10 Common “Needs” That Keep You From Connecting

I recently finished reading Powerful and Feminine by Rachael Jayne Groover, and this is the one section that really jumped out for me because I notice these all the time when folks are communicating – including myself! These needs are often unconscious and unnoticed, so let’s shed a little light on what is keeping us from being present, fully listening, and connecting.

  1. The need to fix the problem: Habitually giving advice, telling others what they should do, or generally having a hard time letting someone have their own process causes us to not be present to them and discover what they really want or need.
  2. The need to be of service and/or value: Compulsively desiring to be of service may help us feel like we are valuable or contributing but it can diminish our experience by triggering various thoughts and feelings that keep us out of the present moment.
  3. The need to be liked: It’s easy to get caught up in wanting to be liked – especially if we really enjoy that other person, but whenever this need arises it puts our focus on us and our own behavior and not with the other person. It can take us out of our presence and authenticity.
  4. The need to not have too much silence in conversation: Some folks are really uncomfortable with lapses in conversation and feel the need to fill the void, sometimes jumping in quickly after the other person has finished speaking. Often, folks are already thinking up a response before the other person has finished. This causes the other person to feel as though they haven’t been heard or understood.
  5. The need to have the other person be further along their path: When we feel we need to give more advice than called for, or find ourselves in judgment of another person, or push them to do something we think is best for them – we aren’t fully accepting them for who they are and they pick up on that.
  6. The need to look like you’re competent and know what you’re talking about: This puts more attention on you and your gifts and knowledge instead of on the other person and their needs.
  7. The need to not have the other person feel bad/uncomfortable: Sometimes folks need a little “kick in the butt” but if you judge that it’s not ok to assert yourself or you need to keep things smooth – you may not be present to yourself, them, or what the moment is calling for. It’s a fine line. Go with those gentle nudges.
  8. The need to be right: (This is prevalent in more conversations nowadays than I could actually count.) When we’re more focused on being right, proving our point, or otherwise “winning” a conversation then we aren’t really connecting, listening, and inspiring. We also aren’t being present to what the other person is saying and/or needing in that moment. If you really want to inspire others – help them feel heard and accepted, and share deeply with your whole heart.
  9. The need to feel happy all the time: Feeling like we need to lighten the mood, or somehow shift that person into a “positive mindset” traps us in our judgment of that moment. How can we be fully present to how that person is feeling if we are trying to change it?
  10. The need to detach from feeling emotions: Detaching feels like a spiritual thing to do. Perhaps we believe we are more able to “hold space” for someone if we remain detached. However, this actually keeps us from connecting because folks want us to share our emotions, and want their emotions to be honored and held. It’s ok to be vulnerable and open.

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