Have you ever had a crush on someone — and then craved their attention more than anything in the world?
One day, you feel independent and centred. You stand your ground. You don’t let other people control your life. If someone ignores or cancels on you, you just shrug and move on.
But then you meet them — and suddenly, everything changes. Maybe it starts with a kiss. Or, they say something that makes you feel so special.
Before you know it, fantasy takes over. Maybe — just maybe — there’s a future for you two? What if they’re finally… the one?
You quickly tighten your grip on that possibility. And that’s when the trouble starts. Suddenly, you want to spend every minute of your day with them. You want their attention so badly it hurts.
The prospect of the next date, kiss or phone call is blinding you to the rest of your life.
You’re becoming needy and you know it. You start panicking because you realize this isn’t helpful. You’re anxious about becoming “too much” and suffocating the other person, instead of giving them space.
You’re torn between wanting their attention — and worrying that you’ll screw things up with your neediness. So what do you do?
Well, the first thing to do is to relax.
It’s possible to untangle from your neediness and approach your crush in a new, healthier way. Let me show you how.
When You Start Feeling Odd Around Them, Pay Attention
If you ever wondered if there’s someone needier than you on this planet, wonder no more. I think you found her.
She’s writing these words right now.
I used to be embarrassed by how falling for a person made me crave their attention. I couldn’t wrap my head around how it happened. I don’t normally behave that way.
When it comes to friendships, I see myself as a very chill person. You’d have to try really hard to upset me. I don’t mind friends cancelling on me last minute, or making plans without me. Same goes for unreturned phone calls or unanswered texts.
I don’t take these personally because I believe my friends must have had their reasons. Maybe they’re so sucked in by their own life that they can’t accommodate me in it. That’s fine. I let it go and, soon enough, they contact me again to arrange plans together.
But if that happens with someone I have a crush on… Oh, that’s different. That triggers a very specific set of feelings in me.
After just an hour of not receiving a reply to a text, my anxiety may blow full out. My thoughts will go along these lines:
“Do they still like me? Did I do something wrong? Surely, they don’t find me as attractive as they said they did. They must be bored with me already, probably they’ll ghost me…”
Such a reaction can be debilitating. It used to hijack my attention, making me unable to work and uninterested in seeing other people.
All I would do was obsessively think about my crush, dying inside to get a bout of affection from them. It would be unbearable.
In those moments, I usually saw just two options. I’d either start flooding them with desperate texts and phone calls. Or, I’d withdraw, assuming that I could never get what I wanted from them.
Either way, this shut down the possibility of moving beyond the “crush phase” and towards a long-lasting relationship. I’d tell myself that this was because I wanted “all or nothing.”
But deep down, what I really craved was to have things under control. I wanted my crush to behave the way I expected them to. If they didn’t, that was a sign for me that it was over.
This didn’t come from a healthy place at all. That need for control was masking something even deeper: insecurity present in my romantic relationships since I can remember.
Why You Feel So Needy Around Your Crush
I went through this pattern enough times to understand it. The neediness I feel comes — as the name suggests — from an unmet need to be recognized as attractive and worthy of love.
Earlier in life, I learned to associate my sense of self-worth with the amount of attention I get from my significant other. Today, that gets triggered whenever I perceive my “special person” as not giving me enough attention.
My mind jumps to a conclusion about what it means: that I’m not worthy of love. Not good enough. Boring and dull. Awkward, ugly, “too much.”
The menu of adjectives is so abundant and automatic that, if I don’t pay attention, soon enough I’m swimming in them. Worse still, my default is to believe that poor self-image.
Recently, I’ve been once again falling for someone. But this time around, I’m not falling for them completely.
I observe. I feel. I see my neediness creeping in.
I try to pay attention to the beliefs surfacing as I interact with my crush. And, what I’m discovering is quite shocking.
One of the beliefs I have is that I’m never going to be good enough for anyone. That after the initial honeymoon phase, my relationships are bound to fall apart. That as soon as the other person gets to know me better, it’ll be impossible for them to find me attractive.
When I call out my beliefs like that, it becomes clear that my relationship struggles stem from unmet inner needs. My crush or partner won’t ever be able to fulfil them. This is about how worthy I feel within myself — not about how they treat me.
I’m starting to realize that feeling worthy or “good enough” is my responsibility. It doesn’t need to be tied to the amount of attention I receive from others. It shouldn’t be.
The need to feel good in my skin can’t be fulfilled by seeking validation from my crush. These days, I’m clearer on this than ever.
And — surprisingly even for myself — I’m doing quite a good job of learning how to meet that need on my own.
See Your Crush as an Opportunity Instead of a Threat
As I said earlier, a big part of my neediness is connected to the urge to control.
When I fall for someone, I usually convince myself very quickly that “they will be the one.”
Then, the next logical action is to do anything in my power to make things work. In the past, I’d be so desperate to maintain the relationship that I’d see it as a make-or-break of my happiness.
I’d want it to work so badly that the scenario in which it didn’t would quickly start seeming like a threat.
Before I knew it, I’d be focused on that threat more than on the opportunity that the relationship brought. I’d put all my efforts into avoiding the threat. I’d stop seeing my relationship as something that could enrich my life.
Instead, I viewed it as something I simply couldn’t afford to lose.
Guess what outcomes that would produce? Yep — the threat I feared so much usually became my reality.
These days, I consciously choose to view the relationship with my crush as an opportunity. There’s one trick to it that I didn’t know before:
Viewing things as opportunities requires you to stay open. It is an opportunity, period. You don’t get to decide what the opportunity is for.
It could be an opportunity for a long-term, loving relationship — but also, for learning a lesson. It could be an opportunity for finally finding out what you’re looking for in a romantic partner — or, for defining what you absolutely won’t tolerate.
If you want to see anything in life as an opportunity, there’s an element of trust involved. You need to find the trust that whatever happens is for your highest benefit. It may not always be pleasant, true. But, it will allow you to experience exactly what you require to grow.
When you start engaging with your crush from this perspective, you can let go of the outcome of your relationship. That outcome can’t be controlled anyway.
It’s healthier if you come at it from a place of curiosity, rather than controlling.
How To Feel Good Regardless of The Attention Your Crush Gives You
One time, I was telling a friend about how I obsessively checked my phone to see if my crush texted. When they didn’t, I went spiralling into anxiety and questioning myself.
My whole day and work schedule became dependant on how fast my crush would reply. This was insane.
My friend listened and when my rant was over, she asked a simple question:
“Okay, but now seriously — what is this REALLY about?”
It was obvious to her that how fast a person replies to texts didn’t have anything to do with my mood. It was the way in which I interpreted my crush’s behaviour that made me upset.
After reflecting on her question, the conclusion was clear. My interpretation when they didn’t respond “fast enough” was that they were no longer interested in me.
And, it didn’t end at that. My beliefs dictated that if they weren’t interested, there was only one possible reason why:
I was unlovable.
It was soul-crushing to realize it, but it was the truth. My being upset had nothing to do with the texting, and everything to do with me not loving myself. Because of that, I was constantly on the lookout for someone to shower me with love.
I hoped that this way, I could finally feel good about myself.
When I realized that, my friend asked another great question (she’s a coach, y’all):
What can you do to feel good about yourself that isn’t dependant on anyone else’s attention?
To my delight, I realized that there were already multiple things I knew produced that outcome.
I know how to produce the feeling of being attractive and worthy. The feeling of being good enough. The feeling of loving myself so much that I don’t need anyone else to validate me.
It’s just a matter of practising those things more often — together with new, positive self-beliefs. Below, I’m giving you a non-exhaustive list of my self-love activities. Ultimately, you’ll need to define your own that produce the feelings you want to feel.
But let this be a starting point and an inspiration.
Affirm your values.
Whenever I remind myself how much I value freedom, I’m less likely to be clingy, and more likely to be interdependent.
Talk to yourself in the mirror.
Mirror work has become my go-to practice of self-love and compassion. A session of telling yourself what you need to hear while looking yourself in the eye can be ultra-powerful.
Make plans that don’t involve your crush.
When you remember that you have other friends and things you can do on your own, you realize that what you have in your life is enough. As a result, it’s easier to see yourself as enough, too.
Moving your body to your favourite tunes reminds you of your physical attractiveness. You can find gratitude for your body and the fun it allows you to have. And, you don’t need anyone’s validation for that.
Spend time in nature.
Being close to nature reminds you that you can have a deep connection with other beings, not just humans. Spend some time in the company of the birds and trees to remember that you’re never alone — and always loved.
Feeling Needy Isn’t a Life-Sentence
If you ever worry that neediness is your character trait, let me reassure you — it is not.
Neediness is just a feeling you experience when you look for someone to validate your self-worth. But, like any feeling, it isn’t permanent.
It only lasts as long as you need it to finally learn your lesson. That lesson is:
No one else but you can ever make you feel like you’re “enough” or “worthy.”
The amount of attention your crush does or doesn’t give you isn’t a measure of your worth. It doesn’t say anything about you. If you think it does, it’s only because of the beliefs you hold.
These beliefs lead you to feel that if you don’t get the other person to love you, something terrible will happen.
Luckily, all beliefs are subject to change. They’re nothing but well-worn neural pathways in our brains. If you start using new, more positive pathways, they will become default ones over time.
They will become your new beliefs.
Today, I challenge you to practice the beliefs or self-love and unconditional acceptance of who you are. Your feelings of neediness don’t have to define you. They never did.
They will only last as long as it takes them to teach you how to love yourself.