Sure, needy people can be annoying (and I say this as a very needy person). However, our feelings about a person who is vocal about his or her needs is often a reflection of how we feel about our own needs. Like most human behaviour, it’s complicated. The School of Life breaks it down.
You’ve probably dealt with a needy friend, family member, or acquaintance at some point. They text you incessantly asking for emotional support. They ask why you don’t call or visit more often. There could be a number of different reasons you’re uncomfortable around someone like this, but here’s something to consider: It might be a reflection of your own self-consciousness. Here’s how the School of Life puts it:
We will feel someone is sickeningly ‘needy’ when we don’t see ourselves as appropriate targets of someone else’s need. Somewhere inside, we don’t trust that we are reliable, strong, dependable, admirable or decent; we aren’t quite grown-up, and those who need something from us, therefore, come across as deranged and fitting targets for mockery… At the root of our hatred of so-called needy people is self-hatred… They rightly presume showing need is a precondition of strength rather than weakness.
It’s a bold claim, but something to think about if you find yourself pushing away a friend who needs you and isn’t afraid to ask. It’s a useful perspective if you’re a needy person, too. If you keep reaching out to someone and they don’t reciprocate, it might be that they don’t feel as comfortable putting themselves out there as you do. As always, The School of Life lays it out beautifully in the video above.
In Defence Of ‘Needy’ People [The School of Life (YouTube)]