You’ve just been on an incredible date. On the way home, you decide to message to say you thoroughly enjoyed yourself. Feeling confused after two days of no response, you decide to message again. Once more, you haven’t received a reply. Sound familiar? There is a way to navigate the dating world by being persistent without looking needy. You just need to know the signs.
What is considered looking needy?
The dictionary defines ‘needy’ as a person needing emotional support as well as someone insecure. Even if you are the most confident, self-assured woman, it’s easy to fall victim to dating insecurity.
The uncertainty of dating paired with the vulnerability of putting yourself out there can lead most of us towards needy behaviour. On most occasions, the neediness is something we’re aware of. That voice niggling in our brain saying, ‘Hey, this doesn’t feel right.’ But it can be so hard to ignore when someone has put butterflies in your stomach.
How can we avoid coming across as clingy?
The easiest way to recognise any sign of desperation is to listen to your inner voice. I like to do an exercise where I picture myself as my most confident and assured. Whenever I’m confused about something, I’ll ask whether confident Laura would agree with my decisions.
When you are worried about looking needy, acknowledge the thoughts going on in your head. Are you making up lots of excuses to justify your actions? Do you feel slightly uncomfortable? Feelings of unease can indicate you’re acting from a place of insecurity. But it’s not just about feeling insecure. Looking needy tends to happen when you have invested too early.
Before a first date, many people will have overly invested in the person they’re about to meet. Maybe they’ve bought a new dress or splurged on a pair of heels. Maybe they’ve spent far too long deciding on how to reply to messages, or they’ve dedicated too much time messaging a stranger.
All this investment leads to higher expectations and hope. Suddenly you’re not just meeting someone to see if you get on, you’re meeting a person you’ve already discussed your passions with as well as your plans. If something goes wrong with the date, it can feel as though you’ve invested too much to simply walk away. This is when people start looking needy.
You’ve only spent a few hours with a person, but in you’re head you’ve been thinking about them for around 10 days.
So, how can we be persistent without looking needy?
1. Match Your Thoughts with Reality
If you’ve never physically met someone before, do not put too much time into messaging and chatting on the phone. Yes, you want to find out more about them prior to a date, but you don’t want to dedicate too much time to learning about them – that is the whole point of a first date, after all.
Equally, if you’ve only had a few dates, does it sound reasonable to question where your relationship is heading? Our thoughts and daydreams love devouring our anticipation and excitement. Everything in your mind will encourage you to keep texting or to look for excuses to keep your phone on standby in case the person texts. Try to fight this sensation. Do not let technology trick you into investing too soon.
2. Do not play games
What do games require… investment. You cannot gameplay without wasting time planning your techniques. With that said, purposely holding off from replying to look busy is one of the oldest and most obvious games in the book.
Keep yourself occupied, do not cling to your phone and message to say when you’re busy or when you’re going out. Every so often, some mystery is good – but going from messaging every minute to then specifically one hour at a time doesn’t fool anyone.
3. Recognise when you are chasing
Notice these two examples. I’m waiting to figure out whether a guy wants to see me again. The first option is to clearly state that I had a good time and want to meet again. Without a response after 24 hours, I hide their WhatsApp conversation and assume they’re not interested.
The other option is to mention that I had a good time, wait to see if they ask me out, sit around hoping and then wonder whether I should ask.
The first option is persistent and empowering. The second leaves me feeling and looking needy. When you make decisions, ask how they’re going to benefit you. Will doing something potentially cause you to linger around waiting, or will it put you in a confident position?
4. Make a move
Following on from my previous point, persistence can be great in the dating world. Having the persistence to see someone you like and then ask them out, for instance. People confuse making the first move with neediness, but they are two complete opposites.
Making a move is a self-assured decision that quickly tells you whether you should continue to pursue or not. Waiting around for someone else to ask you out places you in a needy position.
5. Set limits
Going back to the investment point, it’s important to not put all your thoughts towards a particular person too early. That’s why it helps to set time limits – both on dating apps and with communication. Do not, for instance, opt to chat with someone for two hours straight. Even if you’re having a great conversation, you don’t want to build strong feelings before you have met.
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