Our reader response to last week’s Ask a Guy feature was really great, so I decided to drill down deeper into one of the areas I discussed, namely neediness.
When I write dating tips and relationship advice for a new mode, I am writing to a female audience. But neediness is not gender-specific – guys make the mistake of being “needy” too! So I want you to know that I am putting this out there to help and inspire everyone to have more dating success, not to point fingers.
I can tell you from a guy’s perspective that when a girl says things like: “Why didn’t you call?” “Why don’t you have time for me?” “Why don’t you ever compliment me?” and pretty much any sentence that begins with ‘why didn’t you,’ it’s like nails on a chalkboard. Those kinds of statements will immediately put a guy on the defensive rather than motivating him to change and he’ll probably withdraw emotionally as a result… at least, for the moment.
Read the reasons for this after the jump.
I would say the core reason of this is that it attacks a guy’s sense of freedom and feeling of acknowledgment. What do I mean here? Well, when a girl starts down this chain of “Why didn’t you” it feels to a guy as if she isn’t noticing all of the other things he is doing for a relationship.
I can’t go into as much depth as I’d like to in this post, but men and women have different senses of how they’d like to be noticed for things (and what they’d like to be noticed for.) At the root of it, when a man feels like he can’t make a woman happy, he will not want to be in a relationship with her (or if he stays, he will not want to deepen it). On the other hand, when a woman acknowledges him for all the things he’s doing well, he will almost certainly want to deepen the relationship and stay in it. We’ll discuss in a future post…
Back to neediness: When a girl starts acting needy, especially in the beginning of a relationship, I look at it as the ultimate red flag. It’s not even a logical decision. Neediness, to me, is synonymous for ‘emotional dependency’, as in “this woman is dependent on you in order for them to feel good.” (FYI, we have a whole chapter on this in our new book “He’s Not That Complicated: How to Crack a Man’s Romantic Code to Get the Relationship You Want“)
In it of itself, that’s not a bad thing – in fact, that’s a very normal thing and within reason, is a sign of a good relationship. People in general need other people to feel good – we’re built that way. But if a girl starts acting needy towards a guy before he’s invested in her at all, he’s going to see her as a potential drag, weighing him down with her dependency on him. And he’ll want to run for the hills.
But hey, it’s the same the other way around. I would be pretty surprised if you never had a needy guy around you. Could you imagine what you would want to do if he was texting you?… and you didn’t want to be mean… but… whoops, “my battery died, sorry I didn’t call you back last night.” Nobody’s perfect.