How to Stop Being Needy

April 18th, 2014 by Nick Notas 28 Comments

Needy Child

Neediness is the most misunderstood concept in dating. Everyone seems to have an opinion on what they think being needy means:

“Don’t text a girl too soon. Wait a while before you respond. Be careful of showing your interest early on — especially if she’s REALLY hot.”

But what if I told you that those actions aren’t necessarily needy?

Instead…

What if I told you that constantly worrying about whether or not you’re being needy is actually being needy?

Let’s clear up what neediness is and isn’t once and for all.

The real definition of neediness

To understand neediness in a romantic context, you must first understand self-confidence. Wikipedia defines it as:

Self-assuredness in one’s personal judgment, ability, and power.

Self-confidence means you trust in yourself and your own worth. You value your own opinion over what others think of you. You internally approve of who you are and what you do.

Therefore, someone who is not self-confident requires other sources to validate themselves. So…

Neediness means you don’t trust in yourself and your own worth. You value the opinions of others over your own. You seek external approval of who you are and what you do.

Simply put, being needy is caring more about how people perceive you rather than how you perceive yourself. Because of it, your behaviors and actions will revolve around pleasing others rather than satisfying yourself.

By this definition, it’s not about the actions you take but why you take them. The intention behind your actions is what makes you needy. Therefore, any action can be needy or self-confident depending on the mindset of where it comes from.

Why is being needy so unattractive?

Now that you know what neediness is, why is it such a turn off?

Think about it like this…

You and a woman just met. You barely know each other. She hasn’t had a chance to invest in you with her time and emotions.

You should want to get to know her, see if she’s willing to invest, and find out if she’s compatible with you. You shouldn’t need to win her over or need her approval.

Why would you? And what does that say about you?

It says that you’re desperate for attention from someone, anyone. It shows you’re obsessed with the idea of her rather than the actual person inside. Therefore, you must not have standards for yourself or many options in your life. You’re then seen as less desirable.

You’re also being dishonest. You’re always micromanaging or hiding your true opinions, wants, and desires for everyone else. You’re demonstrating that you don’t trust, value, or respect yourself. Would you trust a person like that?

Women are attracted to men who have the courage to lead and remain authentic.

Is external validation always wrong?

Gaining some validation from external sources isn’t all bad. Everyone wants to be liked or found attractive – that’s a normal human quality. If you never care about anyone else’s opinions, you may be a sociopath.

How often you seek external validation will change depending on who you’re dealing with.

It’s natural to seek some approval from people you have long-established connections with such as parents, close friends, or your significant other.

It’s not natural to seek constant approval from women you just met, have gone on a couple dates with, or haven’t even been intimate with. This includes your female friends you secretly desire.

And you especially shouldn’t seek approval from women who don’t invest in you.

I get weekly e-mails that say, “Nick, I really like this girl. But she barely responds to my texts, she’s cancelled on dates, and never commits to hanging out. How do I get her to like me without being needy?”

Every single time I want to reach through the screen and slap some sense into them. You are being the most needy motherfucker possible at that point.

This is how I'm going to start replying to those e-mails.

This is how I’m going to start replying to those e-mails.

Again, what does that say about you when you chase someone who ignores you or doesn’t value your time?

99% of the time you’re not going to convince a girl who’s uninterested to suddenly be interested. Nor should you want to.

She’s not going to say, “I haven’t given this guy the time of day and it’s so attractive that he still keeps crawling back.”

The only way to be non-needy in those situations is to walk away. Find women who interest you and who are interested in you.

How to be self-confident instead of needy

To become self-confident you must start adopting the mindset of “What do I want?” rather than “What does everyone else want?” And then repeatedly take actions that are congruent with that.

You can’t go around analyzing what every woman wants and trying to fit that mold. You will never attract the right people for you or have your needs fulfilled.

Instead, you have to think…

“What do I want to talk about despite how I may be perceived? What do I want to do in this situation? What do I want from this connection?”

This isn’t about being a dick or disrespecting others. You simply lead with your intentions and the other person decides whether or not to invest back.

Here are some examples of neediness vs self-confidence:

  • Overanalyzing if you should or shouldn’t approach a girl you find attractive. Not introducing yourself because she might think you’re creepy or will reject you immediately. Needy
  • Approaching a girl you find attractive regardless of how you think the situation may unfold or what the outcome may be. Self-Confident
  • Trying to memorize openers, lines, or routines just so you can talk to women.  Needy
  • Trying to talk to women as yourself, in the moment. Self-Confident
  • Pretending to be a friend or study buddy just to spend time with a girl you want to be romantic with. Needy
  • Willing to risk losing a girl by treating her like someone you’re interested in and expressing your sexual intentions. Self-Confident
  • Hiding or lying about what you believe in or who you are in fear of being judged. Needy
  • Being unashamed about your opinions and all parts of your personality. Self-Confident  
  • Delaying texting a girl back because you think it’ll make you look cool or like more of a “catch”. Needy
  • Delaying texting a girl back because it’s not first on your priority list or you have other things to do. Self-Confident
  • Texting a girl for weeks or months because she’s responding and you’re afraid asking her out will kill the connection. Needy
  • Texting a girl and asking her out because you want to see her. Self-Confident
  • Spending excessive money on or buying gifts for a girl you barely know so that she’ll like you. Needy
  • Paying for dinner because you genuinely enjoyed her company and liked what she had to offer. Self-Confident
  • Not going for a kiss during a date because you’re afraid she’ll reject you. Needy
  • Going for a kiss during a date even though she may not be interested. Self-Confident
  • Working on your health, lifestyle, or  social skills to impress other people. Needy
  • Working on improving yourself and building a happy life for yourself. Self-Confident 
  • Seeing an attractive woman and telling yourself she’s better than you or “out of your league” before you even know her. Needy
  • Seeing an attractive women and telling yourself she’s an equal who you want to get to know. Self-Confident
  • Chasing or staying with a girl who doesn’t invest in you, doesn’t respect you, or you know isn’t the right person because you’re afraid of being alone. Needy
  • Walking away from a girl who doesn’t invest in you, doesn’t respect you, or you know isn’t the right person regardless of being alone after. Self-Confident

Getting rid of neediness does not happen overnight, nor is it easy. But it begins by deliberately filtering your decisions through “What do I want?”

You will feel more satisfied and reinforce that this is the healthiest way to live. Before you know it, taking the self-confident path will become second nature.

Wanting help but being too afraid to ask on the forumNeedy
Wanting help but still being vulnerable and posting on the forum. Self-Confident

  1. JD on April 18, 2014

    I’ve been guilty of the “study buddy” thing. I’ve been trying to work on expressing my interest in a girl but in the moment I just chicken out and act like a friend. I know I’m just digging a deeper hole for myself.

    This gave me a better understanding of how to change things.

    • Nick Notas on April 18, 2014

      I have too man — especially back in college. But you have to consciously remind yourself of what you’re looking for with these girls.

      You should want them to invest in you romantically and not because you’re helping them study. Otherwise you’re going to end up frustrated over and over again.

  2. Nico on April 18, 2014

    Awesome article Nick.
    I found out by myself that being needy is one of the most difficult barrier to break, if you want to improve your quality of partners/friends. I’m sure it will help a lot of people down here !

    • Nick Notas on April 18, 2014

      Thanks Nico! It’s tough but persistent effort will get you there and the payoff is immeasurable.

  3. Cameron on April 18, 2014

    Solid article… almost. I liked the topic, i hadnt ever contrasted neediness and confidence so well on my own. Its just your recommendations for practicing self confidence/non-neediness seem to be based on how SHE is going to perceive you. It’s not demonstrating how you can FEEL confident about yourself. It seems like there’s an important difference, although I suppose just acting confident will still help you get her, it just won’t be natural. I’m still looking for advice that improves one’s internal sense of self-confidence.

    • Nick Notas on April 18, 2014

      Hi Cameron,

      I think you’re misunderstanding the examples. All the points are there to show you how you DON’T worry about other people’s perception and instead consider what is best for you. That is true self-confidence. Some of the examples just happen to be in romantic context. But there are others which continue to show how to develop your own confidence outside of that:

      “Hiding or lying about what you believe in or who you are in fear of being judged. Needy
      Being unashamed about your opinions and all parts of your personality. Self-Confident

      Working on your health, lifestyle, or social skills to impress other people. Needy
      Working on improving your life and being happy for yourself. Self-Confident

      Nothing in the article is telling you to focus on how women will perceive you — in fact it’s all the opposite.

  4. Joseph on April 18, 2014

    Fantastic article dear Nick, all so true and self-evident. Thank you so much! Thats nothing new, but just for my self to remember
    Thinking how to act like a self-confident person in order to get laid. NEEDY
    Working on your self confidence in order to have a healthier life in general. CONFIDENT

    • Nick Notas on April 18, 2014

      Thanks and you’re very welcome Joseph. Love the examples — I might have to use them haha.

  5. Andrew on April 18, 2014

    Excellent article Nick, with great examples to back it up. I agree that developing this mindset takes deliberate, long-term practice. Also, your points correlate with those of a recent Art of Manliness article titled “How to be Assertive,” which expands the ideas to a lifestyle choice.

  6. Fabricio Semmler on April 19, 2014

    Thank you so much for your time writing this article, Nick. It helped me a lot.
    All your knowledge did.
    Please keep on writing.
    I desire peace and harmony to you and your family.

    Goodbye,
    Fabricio, São Paulo, Brazil.

    • Nick Notas on April 21, 2014

      You’re welcome Fabrico. I am so happy that my advice helped and I promise to keep on writing. Hope you had a wonderful Easter!

  7. Michael Graham on April 20, 2014

    Amazing article. Very informative and real. Thanks for investing your time in helping us Nick.

    Much appreciated. Keep writing.

    Be blessed

    Michael Graham

    • Nick Notas on April 21, 2014

      Thanks for reading Michael. I’ll continue keeping it real.

  8. JRT on April 20, 2014

    While you have not mentioned this example specifically, isn’t it a good indication of neediness when your mood heavily depends on how things are going with regards to your crush? For instance, I feel euphoric when there are signs that my crush has feelings for me but I feel terrible and don’t get anything done, when there are signs that the contrary is the case. I’m not 100% sure but doesn’t this display a lack of self-confidence? Shouldn’t a confident man be happy regardless of the fact that a girl has feelings for him or not? While I am otherwise pretty self-confident, this is an issue that has been bothering me for a while now and it is quite hard to overcome it…

    • Nick Notas on April 21, 2014

      Yeah, if you’re happiness is seriously dictated by a new crush then I would say you need to work on self-confidence. It’s normal to want things to go well but if they don’t, it shouldn’t make you feel terrible for an extended period of time. It’s obviously different if we’re talking about someone you’re in a long-term relationship with.

      Much of this comes back to investing in yourself. Learn to be happy with just you. Build a lifestyle that fulfills you — find engaging hobbies, broaden your social circle, get healthier, etc. You should be independent and satisfied and want (not need) someone to share that with.

      • JRT on April 24, 2014

        You’re right. That’s why it’s best to quickly move on if the woman you are interested in is not interested in you. In the beginning it’s so much easier to just walk away but with every month in the friend zone it becomes harder and harder…

  9. Matt on April 20, 2014

    Loved the examples in your article Nick. I have one of my own to add on that I’ve learned from experience.

    “Going for a kiss on date, even though you know the energy is not flowing between you or the timing is not right.” –> Needy

    “Intuitively knowing the right moment to kiss.” –> Self Confident

    Great work as always. Looking forward to your next article.

  10. Jon on April 22, 2014

    Informative and very practical, as always! Every article I read on here definitely helps out!

    • Nick Notas on April 22, 2014

      Happy to hear it Jon. Hope you’ve been well!

  11. C on April 22, 2014

    Good article Nick,a little light though. We all know the difference between needy and self confident but whats more important is where the neediness comes from in the first place. Whats required is to go deeper, and ask why am I needy? What has caused me to become needy? At the source is of your ego is the answer,we often make the mistake that self confidence is built layer upon layer, but this is false. Self-confidence is almost a default state once you remove the layers of insecurity and neediness, the true freedom you find within yourself once you’ve let go of wrong beliefs and accepted yourself totally as a regular human being. Believing you are worse OR better than others is a defense mechanism that keeps you from the truth. This is very philosophical I know, but it is also very true. Take the skinny guy who works out because it will give him the confidence to get women.He improves himself for others approval,even if it works it is a hollow victory because it is ultimately fake and un-natural,his motivation that is, not the act of working out.
    Now imagine an overweight man who decides to change his lifestyle after years of indulgence and being a lard ass, to better himself for the good of himself(and in reality others,as those who look after themselves insure they will not become a burden on healthcare, family etc.) and his health. His perspective and motivation is positive and aligned with what is natural in life(which is to look after health) and because of this is less fueled by the inflated ego and more by the heart.

    So what am I saying is go deeper,as deep as you can and ask why you feel nervous in certain situations and what is the source of this anxiety? If you think it your looks/height/weight etc you are mistaken.
    Imagine you are well on your way to becoming a professional football player, but you lose your leg in a car accident before you make it, suddenly your life is turned upside down and your dream goes down the shitter. Heartbroken?Depressed? Bigtime! All normal reactions,because you see yourself, your life and your future as a football player and that is all you know yourself to be, that is your identity .This is a huge loss for your ego as it forces you to realize that much of what you identify with does not define you. You are a far bigger person than what you think yourself to be and you are that same person whether you teach math, play football or write movie scripts.You have a basic ego, likes and dislike, hobbies,place of birth family etc and certain things you cannot change but everything else is surplus!

    So when you become needy around a girl(or anyone) it is partly because you have an attachment to this person, that is to say some part of you(the ego) thinks you require this person. Even if you get with them you will still have a needy relationship, that would be pure pain! Constantly worrying and over analyzing ever minute detail- that’s how neurosis happens!

    When you make a move as a genuine expression of who you are it comes from a different place and has a different outcome, it is simply an authentic experience with no strings attached or expectation.
    To get do this place you must GO DEEPER. By all means improve yourself but do it to experience life as someone who is in shape, as someone who is outgoing, as someone who makes a lot of money, as someone who enjoys chasing beautiful women. Not as someone trying to cover up their insecure identity by sticking nice shiny things to it, like women or a nice body or loads of money.

    I make myself sound enlightened here but truthfully ever day I ask myself why I take certain actions and sometimes the answer is too impress people! I catch myself doing this and I laugh and make fun of myself.
    Going deeper into your motivations can be hard as it means you have to face some wild truths and the biggest one is you are not so special. You are not less or more, you simply are,as capable as anyone else, unique in your own way but ultimately the same as everyone. So GO DEEPER! Question yourself! Cool blog mate

  12. Jay on April 22, 2014

    This is one of them accidental-stumble-upon-articles that has made me gone, “WOAH, THAT’S ME.”
    Thanks for the insight Nick. No kidding when I say that this has changed my mindset for the better.
    (Where are you watching me from)

  13. Will on April 25, 2014

    Finally found my answer, amazing article :)

    I am 21 years old and now I just realized how “immature”, “no confidence”, “needy” I AM as a person..
    I will improve myself every single day now :)

    THANKS.

  14. Don on May 7, 2014

    Great post. I was guilty of being needy early on when I had low self-esteem. But as my self-esteem grew, I slowly lost the neediness. I stopped questioning all of the advice of waiting 3 days to contact her or appear needy, etc. I just did what I felt was right. If I liked the girl, I called or texted her when I wanted to. I stopped putting girls on pedestals and acting like they were great and it was my job to please them. We are all on equal footing here. While a good girl might like the pampering at first from a needy guy, it will quickly become annoying.

  15. kevin on August 11, 2014

    So I just recently broke up with a girl I really like over us arguing and not being able to figure things out in a stable manner. I have tried to talk about it over text and she won’t answer me back. I know I need to take a step back and figure out my self worth without her. I’m just worried while I’m doing that if she will get over me or be able to move on and I can’t handle that.

  16. Sarah on October 27, 2014

    This article applies to needy women very well too. I already knew that I was needy, mainly because my self-esteem became alot lower because of events in the past. I am currently in the early stages of beginning a relationship with a guy and I’m supposed to meet him for the first time in January (he lives in the UK, I live in Holland). We’ve known eachother for nearly 10 years, yet I am still insecure about the whole thing. I’m scared that something will happen which will result in us not meeting ever. I get anxious when he doesn’t message me for over a day – even if I send him a message first. Yet I try to keep myself from acting needy, which is taking me alot of effort. Because in the end I do know that he’s very busy with his work, and I do know that he loves me and that he’s not planning on cancelling our very first weekend together. Yet, somewhere deep inside, my inner critic keeps telling me other things. Your article is helping me as we speak, yet I want to add that I think it will take me, and perhaps others, a very long time to get rid of being needy in relationships.