How to Deal With Friends Who Are Needy & Neurotic

by Kristen Moutria

    If you have friends that are needy and neurotic, you might not understand the reason for their behavior. Perhaps you wonder if they are set on being unsatisfied in life, or what it will take to make them happy. You might even think there is nothing that can be done to change their mindsets. Even if you cannot control your friends, you can control the way you react to their behavior. Eventually they will either learn to change their attitude or your friendship will be in danger.

    If your friends are acting overly needy and neurotic towards you, they might be struggling with self-doubts you are unaware of. Insecurity is at the root of neuroticism, according to Dr. Fran Cohen Praver, clinical psychologist and relationship analyst. If you focus on the positive qualities that your friends possess, you may be able to boost their confidence and give their self-esteem a boost. Instead of feeling like they have to beg for compliments or try to get attention from others, they will already feel affirmed and may stop acting so needy.

    There may be a deeper reason for your friend's needy behavior. Perhaps they struggled with a hurtful experience in childhood or constantly had to deal with parents who ignored them. Past experiences may lead to neediness or neuroticism, according to Dr. Mark Banschick, psychiatrist and author of The Intelligent Divorce book series. By understanding the background of each of your neurotic friends, you may begin to recognize a deeper reason behind their behavior. It may take a few talks for you to learn about each friend's history.

    Take the time to have a talk with your needy friends and listen to their perspective on your friendship. You may explain how you have changed a lot in the past few years, and that you have grown apart. This is especially true if you are college-aged, since the years after high school graduation through college are the ones where people grow and change a great deal, according to Irene S. Levine, a psychologist and professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine. Explaining that your relationship has permanently changed may help your friends understand that you will no longer be as close as you used to be, whether the reason is that you no longer have time or that you have become a different person.

    If you have tried everything in your power to get your needy friends to become confident and they still do not make the effort to stop being neurotic, it may be time for you to offer an ultimatum. Explain that you feel like your friendship is unhealthy, and that although you were once closer, too many things have changed for you to enjoy a fulfilling relationship. Let them know that they must stop being so needy or your friendship will be over for good, because you do not have the strength or the patience to constantly encourage them or get them into a more positive mindset.

    About the Author

    Kristen Moutria has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Evangel University. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in education from the University of Nebraska.

    Photo Credits

    • David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images