What are you saying when you call someone “needy”?

In one of my favorite movies, “What about Bob?”, Bill Murray plays the role of Bob. Bob is obsessed with getting help from his therapist (Richard Dreyfus). There is a scene in which Bob pleads with his therapist:

“I need, I need, I need. Give me, give me, give me!”

You might say, Bob is acting needy.

Needy, as I define it, refers to a situation in which someone is lacking effective strategies for meeting their needs.  Bob behaves in ways that don’t consider others and don’t consistently meet needs for himself.

He also has just a few strategies for meeting all his needs. These strategies usually interfere with his other needs as well. Desperation, anger, and intolerance come up when the few strategies he knows get blocked.

If you have someone like Bob in your life, one thing you can do is “interrupt to connect”. Interrupt them with a guess at what their need might be, and to express your own. Then offer a request that might meet both.

Interrupting in this way is a gift to the person who may be struggling to become conscious of their own needs. It doesn’t mean harmony will be the immediate result. Sometimes things get rockier before they get better! The road to a deeper more fulfilling connection with yourself and those around you can be pretty uncomfortable, but better in the long run.

It’s your willingness to compassionately express the truth of what’s going on for you that helps us all to shed our confusion and live with clarity and peace.  

The next time you notice that you are calling yourself or someone else “needy”, take a moment and ask yourself if particular needs have been attached to one or two specific ways of meeting those needs.  If so, come up with five other ways those needs could be met.  In this way, you can move from “needy” to need responsibility.

Source: LaShelle Lowe-Charde