I’ve just realized that up until about a month or so ago, I’ve been on and off behaving in a needy way around other people on and off for about 10 months (when I never did before). Now I have some self-awareness about this, I keep over-analysing my behaviour all the time to try and understand whether I’m coming off as desperate to the point where I second guess absolutely everything I’m doing and prevent myself from interacting with other people. When I do interact with other people, I keep hesitating before I say or do anything and am reluctant to initiate interactions because I have no idea if my behaviour is coming off as desperate. For instance, at an event the other day, a girl from this other university (who has initiated a few interactions with me, but I’m pretty sure only as a friend) asked me during a break if I wanted to come for a coffee with a group from her university and even though I wanted to go I thought I would look desperate if I said yes after I was just standing there by myself because it would look like I was just waiting for someone to ask me and that I was about to jump at the opportunity to go with someone so I ended up saying no to avoid coming off as desperate. (I don’t know if saying yes here means I’m being desperate and needy). I think that I also said no in a way that made me sound like an asshole that made me seem like I said no because I was acting like I was better than them, which wasn’t the case.
Another girl at university asked me for my name and for my help with something, and then I told her that I would send her the information by email, and was about to ask her for her name (even though I already knew it – but I didn’t want her to know that I already knew her name), but then thought that that might come off as needy and so hesitated for like five seconds as she was walking away and then just blurted out something like “This is your name, right?” after this hesitation that made it seem like I was into her and just trying to continue the conversation. I see her round from time to time and am attracted to her but have no idea how to behave around her (whether I should ignore her, whether I should say hi, whether I should smile when I say “hi’). The reason for this is that she initiated this interaction with me after I had happened to completely ignored her (to not come off as creepy in meetings), and I think the reason was probably because the behaviour made me come off as emotionally independent and I’m thinking now that if I start saying “hi”, rather than ignoring her, that this will signally neediness and desperation.
Another example is that I’m considering looking at other places to move into and rent, and want to organize to go to those other places, see the places and meet the people in them. In the past, I’ve looked at a million different places and met the people in those places a million times, and at no point would ever think about things such as how long should the conversation last, how long should I hang around when the conversation seems to be dwindling, should I attempt to re-start the conversation, at what point should I leave, etc. because everything always felt natural. I’ve just been thinking about seeing places this evening but I know that if I go around to look at other places I won’t know how to behave and will be a complete mess.
Another example is I can’t tell if asking people a lot of questions in a conversation is desperate, and how often I should ask questions and how much I should talk about myself. When I was being desperate I was just bombarding everyone with questions which makes me think that if I ask people too many questions now that will also be desperate. Again, I never used to have to worry about this type of thing in the past.
It sucks because in the past a lot of people used to really enjoy my company but there’s no chance to connect with other people now because I always end up cutting the conversation off too early to avoid doing something that can be seen as desperate, and I can tell that sometimes people get disappointed or angry because they think I’m deliberately trying to reject them and don’t want to talk to them, when sometimes it’s not the case.
How can I know if I’m engaging in a desperate way? Around the time this started happening, I was noticing a few people making passive-aggressive comments to me about how my behaviour was coming off as needy, and I think it was because at the time I was really depressed because I had a close friend that I was really attached to and had feelings for and had a really good connection with who started ignoring me for weeks after I ignored her one time (because I was angry about something). Then I started trying to interact with other people all the time to replace her to not feel so depressed all the time.
Now I don’t feel depressed (or nowhere near as depressed), but still can’t tell if my behaviour is coming off as desperate.
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