In grad school, ya boy took advantage of the free university counseling services included in the student activity fees. My counselor and I were in platonic love, and our sessions were so fun, chatty, and meaningful that we joked about live streaming them. After learning I hadn’t had a serious, long-term boyfriend yet, she took a special interest in wanting to know about the way I present myself to people on dates or on dating apps. Despite telling her I fucking hated the idea, we did some casual role playing.
And we learned a lot. We recognized that I felt very uncomfortable talking about my profession since not many people understand what it means, so instead of talking about something that matters a lot to me, I avoided the subject because didn’t want to make someone feel inadequate. We talked about the level of follow-up I wanted after a date, noting that I’d feel very self-conscious following up immediately, or even expressing how much I enjoyed someone’s presence, because I didn’t want to be “needy.” (Suddenly I’m getting flashback’s to yesterday’s post about the 64-year-old man). My boss-ass counselor cut me off.
Counselor: “What’s so wrong with being needy?”
Juan: “Duh, the obvious. You have to play it cool and not make yourself seem like you’re not high-maintenance.”
Counselor: “Tell me what is high-maintenance about wanting to talk about your job. If you were on a date with someone whose job you didn’t know very well, would you find it needy for them to want to explain it to you?”
Juan: “Well, no, but–”
Counselor: “Tell me what is high-maintenance about wanting to speak with someone you connected with and being excited to continue a connection. If someone were interested in you, would you think it was needy even if they texted you 10 minutes after the date?”
Juan: “Of course not, but–”
Counselor: “Tell me what is high-maintenance about wanting to tell someone you felt something special on a date. If someone were interested in you, would you think it was needy for them to tell you they like you?”
My girl called me out! I still smile thinking about it. After she dropped the mic, she continued to explain how the root of “needy” is “need” — we have needs. In my case, if understanding the work I do and keeping open, consistent communication with me are needs, then I have to find someone who can meet those needs. There will be people who aren’t capable of doing that; that’s fine. But there will be many people whose needs match ours and they will not deem them “needy.” They will actually be quite delighted.
What are the needs you suppress in order to make someone else feel comfortable, resulting in your own demise? Which fundamental desires have you written off as immature or juvenile because your partner hasn’t satisfied them? Thanks to my counselor, a true angel in dark lipstick, I will never consider myself needy. I will also never tell myself that the same behavior I deem unacceptable for myself is acceptable for someone else, which sets us up for a lifetime of giving “passes” to my partner until the relationship eventually ends in flames. I tell everyone I know to own their needs and not qualify them as annoying or bothersome. Truth be told, the person who is right for you is going to hear your needs and not even bat an eye.