When you think of a “needy” person, you may imagine someone who needs constant reassurance and validation from their partner and may scare them off in the process. A lot of us tend to think of being needy as a bad thing in terms of relationships, but it turns out, expressing your needs - in moderation - can actually be a positive thing.
Psychologist Dr. Sarah E. Hill explains that everyone’s needs are different and change over time, but they can help relationships thrive by helping us choose partners who meet our needs and make us happy. According to therapist Mary Sanker, our needs are our must-haves “to function, feel safe and show up as your best self.” So being up front and clear about your needs in a relationship can actually help strengthen your bond with your partner.
Sanker explains why neediness is important to a relationship:
- It builds trust - Having our basic needs met creates safety and security and builds trust. When we consistently trust our partner, we’re more likely to be vulnerable in the relationship and that helps it thrive.
- It builds intimacy - Knowing your needs is a sign you know who you are and that helps “to foster a deeper connection and a more fulfilling time together,” according to Sanker.
- It helps you figure out if you’re a good long-term fit - By sharing your needs, you feel seen and heard and are more likely to get what you want out of the relationship. If your partner can meet your needs, you’ll know that you could have a future together. Plus, expressing your needs directly means your partner doesn’t have to play a guessing game to figure them out and that can make them feel more at ease to share their own needs.
- To express your needs without seeming too needy, Hill recommends saying, “This is important to me,” instead of “I need …”