You can’t wait on people hand and foot all day. People expecting this of you can be a nightmare! Here’s how to deal with overly needy people.
When the word “needy” is mentioned, who is the person that pops into your head? They might not mean to, but they have a way of driving you crazy with their constant demands. Whether it’s just to talk or if they really need you to do something, it’s still irritating.
I have a friend who is more than a little needy. She always needs me to be communicating with her, and when I don’t reply to her texts or ignore her requests to hang out—due to my busy life, not her—she gets offended and lets me know it.
Usually it just makes me want to roll my eyes, but there are days when I feel like tearing out my own hair due to her incessant need! Now, it’s partly her fault, but it’s also partly mine. We’re just different people and sometimes you have to realize the world is full of people unlike you.
Making living with needy people in your life tolerable
It’s one thing to have needy friends but it’s a completely different thing to have needy people who aren’t your friends. The difference is you chose one of them and you didn’t choose the other. But either way, they’re there and you have to put up with them.
You may have needy coworkers, a needy boss, a needy mom, or needy friends. No matter what they are to you, these are the best ways to deal with the needy people in your life.
#1 Stay calm—always. It’s so easy—for me, at least—to get worked up when you have a friend or coworker that needs you for everything. I get really frustrated and just want to yell at them, but I can’t. Because the reality is, it’s not really their fault. They’re just being themselves.
So take a deep breath and calm down. Realize they’re not personally attacking you and trying to make you upset or angry. They just want you to help them.
#2 Do what you can for them. Don’t always ignore them because this will make them angry with you. If you can help them out in any way, do it. It will not only shut them up for a while, but you’ll feel better about helping a friend instead of ignoring them.
#3 Be clear about your boundaries. Needy people usually have a tendency to cross that line when it comes to your personal boundaries. Not because they don’t care, but because they just don’t realize they’re doing it.
Having clear boundaries with people lets them know what they can or can’t come to you with. So if they need advice about personal stuff and they’re a coworker, just let them know you don’t get involved in that stuff. [Read: 12 ways to stop negative people from sapping your energy]
#4 Let them know why you can’t reply. If someone is texting or calling you all day long without giving it a rest, just shoot them a quick text that you’re busy and will get back to them later. Most needy people keep on pushing because, well, they need you right then.
By sending out this message, you’re keeping them quiet and giving them peace of mind that you’ll get back to them when you can and you’re not just ignoring them. It also makes them happy that you’re considering whatever it is they’re telling you.
#5 Don’t be afraid to say no. What overwhelms people the most about dealing with needy people is saying yes too much. You help too often and become the needy person’s go-to when it comes to just about anything.
Saying no every once in a while makes them branch out and go to someone else for help—leaving you off the hook. So just tell them you can’t every once in a while. But make sure to give them a realistic excuse. [Read: 12 ways to ignore someone who mentally stresses you]
#6 Be less available. This kind of goes along with saying no more, but it is a topic on its own for a good reason. If they know you’re sitting at home, not doing anything with all this free time, they’re going to be needy with you because they can be! You don’t have anything else to deal with.
By being busy with work, hobbies, and other friends, you’re sending the message you just don’t have time to put up with all that they give you. So get out there and do something!
#7 Keep realistic expectations for yourself. Don’t set yourself up for them to need you. Never promise you’ll be around more than you are and don’t assure them you can solve problems you can’t. They’ll just go to you for everything if they think you’re the one who can help them.
#8 Suggest other people that can help. If you aren’t in the mood or can’t deal with their neediness at the moment, suggest they go to someone else for their problem. Let them know you’re sorry, but so and so can probably help them out with whatever they need.
#9 Take it as a compliment. This always makes needy people much more tolerable for me. If they find comfort in going to you for everything and wanting to talk to you all the time, it’s a great compliment. They wouldn’t be going to you if they didn’t trust you, like you, and think you could help.
So you should really be happy whenever someone is especially needy with you. It means they admire you enough to seek out your input on just about everything.
#10 Let them know you need some space. Be honest with them. Just straight up tell them you can’t handle their “attention” and need some time to yourself. Usually that gets the message across. But sometimes people will keep coming back and you might need to cut them loose.
#11 Cut them loose. Some people just can’t have needy people in their life. And while all of these tips can help you deal with them, sometimes you just have to let them go from your life. Decide if this person is worth keeping around and worth all the stress and angst. If not, just taper off your communication until they’re no longer in your life.