(definition further explained in this post if you still aren't satisfied)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

How to Deal with a Needy Nuerotic Nut

She's calling you every day, asking you to spend the night at her house, and now she's trying to become best friends with your love interest!  How do you deal with someone who has a Compliant Personality?

Bad Idea: Say yes to every suggestion she has.
Good Idea: Set boundaries.
Someone who has the nuerotic need for attention and closeness to others will smother you if you let them.  If you prevent them from spending every waking moment with you (like saying no to spending the night, for example), they may be forced to find someone else to spend time with.  You're not only helping them, but keeping yourself from going insane as their 24/7 companion.

Bad Idea: Be constantly passive-aggressive.
Good Idea: Find an outlet for your frustration or change your attitude.
Take it from someone who knows: being passive-aggressive may keep you from having an epic fight with a Compliant Personality, but it will slowly destroy you from the inside out if you go down that road.  Harboring a hidden motive behind every interaction will turn you into an unhappy, grumpy person.  Every time you see that needy friend of yours, your day will immediately get worse.  You won't be able to enjoy a single moment of your life while they're around unless something changes.  It's possible that for you, the best thing would be a membership to a gym with a punching bag!  I say this because the other option is very, very difficult.  I have managed to change my attitude towards a Compliant Personality before, but it took a figurative slap in the face to make me realize the need for it, and it took a very long time to accomplish a feeling of affection for that person.  However, the benefits were worth it.  I enjoyed everything more when my time spent with her wasn't so soured by dislike.  Although she didn't often pick up on social signals, even this girl noticed the difference.  Everyone was happier after my attitude toward her changed.

Bad Idea: Take drastic action against her, like writing a list of everything wrong with her and giving it to her.
Good Idea: Thinking through what you dislike about her and either pointing it out politely or not at all.
Believe it or not, I go to university with someone who did this "bad idea".  It devastated her friendship with the girl who had a Compliant Personality, and the two still haven't recovered.  Someone with a Compliant Personality is extremely affected by actions like this because they seek social approval so desperately.  Someone who does this to a Compliant Personality is likely to be torn apart by guilt.  It's a bad idea all around.  Instead of doing something like this, talk calmly and politely to a person about their tragic flaws.  Or, if you think it won't make a difference to talk to them, keep it to yourself.

Bad Idea: Be critical of whatever they decide to do.
Good Idea: Be honest as gently as possible.
As I mentioned before, Compliant Personalities try to impress others by showing off sometimes, even if they aren't particularly good at what they're doing.  If they ask you if they did well and they didn't, being brutally honest will emotionally crush them.  On the other hand, telling them that they were fantastic may prompt them to find a new way to show off their new talent (like in a talent show, for example).  To find the perfect balance, give them suggestions and compliments equally.

Basically, with Compliant Personalities, there's a happy medium that you have to stick to for best results.  One issue lies in the fact that this medium is such a small area, with lots of ways to make a mistake.  The other main problem is that it's very easy to lose your temper with people like I've described.  To deal with them successfully requires extreme emotional maturity.

If you have a question about any other situation with Compliant Personalities, give me a comment!

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