anyone on the side. A little trust can go a long way! [Read: 21 signs of a clingy girlfriend and how to avoid turning into one]

11. Keep your expectations realistic

Your partner isn’t perfect, and they can’t always be there to help you with everything. It helps to realize that they also have a life to live: family to be with, friends to hang out with, and a job to excel at.

When they’re not available to be with you or to talk to you, it’s not a sign that they don’t care about you. Instead, it’s a sign that they also have other priorities.

Even if they have always been the one person you can count on for anything, they may have realized that it’s time to help you become more independent by letting you do things on your own. Don’t take their inability to be there as an affront. [Read: 14 spirited steps to be more independent in a relationship and love better]

12. Give yourself an hourly texting limit

When you have your phone on you all the time, it’s tempting to just message your partner whenever you’re thinking about them. Try to combat this by setting a limit on yourself.

There are tons of ways you can set up a limit: you can do some chores for an hour or two before texting them. You can watch some TV with your phone in the other room. You can keep your phone in your drawer while at work so you’d only be able to text them when you’ve finished a certain amount of work.

Remember, there’s nothing wrong with loving someone or thinking of them often. In fact, it’s sweet and romantic.

BUT there’s a thin line between remembering someone fondly, and constantly expecting that person to give you the same time and attention just because you have nothing better to do. That’s the thin line you need to understand if you want to learn how to stop being needy. [Read: 19 ways to pull back in a relationship when you’re giving too much]

13. Respect each other’s space

When they ask for alone time, make sure you respect it. Everyone needs some quiet time to get away from it all.

But don’t think that whenever they ask for space, they’re pushing you away. It just means that they’re keeping themselves from being smothered by all the things they have to deal with every day.

When you grant them alone time, remember that it’s not because you did something wrong. Rather, it’s because everyone needs to recharge from time to time. Maybe this can also be the perfect time for you to get some alone time, as well. [Read: How to give space in a relationship without drifting apart]

14. Is there something missing?

Sometimes, neediness can pop up when we need something, and we’re looking for it in our relationship. For example, you’re bored with your job, and you’re looking for excitement.

Instead of going out there and searching for better work opportunities or more interesting tasks, you call up your partner and invite them on an exciting date.

But of course, since your partner can only provide you with so much, you’ll keep wanting more and expecting more from them to fill the void you’re feeling.

Not only will this kind of neediness and clinginess exhaust anyone, but it also won’t solve your problem of finding independence or succeeding in your own life. In all honestly, you may actually be dragging your partner down just because you’re bored with your life! [Read: 15 types of bad girlfriends who make a guy’s life hell]

15. Sometimes, it’s your partner and not you

We can sometimes start to feel insecure when we feel our grasp on our relationship slipping away. So what we do is try to cling onto it by prompting communication, going out on dates frequently, and basically trying to resuscitate the whole thing.

However, there may also be times when no matter how we try to keep our end of the bargain, it’s our partner that’s no longer interested.

If you think this is happening in your relationship, we suggest you talk to them about it. If they admit that they’re not as invested as they once were, you can both try to work on it. Or as many other couples do, just let it go. [Read: 22 signs you’re losing interest in the relationship and slowly letting go]

16. But, it’s also a reflection of you

Sorry to break the news to you, but being needy is a reflection of yourself. So, it’s time you took responsibility for your neediness and accept it for what it is.

By accepting this, you can start the process of change to stop being needy. Yes, you’re needy, and there’s nothing wrong with admitting that if anything is a healthy sign of mindfulness and awareness. [Read: Am I clingy? How to really know the truth about yourself]

17. Actively work on your trust issues

This is a given. If you want to move forward with your partner and not be so needy, work on your trust issues.

Yes, you have trust issues. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be reading this. You need to challenge yourself and see why you have trust issues. What started them?

18. Focus on yourself instead

If you want to know how to not be needy in a relationship, you need to remember that you’re the only person who can change you.

So, if you want to change, you need to focus on yourself. Take some time and spend it with yourself. Think about your relationship and how you feel about it. It’s time to self-reflect and start to learn about yourself. [Read: How to focus on yourself in a relationship and avoid losing yourself]

19. Be mindful of your body language

Our bodies usually react first to situations, but we’re not self-aware enough to notice it happen. Practice self-awareness and focus on your body language.

Neediness can also be physical. Even the way you touch your partner can exhibit neediness. [Read: How to respond like a grownup when someone ignores you deliberately]

20. Spend time with other people

Your life doesn’t only include your partner. If you want to become less needy in your relationship, then you need to become more independent.

That’s right! Start seeing your friends, hang out with your family, and take up a hobby. You need to fulfill yourself with other things besides your partner.

21. How do they feel about the situation?

At the end of the day, it really comes down to communication. How are you feeling? Does your partner know? Do you know how your partner is feeling about your neediness?

Sit down with them and lay all the cards on the table. This is the first real step in working on the relationship and reducing the neediness. [Read: How to communicate in a relationship and have a stronger, better love] 

22. Empathize with your partner

Your partner is going through a hard time alongside you, but you just don’t realize it yet.

Your partner has their own set of insecurities and emotions they’re going through as well. Instead of trying to control them, learn to empathize with them and see their point of view.

23. Avoid creeping their social media

Oh gosh, we think we’re all guilty of doing this! But listen, creeping your partner’s social media until you find something “suspicious” isn’t going to help you out.

The goal is not to feel the need to double-check every move they make online. Your goal is to trust your partner is making the right decisions. [Read: 15 things a guy shouldn’t do on Instagram when you have a girlfriend]

24. Question yourself and figure out your ‘why’

Remember that learning how to not be needy in a relationship is not going to be something you change about yourself overnight. It’s going to take time and self-awareness. But it’s completely worth it.

When you’re doing your usual routine, stop and ask yourself why you’re doing this. If you’re texting your partner 20 times in a row, before sending another text, think to yourself, why am I doing this? Then you’ll start to connect your behavior to your feelings. [Read: How to learn to love someone without smothering them]

25. Create a plan with your partner

While working on yourself, create a plan with your partner. Sit down and create a reasonable strategy of how you can work through this. This isn’t a one-way street.

If you want to stop being needy, identify the triggers and focus on a realistic way of handling them.

26. Look at the type of partner you have

Now, we don’t want to point the finger at your partner. But there’s a chance your partner is contributing to this.

If they’ve cheated on you in the past or exhibited narcissistic behavior, this can make you feel insecure with yourself and your partner, leading you to become needy. [Read: How to recognize an emotionally distant partner and deal with it]

27. Talk to a therapist

A little therapy never hurts anyone. If your neediness is becoming a serious problem in your relationship, talk to a professional. They’ll be able to invest the time with you to figure out why you behave like this and will give you tools on how to improve yourself.

[Read: How to stop being possessive in a relationship and love better]

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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The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...