How To Not be High Maintenance (19 Ways To Help Him Handle You)

Society says you can be whatever you want, then turns around to say “but not a certain way.” Take the idea of high maintenance for example, especially as it relates to women in relationships. 

People are attracted to those with “standards,” they love the thrill of finding out they can win someone who knows what they want. But then they get a taste of it back-to-back. They find the challenge exhausting and figure low maintenance is the way—essentially vilifying the category they once found endearing. 

I’ve come to realize most people just want to have a little bit of everything. Knowing what you want, not compromising your self-worth, but also not overdoing it by taking and taking until they have nothing left to give. 

In other words, most people don’t necessarily want you to be low maintenance, just for you not to be “high maintenance.” Notwithstanding, this article isn’t to further the debate on which side rules, but if you’re interested in learning how to be less prissy in a relationship, you’re in the right place.

19 Ways To Stop Being A High-Maintenance Person

1. Try to complain less—gratitude over grumbling

A common trait associated with the high maintenance label is how hard those who fall under the umbrella are to please. How things have to be a certain way to be worth anything and any slight deviation from the ideal is grounds for complaints. It’s hard not to be overly dramatic with a chiefly whiny mindset when your issues seem unending, and stress levels are perpetually up.

If you notice you tend to complain more than most, a slight shift in focus can help you stop being that girl. Quit whining like the bad habit it is and adopt an attitude of gratitude instead. Get your optimism game up, and you’re already halfway through hacking how not to come off as high maintenance.

2. Appreciate people's efforts rather than focusing on just the results

Now, a perspective shift isn’t some magic switch you flip in your head. It’s a progressive series of small changes you remind yourself to make in how you approach things. For instance, taking stock of the process might help you appreciate the final result more, even if it turns out flawed.

Let’s say someone goes out of their way to get you something but gets a teeny-tiny detail wrong. If you’re naturally finicky, your first instinct might be to criticize what they did wrong or guilt them for the oversight. Not being high maintenance is basically learning to catch yourself in such moments. 

They didn't get it right, sure, but at least respect the thoughts and resources that brought the imperfect thing about.

3. Understand that no one owes you anything

Now to the matter of entitlement, another thing to keep under control is to make relating with you a little easier for people. Certain privileges come with certain realities, no doubt. Being a hotcake, for one, makes folks more likely to want to bend over backward for you.

It’s all great until you let it get to your head and start having unreasonable expectations of everyone because of it. Getting treated especially of people’s own volition is nothing to feel guilty about. It wades into high-maintenance territory when you expect the same treatment from others without having earned it.

4. Give as much as you take

You can also stay ahead of being high-maintenance in a relationship by keeping the ratio as close to balance as you can. No one is asking you to over-intellectualize abstract stuff like romance or emotions. But then, your significant other probably won’t call you high maintenance if you’re both demanding and essentially “maintain” one another.

Even the most selfless of persons expect some things from the ones they do it for in return. It’s mostly about understanding, not necessarily an exchange in the same currency. I guess what I’m saying is, instead of obsessing over not being a high-maintenance partner, focus on offering value worth the effort going into keeping you, and no one would complain.

5. Learn to manage your emotions

Emotions contribute the lion’s share of the dramatics that seem to follow high-maintenance people, so a good way to not become like them is not to let your feelings control you. Disappointments, delays, and a host of other things you can’t stand will happen, but they’re no excuse to let yourself lose it all the time.

Take a deep breath when you come close to complaining, and walk away from infuriating situations before you say something you will regret. Letting the hormones and chemicals your body shoots you up with dictating how you relate with people more often than not ends up making them avoid you. 

Ultimately, nobody likes people they constantly have to walk on eggshells around, even if they like them. You can’t always help the way you feel, but riding out the excitement and acting out of logic as much as possible are choices you make.

6. Accept situations that aren't always ideal. That's just life

accept situations that arent always ideal thats just life

A good way to effect the previous tip is to come to terms with the fact that sometimes, things don’t always happen how we want. You can’t even control everything you have power on, let alone the ones that are completely out of your hands, like another person’s behavior. Plus, as I touched on earlier, an imperfect result shouldn’t render the efforts put into it void.

So, how do you stop being a high-maintenance girl? Do your best as often as you can but also leave allowances for slip-ups so something not going as expected doesn’t always ruin experiences for you. Learning to see mishaps as adventures improves your attitude towards them because then you’re less likely to act like it’s the end of the world when they happen.

7. Be a little less rigid with plans and schedules

In the essence of improving your attitude towards, well, life, one practical application can be in how you approach making plans. A demanding person reacts negatively to an unexpected change, even in cases where such a reaction isn’t warranted. The idea is not to be that girl.

Sure, people tend to take a mile if you give an inch so by all means, set boundaries and make clear what you can and absolutely can’t accept. Nevertheless, those who clearly try to do right by you but fall behind for reasons out of their hands deserve consideration over those who outrightly did you bad, I’d say.

8. Respect the little things as much as the grand gestures

From a materialistic perspective, high-maintenance people are said to live by the “go big or go home” mantra. It’s only romantic if it costs thousands and takes eons to put together. Prospects and partners alike know not to even bring up an idea that’s less than bougie with this lot. 

But unless the relationship is literally one’s whole life, most people can’t pull off impressive back-to-back gestures even if they have the means—those who attempt to tend to burn out. 

Meanwhile, every other day is a chance to boost intimacy and improve your overall relationship satisfaction if you appreciate the small and grand moments equally. Even better, no one will tag you high-maintenance for it.

9. Realize there's more to life than having the last word in

Talking a lot (about yourself) is another attribute you can try to rein in to avoid coming across as too demanding. Don’t go around starting conversations about your circumstances with anyone that will listen without necessarily wanting the advice they may give as a result. Also, hijacking every chat with unending “relatable” stories most of the time isn’t cool.

I get wanting to connect through shared experiences is your main aim, but it only works that way when your convo partner also gets to input something. Basically, learning to stop talking before listening to you becomes a chore and that you mustn’t always have the final say.

10. Prize healthy relations over the desire to be the center of attention at all times

Then again, talking too much is only a means to an end with people with an attitude, that require constant maintenance, merely a symptom of their unending thirst for attention. When they are not busy hijacking conversations, they are acting up because their s/o hasn’t had their time in all of ten minutes.

Maybe it’s not always quite so childish, but the point remains that this personality trait can make someone mix up their priorities. Every healthy relationship requires both partners to have a life outside each other without one getting grief for pursuing their other commitments within the reasonable purview. 

Ergo, the task is simple. Don’t blindly expect your partner to be available to cater to your every whim (without doing so in return). Let them do what they need to be a rounded human without sulking.

11. Consciously try not to act snobby towards people who don't share your taste

Another thing typical of high-maintenance people is their elitist behavior. Holding the people in their life to the same impossible standards they do themselves. While that has its benefits, like motivating them to improve, it can also make them feel inadequate. Probably why they miss out on tons of prospective quality connections.

Relating with others as equals shouldn’t be the hardest thing to do when you recognize that you are not exceptional. However, those who think they are better than others may find that a bit more challenging.

12. See your partner as their own person rather than an extension of yourself

see your partner as their own person rather than an extension of yourself

I read something once that changed my perspective on how we manage ‘embarrassing’ couple situations. For all the practical and romantic angles to seeing your s/o’s actions as a reflection of you, it’s not 100% right. Individuals are their own person before anything else.

If you’re prone to perfectionism, falling in love with a slacker can make you seem high maintenance. But it might help to not see their relatively less refined taste as a personal failure of yours. 

That way, you don't feel compelled to complain or enter the ground whenever they do something disconcerting, like daring to step out in casuals as opposed to your signature runway-ready style.

13. You can't be right all the time, learn to say sorry

No one is ever always right. If you know someone who maintains they are, they’ll probably also be highly critical of others and be, like, never satisfied. People like that capitalize on the faults of others, milking it as long as they can, but take offense when called out on their own BS.

These are run-of-the-mill high-maintenance behaviors you can get ahead of by cultivating the habit of admitting your own mistakes and saying sorry when due. This instills in you the humility fundamentally found missing in the type of people you don’t want to become.

14. Work on your insecurity or whatever underlying cause makes you prone to hypersensitivity

Then again, high-maintenance personality traits don’t just pop up out of nowhere. Usually, there’s a fundamental developmental issue behind it. For some, it might be that they didn’t get enough attention growing up, while others turn out that way due to being cosseted their entire life.

If you’ve noticed some worrisome traits suggesting you might be one yourself, consider looking inward and addressing the underlying cause (which can be anything from abandonment issues to a personality disorder) first.

15. Adopt mindful living practices

Life is too short to spend it all trying to appear perfect all the time, so don't. Dare to be imperfect. Take joy in the small, simple things around you. Take out time between shopping sprees for non-glamorous activities you enjoy, like gardening. Nurturing/bringing life out of nothing helps you deepen the possibility of finding a sense of fulfillment in non-material things. 

Sort through your emotions by meditating regularly to manage them better in your everyday interaction with other people. Improved mindfulness keeps you grounded and less prone to drama.

16. Try to meet more of your needs by yourself

When we say high-maintenance people like to take, we don’t just mean emotionally. As a matter of fact, one of the most common presentations of the trait is in material ideals. The sense of entitlement that comes with convincing yourself you’re somehow more deserving of being spoilt than the next person is a slippery slope.

When you are an attractive woman who gets what she wants from people more often than not, it’s even easier to abuse it. If it takes a lot of money to maintain you, the only way to avoid becoming “that girl” is to take the bulk of it from your pocket. Let what others give you be a bonus rather than your sole source.

17. Keep your standards reasonable

Standards aren’t the enemy. In fact, it raises more eyebrows when you don’t seem to have any than when you do. While high standards can have their root in a healthy sense of self, values, and whatnot, the alternative is usually more superficial, selfish, obstinate, and entitled. Note the difference.

Like with everything in life, the need for balance and openness shouldn’t be neglected. Make your non-negotiables known early on in each relationship as opposed to pulling them out when someone is already attached. More importantly, be sure to hold yourself to the standard you set. Tip: distinguishing your wants from needs can help you identify your negotiables.

18. Surround yourself with more down-to-earth people than high-maintenance ones

surround yourself with more down to earth people than high maintenance ones

Peer pressure is real no matter how old you are. Show me your friends and all that jazz. But it’s not just your friendships I’d worry about but everyone who influences you one way or another. That means the content you expose yourself to, from religious teachings to people you follow on social media. 

If most of your influences are high-maintenance, you subconsciously absorb the impression that it might not be the worst thing. Interestingly, the same goes for spending time around people with standards that are low maintenance. I’m sure you see where I’m going with this.

19. Consider seeing a therapist

Finally, some of the ways listed here are easier said than done, especially when you’re trying not to be high maintenance anymore, as against never having been. As I said, there are underlying causes making it so that these behaviors aren’t only popping up in your relationships but at work and everywhere in between as well.

A professional can help you identify and address the patterns and hopefully work on whatever emotional ordeal led you here. Therapy is even more recommended if you’ve seen the signs you’re high maintenance, and your attempts at stopping on your own have been futile.


What makes someone high-maintenance?

You are high maintenance if you set unrealistic standards you can’t meet yourself as a condition to get the best of you. It is a personality trait that often stems from insecurities and a desperate need to level up. It means it takes a lot (of energy, time, money, attention, etc.) to keep you.

How do you know if you are high-maintenance?

The difference between high standards and high maintenance is that the former is often used in terms of deep, reasonable values. As opposed to the latter that seeks to reap where it hasn’t sowed. 

If you constantly complain, talking about yourself is your favorite thing, satisfying you is damn near impossible, and you like to hog all the attention in the room, you might be high maintenance.

Is it bad to be called high maintenance?

Being called high maintenance isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if it isn’t true. Some people berate what they don’t understand. If you always look expensive and only get seen with the cream of the crop, they may get ideas. When in fact, it might be your own money with a bit of luck.

What does it mean to be emotionally high-maintenance?

It means you demand a lot emotionally to keep around. Where some high-maintenance people expect to be showered with money and others are physically needy, your wants and needs would be emotive.

Do guys like girls who are high-maintenance?

Depends on the day and what guy you ask. Some prefer their girl's high maintenance because they are mostly assured she’d always take the pain to look good. Also, those who like to feel needed and have what they think the girls are looking for. Plus, it’s fun trying to get someone with seemingly high standards, and did I mention how attractive they usually are?


So there you have it, how not to become that high maintenance babe. It, of course, all comes down to personal choice and your will. In the end, these are just tips to help you along. Let me know what you think of this article in the comments and share, share if you liked it. 

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