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Thursday, December 25, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 39.0° F  Partly Cloudy
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Tell All: In defense of neediness
There's no reason to hold back in pursuit of friendship

Dear Tell All: I think you may have gotten it wrong in your response to Friend to the End ("With Friends Like These," 7/6/2012). He values "making a profound connection with another human being" but now finds the people he'd gotten close to turning inexplicably cold.

In your response, it sounds like you're putting the blame on Friend to the End for having overly high expectations about friendship.

I think a lot of people out there - including myself! - are longing for real friends, but are afraid of appearing needy. And in your answer, you're accusing FttE of sabotaging these friend-making endeavors by overpowering others with neediness. Shame on you! Maybe you're set with all the friends you need, but not everybody is.

I am so afraid of appearing needy or not-cool that I wear a mask, I fear. In fact, I'm envious of people who can be out in the open with their neediness. I don't think I'm going to be an old lady on my deathbed giving myself props for "a more moderate approach to relationships." More likely, I'm going to wish I hadn't been so "cool."

Obviously I Feel Strongly About This

Dear Obviously: I hope you don't mind if I call you by your first name, even though we've just met. I admit that I was trying to play the wise advice columnist by counseling Friend to the End to take a more moderate approach to friendship. It felt like the right thing to do, given that he's apparently scaring people off with his intensity.

But now that you've called me out, I will admit that I'm as needy as anybody else. And let me tell you, it's not easy making friends as an anonymous newspaper writer. I'd love to befriend you, for instance, but I'm not even allowed to tell you who I am.

I urge you to go out there with your heart on your sleeve and make as many good friends as you can, Obviously. And then write me a letter about it, will you? At least I can live vicariously through your experiences.

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