Brent from CT wrote:
I have a friend who is causing some issues with me and the rest of my friends. We can call him Dan. Dan is SO set on being accepted by everyone that he’ll basically lie to get, suck up to get, or “buy” (shower with gifts), anyone’s acceptance. He’s constantly talking about his friends behind their backs, he gets jealous when someone takes the attention away from him, and it seems that he always has to be the person that is seen as the “glue” holding everything together.
It’s caused some friends of mine to not want to spend time together with our core friends if he’s there, and frankly, I am sick of it myself. I don’t know how to talk to him about it. What do I do?
Have you heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs Brent? I won’t go into a TON of detail, but back in the 40’s, a psychologist proposed that humans have a set of 5 needs, which are: 1) Physiological, 2) Safety, 3) Acceptance, 4) Respect/Confidence, and 5) Self Actualization. You may see that 2 and 3 are dipping into similar realms and they are. Maslow proposed that people have 2 levels of social “belonging needs” that kind of play on each other. Acceptance is a basic need to feel accepted or welcomed by a group. If someone doesn’t feel this is happening, they can often put this need in front of their safety and physiological needs. For example, a recovering alcoholic may return to drinking and give up rehab just to see his drinking friends again because he feels his non-drinking friends don’t accept him. The Respect/Confidence level is a bit more intimate. It deals with self-respect or feeling worthy. People that are lacking in this level have inferiority complexes and sometimes feel the need to over correct others’ perceptions of that perceived inferiority. Think of this as the douchebags that drive Hummers to make up for having a one inch penis.
Everyone needs to feel validation in their lives. Depression sets in when someone doesn’t feel like they matter anywhere in this world and if it goes untreated, it can have disastrous results. It appears your friend is having an issue with both of these levels and is trying to feel valued, accepted, worthy, and needed. There are some underlying issues here and you’ll have to find out what they are before you can help. If you can, talk with him and let him know you care enough to tell him what’s happening. Tell him that you’d really like to be a friend to him and if he needs it, get him some help. Let me know if you need anything else.