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10 Habits of Needy People and How to Recognize Them


Have you ever been with someone who likes to call or text all throughout the day? Someone who gets upset if you don’t pay attention to them? Or someone who wants to be constantly reassured that you do care about them?

This type of person can be labeled “needy.” It can get easily frustrating to deal with them especially when they become overbearing and too dependent on you. In relationships of any kind, there should be equal “give and take.” So when we feel that someone always has to “take” more from us, we may start to feel exhausted.

In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the psychology of needy people and the habits that they mostly have in common. Whether you want to avoid needy people or hope to understand them, these points for reflection can surely help you.

The psychology behind neediness

Before we judge those who exhibit neediness, we should try to understand why they behave the way they do in relationships. 

In psychology, the Attachment Theory explains that children’s relationship with their caregivers defines how they seek connection with others all the way to adulthood.

For example, if a child received less care from their mother in infancy, they may seek a lot of attention from romantic partners as they grow up.

The Attachment Theory was used to develop the four attachment styles which categorize how we navigate our relationships in adulthood. These attachment styles include:

  • Secure.
  • Avoidant.
  • Anxious.
  • Disorganized.

When talking about neediness, the anxious attachment style can best define this trait. Those who are categorized as “anxious” in relationships may show neediness through:

  • Fear of abandonment.
  • Need for constant closeness.
  • Seeking attention and recognition.
  • Lack of self-worth.
  • Tendency to be codependent.

Being the anxious type can have negative effects on our relationships.

In a study about attachment styles, those who are anxious were found to demonstrate jealousy, distrust, and even psychological abuse toward their partner.

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Habits of needy people

We've written an entire article about how to stop being needy here, but how do you recognize needy people?

To recognize needy people in your relationships, here are 10 habits that you may notice.

1. They seek attention

All of us want to feel loved and cared for, and there’s nothing completely wrong with that. However, if someone needs to be the center of attention all the time, then it can become toxic.

Those who are needy always crave to be front and center. Oftentimes, they don’t realize that people around them also need to be looked after. It’s important that they recognize that the world doesn’t have to revolve around them 24/7.

2. They tend to be clingy

Because needy people tend to be attention-seekers, they can also appear clingy. They may want to spend a lot of time with you. And if you can’t be physically close to them, they may demand to be connected with you through calls or texts at all times.

If you have someone like this in your life, you may need to set firm boundaries about having time for yourself without them having to feel threatened or less loved.

3. They can be driven by insecurities

Needy people have a lot of insecurities whether they realize it or not. For example, having little confidence in themselves can lead to feelings of jealousy when their partner is out and about with other people.

They have low self-esteem, and as a result, they tend to need excessive reassurance from others.

Because they don’t trust themselves, needy people may also fail to cultivate trust in their relationships.

4. They need validation from other people

For needy people, the lack of self-worth can extend to seeking constant validation from other people. They put so much value in getting praise or compliments to feel secure about themselves.

It’s unfortunate that needy people don’t feel that they are ever good enough. Perhaps they’ve had traumatic experiences of being rejected in the past which is why every single thing they do has to have a stamp of approval from others.

5. They struggle to make decisions

Needy people’s lack of confidence can also manifest in situations where they have to make decisions. As a result, they may have to seek advice all the time or even let other people decide for them.

People who are indecisive also tend to take less responsibility for their actions. Because they couldn’t make a decision, they may try to blame others for the consequences.

If you recognize this trait in yourself, here's our article on how to be more decisive.

6. They are scared to be alone

Based on the Attachment Theory, those who have experienced being abandoned by their caregivers in childhood can grow fearful of being left alone.

Needy people tend to do everything in their power to stay in a relationship simply because they don’t want to be alone.

No matter how toxic things can be, they’d rather be with someone who isn’t right for them than to be on their own.

7. They struggle with communication

Needy people may be obsessed with calling or texting you all the time, but that doesn’t mean that they are great communicators. 

Neediness can manifest in such a way that they struggle to pinpoint what they truly need in a relationship.

They may say that they need a response to their text ASAP, but they can’t be vulnerable enough to tell you why they need such reassurance in the first place.

8. They find it difficult to trust

Trust is vital in any kind of relationship because it is also a sign of respect. Sadly, needy people are likely to drive people away because they find it difficult to put their whole trust in them.

Someone who’s needy may demand you to spend all your time with them because they can’t trust you when you’re out of their sight. This can quickly feel limiting and suffocating, and you may find yourself trapped in the cycle of having to reassure them all the time.

9. They overreact

Those who are needy can overreact toward the smallest of things. You may notice that they’re suddenly sulking or lashing out even when you don’t know what you have done to upset them.

As a result, you may feel like you’re always walking on eggshells when you’re around them. Sometimes, you may even find yourself lying to them just so you don’t trigger any intense reactions or accusations from them.

10. They can be manipulative

Needy people can try different tactics to get what they want or to keep someone in their life. They may try to appeal to your emotions through pity or guilt.

If someone is trying to make you feel bad about prioritizing yourself, then it’s a tell-tale sign that they are manipulating you to satisfy their own needs.

💡 By the way: If you want to start feeling better and more productive, we've condensed the information of 100's of our articles into a 10-step mental health cheat sheet here. 👇

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Wrapping up

Neediness can manifest in different ways such as attention-seeking, clinginess, and being overly insecure. No matter how much we care about a person, it can be extremely challenging to keep them in our life especially when they can’t trust us or allow us to be our own person.

However, neediness isn’t an inherently malicious trait. Most of the time, there’s a vulnerable and wounded inner child hiding underneath that needs compassion and healing.

If we look at it from a different perspective, maybe needy people aren’t always asking for too much. Perhaps they’re just requesting some kindness that any of us deserve.

Do you know any other habits of needy people? Do you recognize yourself in this article? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

Madel
Madel Asuncion Writer

Writer and advocate for young people's mental health. Firm believer of validating one’s feelings, prioritizing the inner-self, and finding happiness in a plate of chicken curry.

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