Are you wondering how to stop being needy with women you’re dating? First, let’s talk about the definition of neediness, which is depending on someone else’s attention to make you feel secure. It’s pretty much a ticking time bomb when it comes to relationships.
First, it just feels awful. Being the “clinger” in a relationship dynamic means you stay in a constant state of insecurity, worrying that the other person isn’t interested, or might leave you. Then, you might end up doing things you regret, like staying with someone who doesn’t respect you, just because she’s hot — or because you’re afraid to be alone.
But the worst part is, being needy almost guarantees that you’ll ruin a good thing, because it almost always changes a woman’s perception of you. Eventually, she no longer sees you as the confident man that she wants … which then makes her actually leave.
Sound familiar? Then it’s time to break the cycle. Read on to find out how to stop being needy with women you’re really into, and make them chase you instead.
First, Make Sure You Recognize All the Signs
Being too needy in a relationship will make you act out in all kinds of ways. Recognizing all the ways your neediness comes out is an important first step towards change. Do you ever use these tactics?
Constantly Asking Her What She’s Doing
Maybe you ask her questions to piece together her full schedule for the day. Or, if it takes a while for her to call you back, you ask where she’s been. Do you really need to know what she’s doing every hour? While you might feel like you’re being attentive, she could feel “monitored.”
Complimenting Her Too Much
Compliments can seem needy when they’re overboard. If you’re showering her with compliments to the point where it’s repetitive, ask yourself: Are you really just trying to get her to like you more?
If she has plans with someone else, maybe you act like you’re mad. Or if she says something nice about a guy friend, you get edgy and weird. A lot of times, this is your insecurity showing.
Perhaps you’ve only gone out with her a couple of times, but you’ve already told her some of your deepest secrets. Take a moment to recall her reaction when you did this.
Did she ask you questions to encourage you to keep talking, or did she look a little freaked out and glassy-eyed? Oversharing is kind of like over-complimenting — it’s another way we try to get people to like us. And it’s a sign of neediness.
Constantly Calling or Texting
Are you a double-texter? Or do you keep calling without leaving a message, hoping she’ll pick up? If so, stop. It creates a really desperate energy that will almost certainly chase her away.
Laying on Guilt Trips
Let’s say she can’t make it to your art showing because she already told a friend she would give them a ride to the airport. You could accept her “no” gracefully, or you could whine about how your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity feels ruined now because she doesn’t care enough to be there. You get my drift. Making her feel obligated never wins in the long run.
Ganging Up on Her with Other People’s Opinions
If you guys disagree, do you get other people’s opinions and then tell her afterward that everyone’s on your side? If you find yourself saying things like, “I asked so-and-so about it and they thought the same,” maybe you’re trying to bully her into doing what you want out of neediness.
Giving the Silent Treatment
You might be the type to ignore her all of a sudden, if she pisses you off. Going dark on text or otherwise dropping off the face of the earth when you feel angry might make her come crawling back once, but it gets old pretty quick.
Once you have an idea of some of the ways you act needy in relationships, you can start to use some techniques to change your mindset — many of which are surprisingly simple.
How to Stop Being Needy, Tip #1: Listen to Her More
When you’re needy, you’re too focused on yourself. You may be looking for someone to soothe something inside you — feelings of insecurity, or loneliness, perhaps — instead of really trying to get to know the other person.
There are lots of problems with this, but the two main ones are 1) you won’t see who you’re really dating, and 2) if she actually ever did give you the attention you’re seeking, it would only justify your insecure way of being in relationships.
So how do you battle this? Start with the practice of listening. If you listen to her more attentively, the dynamic between the two of you will shift almost immediately. Not only will it take the focus off your own neediness, but it’ll give you a better picture of who she is, and if she’s really compatible with you.
To really listen to the woman you’re with, keep these tips in mind:
- Ask her lots of questions (here’s some first date questions, second date questions, and third date questions)
- Respond based on what she actually says — not just what you’re already thinking or waiting to say.
- Interrupt her less.
- Avoid long speeches or stories if she doesn’t look engaged.
- Don’t mansplain!
Making an effort to listen will help you see her more as a real person, rather than just someone you’re using to fulfill a needy fantasy.
How to Stop Being Needy, Tip #2: Meditate
Meditation is an investment, so it may take a while to see the benefits. But taking as little as 5-10 minutes a day to practice it could make an enormous difference. Here are some of the ways that meditation can help you feel less needy over time:
You’ll be less reactive. A recent study found that just 20 minutes of mediation can tame your emotional responses to negative stimuli. That means you’ll be better at keeping your cool around things that would normally trigger feelings of insecurity.
You’ll understand yourself better. Meditation can give you a sense of clarity about yourself that you might not have had before. It can help you notice the subtleties in your emotions, so you can catch your neediness before it turns into bad behavior that sabotages your relationship.
You will be more present with her. Meditating regularly can also stop you from getting caught up in your own inner thoughts while you’re with her.
How to Stop Being Needy, Tip #3: Look at Your Attachment Style
Do you sometimes wonder where all this neediness came from? Attachment theory might be able to explain how your childhood caused you to be clingy in relationships. There’s a lot to this concept, so if you want to dive into it in detail, you can start by checking out the book, Attached.
Basically, attachment theory says that depending on how your parents responded to your needs as a child, you developed one of three different “attachment styles” — in other words, ways of coping in relationships. Here’s a quick breakdown:
If you have a:
… secure attachment style, that means your needs were met adequately as a child, and you are able to trust relationships in general.
… avoidant attachment style, that means your parents responded negatively when you expressed your needs, so as an adult, you fear/avoid getting close to others.
… anxious attachment style, that means your parents were unpredictable when it came to responding to your needs, so you cling to relationships as an adult.
If you feel needy in relationships, guess which style you might be? You got it … anxious.
Again, I highly encourage you to look more deeply at attachment theory if you’re interested. It can be incredibly eye-opening, and there’s great advice out there on how to work on moving toward a more secure attachment style, so you can improve your relationships.
How to Stop Being Needy, Tip #4: Communicate Mostly in Person
Here’s an exercise for you: Look back at the text threads with the last few women you dated. Do you see five rows of text for every one row received? Maybe they look a little something like this:
YOU: Good call on spotting that outdoor jazz quartet in the plaza last night. 🙂 I wouldn’t have noticed they were setting up when we were walking by if you hadn’t said something.
Her: Haha, yep!
YOU: I loved the atmosphere there, it was so cool. Was the perfect end to a perfect night. And the band was so good. Maybe we should try to see them again sometime. I wonder if they’re local?
Her: Not sure.
YOU: Just looked them up … I think they’re based in Philadelphia? So I guess they’re touring right now.
YOU: You know, they kind of remind me of another group I saw play a couple of years ago at the Wiltern. It’s that group of all guitar players, pretty lively, I think they’re Spanish? I forget …
[2 hours later]
YOU: GIPSY KINGS! That was bugging me. I hate when something’s on the tip of my tongue like that but I can’t remember it. Isn’t that the worst?
Hopefully you notice that she’s responding with one word answers while you’re sending her paragraphs. If you’re getting only “lol,” “cool,” or worse, just an emoji, then you probably should have ended the conversation there.
Also, how long did you wait before sending yet another message before she even replied to your first one? Make sure to ask one question at a time and wait for her response. If she doesn’t respond in 48 hours, then you can follow up.
Finally, don’t text for reasons other than setting up the date. Even better — pick up the phone and call her.
How to Stop Being Needy, Tip #5: Fill Up Your Social Calendar
Try not to let the woman you’re seeing be your only source of entertainment. It’s easier said than done, I know, especially if you have a busy work life as it is. But if you make an effort to do other things socially without the woman you’re dating, you’ll be less needy because you won’t feel like you have all your eggs in one basket.
In fact, you could schedule your days off just like you do work. Set calendar appointments for friends, family, and things you WANT to do. Then, stay true to your commitments. If you only have two or three hours of availability each week, you’ll naturally be a scarce resource. And women love things that are hard to get.
How to Stop Being Needy, Tip #6: Start a Challenging Workout
My boyfriend and I love taking this really difficult interval spin class. When the class is over, the only person you’re thinking about is yourself, because you’re trying to recover from the heavy intensity of the workout. You’re getting your breath back and feel the strain in your legs. When you arrive home, all you want to do is shower and sit on the couch and recover.
You might think about doing something similar. If you find a really challenging workout, you won’t be worried about a text message that didn’t come through from the woman you’re dating. Spin is what we like to do; what do you like to do?
How to Stop Being Needy, Tip #7: MegaDate
If you’re getting too hung up on one woman, channel that excess energy into messaging more women on the apps, going out and starting more conversations with people in person, and putting yourself out there to new women in general.
It’s so important to keep your dating funnel full so you don’t get one-itis and freak out on just one woman you’re super into. We’ve all done it — but you can control it if you channel that energy into more than one person.
How to Stop Being Needy, Tip #8: Hire a Dating Coach
Voicing your anxieties to a coach can be a healthy and empowering way to get that excess energy out of your body. It can also be a useful sounding board to learn more about what certain things mean and what course of action you should take. For example, sometimes it feels like the right thing to do is to keep calling until she answers, because you’re so wrapped up in the thick of it that you can’t see the bigger picture. So, having an outside perspective from an expert on similar situations can give you clarity.
If you’re ready to give coaching a try, feel free to book a 1-on-1 New Client Skype session with me to get started. We can look at your past dating situations together and see what changes you can make to get better results. We can also see if my 3-month Signature program is right for you.