In the social world or in the dating world, bargaining is behavior performed with the expectation of a social reward.
Neediness is its motivation. Neediness is when you value other people’s impressions of you above your own behavior. Confidence, or non-neediness, is when you value your raw behavior and self-respect above people’s impressions of you.
When you’re needy, your identity and your behavior are driven by gaining external approval, not by creating internal approval. Thus, if you feel the need to bargain with the world for a sense of self, these should be familiar:
- Learning pickup lines and routines.
- Blabbing about your sex life to show people you’re desirable.
- Dating or sleeping with people you don’t even like or who don’t even appreciate you. To a needy person, that’s preferable to being alone and holding out for someone of quality.
- Getting lead on while hoping for a deeper relationship.
- Performing behaviors and manipulative tactics to hold power in the interaction.
- Deliberately making moves to avoid getting ghosted.
On the “get a fucking therapist” end of the neediness/confidence spectrum, we have:
- Calling or texting someone multiple times when they don’t respond.
- Getting major anxiety over whether someone is into you. (I’m not judging, this used to be me)
- Insulting someone, or being actively or passively aggressive when they don’t return interest.
- Obsessing over someone. Not just being attracted to them, OBSESSING and thinking of fantasy scenarios where they notice you or finally give you a chance to date them.
A non-needy, confident person doesn’t bargain like that. Their confidence comes from within, which is cliche but true. The not-so-cliche part is that their self-worth is built in external reality.
Confident/non-needy behavior includes:
- Assuming innate self-worth instead of bargaining for it.
- Not spilling unnecessary details of your dating/sex life.
- Only dating/sleeping with people who appreciate you and whom you appreciate. Holding unbreakable standards for your partners.
- Not tolerating being lead on, subcommunicating the terms of the interaction from the start.
- Seeing the interaction as an energy exchange, not as a battle for dominance.
- Forgetting about people who aren’t interested in you.
Why do people get needy?
Simply put, non-actualized sexual desire + a fragile sense of self = neediness.
Sexual drive is a powerful motivator. It goes beyond rationality. It gets needy men and women making fools of themselves in hopes of a sexual relationship.
When this drive is kept in check, it leads to healthy sexual relationships. Men become better men and women become better women.
When it’s kept out of check, the Seven Sins of Dating run amok.
A solid sense of self keeps sex drive in check, actualized or not.
Needy people get their sense of self from subjective impressions (ex. being considered smart, strong, fast, anxious, depressed, nice, androgynous, semi-automatic, dodecahedral, etc.)
Confident, non-needy people of character get their sense of self from their behavior (ex. working out, going to church, abstaining from drugs, creating art, studying, working, etc.)
A sense of self built on raw behavior holds up against doubt, trauma, invalidation, and anything else that dares to threaten it. If you self-identify as a football player because you play football, no one can invalidate that identity because it’s based in tangible reality, not in immaterial impression.
Whereas if you self-identify as being smart, that’s an easy identity to threaten. If someone considers you a dumbass, who’s right? I don’t know. It’s a subjective impression that’s dependent on other people’s opinions of you.
If your sense of self is dependent on whether/how often you get laid, whether you have a boyfriend/girlfriend, and your dating/sex life in general, that’s needy and dependent on subjective impressions. It’ll repel anyone whose sense of self doesn’t also come from those. It leads to destructive promiscuity and obsession with sexual validation.
Ideally, two people will date not to MAKE each other’s lives, but to share their lives with each other, then stop dating if deal-breakers or distance arise, then if those don’t arise, to generate the necessary emotional energy to get more intimate with each other, and to potentially be long-term partners.
If you worry about how to come off as an honest, worthy partner so people see that you have your life together and aren’t dependent on sexual validation, that’s still a needy subjective impression.
People who actually ARE a certain kind of person don’t worry about that image or about people seeing them contrary to it. They embody those traits no matter what anyone thinks of them because said traits have been concretely proven, not just affected.
People, especially women, have a sixth sense for neediness. That’s why affecting a false, constructed image leads to vapid, fleeting sexual successes at best.
That leads to the next dating sin: Dishonesty.