Caring What Others Think: Dependency And "The Newsroom"


Caring What Others Think: Dependency And "The Newsroom"
Caring what others think of us gets in the way. It's easier to see this in tv than in real life!

"Of course I care what others think," you may say to yourself. "Doesn’t everybody?"  Considering others' feelings is important, but this is something different; an inordinate concern about what others think of you is a sign of dependency. Remember, dependency is needing someone else to do something (thinking well of you, in this case), so that you can feel good about yourself.

In HBO’s "The Newsroom," news anchor Will McAvoy is devastated because New York magazine published a very unflattering cover story of him. He has even memorized some of the more damning quotes. Will can’t feel good about himself because the writer doesn’t take him as seriously as Will takes himself. A couple of mature, autonomous reactions would be, "Okay, this guy has a poor opinion of me, but I stand behind my work and how I’ve handled myself" or "He’s got a point about my bluster, and I need to rein it in because it’s not a great quality for an anchor. But I feel good about the effort I’ve put in and the fact that I can hear criticism without getting defensive." Collapsing in humiliation is a very immature, dependent response to criticism, whether constructive or not.

More from YourTango: "Nurse Jackie" & The Behavioral Approach To Addiction

Former mayor of NYC Ed Koch was famous for walking around the city and calling out to his fellow citizens, "How’m I doing?" He had a genuine reason to care what the citizens he represented thought of the job he was doing on their behalf. Many people who don’t hold elected office behave in a similar way, being overly concerned with what others think of what they are doing, how they are dressed, how they sound, where they live, etc., and that’s counterproductive and ultimately unsatisfying.

More from YourTango: How Wedding Fever Can Ruin Your Relationship

Where do you fall on the caring-what-others-think spectrum? Are you an Ed Koch, but with no legitimate need to know what others think, or are you comfortable enough in your own skin to hear criticism, see what fits, and leave the rest? Twelve-step programs have a great quote that addresses this over-concern with what others think: "It’s none of my business what you think of me."

If you find yourself preoccupied with what others think of you, therapy can be very helpful in developing the ability to step out of the dependent position and into autonomy.


Share this with someone you love (or even like a lot)!

Let's make it
FB official
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Diane Spear, LCSW-R


Diane Spear, LCSW-R, is a NYC-based psychotherapist who helps couples and individuals throughout the world find the joy in everyday life! She has been in practice since 1995, working with older adolescents up through older adults. Check out her website at to learn more about her therapy and counseling practice and couples and relationship therapy; and be sure to read her blog.

Connect with Diane through email here, or call 212-353-0296


Location: New York, NY
Credentials: LCSW-R
Specialties: Anxiety Issues, Couples/Marital Issues, Life Transitions
Other Articles/News by Diane Spear, LCSW-R:

"Nurse Jackie" & The Behavioral Approach To Addiction


Season Five of Showtime's darkly comic "Nurse Jackie" proves my contention that "if you deal with the behavior without confronting the underlying issues, you're just switching chairs on a sinking ship." I was referring to substance abuse in the quote, but it really holds true for the behavioral approach to all psychological problems. ... Read more

How Wedding Fever Can Ruin Your Relationship


Melissa and Tom (whose names have been changed to protect their privacy) argued as they drove to meet their vocal coach. "Why do you want to sing The Wind Beneath My Wings?" she asked. "It's such a cliché, and I'll never hear the end of it from my dad." "You're not doing much better with that Shania Twain song," ... Read more

Communications Technology Vs. Relating


Communication is supposed to be helped by technology, right? We're available 24/7 now, through cell phones, texting, Facebook, Twitter, email, etc. We may be communicating, but are we relating? Is a Facebook friend really a friend? Is the first time you tell the person you're dating that you love them in a text? I know couples who have fights because ... Read more

See More

Recent Expert Posts
Sex: The Signs You Are Dating A Sex Addict

You Asked, He Answered: How Do I Tell If He's A Sex Addict?

You're dating an amazing man, but you're scared he's a sex addict. Here are some warning signs.

Gay Dating

What I Learned About Unconditional Love

Guess Who Is Coming to Easter Dinner, the story of a mother who missed her gay son's wedding.


A Passion for Living

Passion is not a quality that some people are born with but not others.  To be ...

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

How to find the right pro for you
10 Reasons Mental Health Pros Should Join YourTango Experts

10 Reasons Mental Health Pros Should Join YourTango Experts

YourTango Experts can help your business go from good to great.

10 Steps To Improve Your Coaching Business

Take your coaching business from mediocre to great in no timeā€¦

Frequently Asked Questions About YourTango Experts

Thinking of joining? Here's all the facts you need to know to make the most of your membership.

Getting Your Guy To Join You In A Therapy Or Coaching Session

So how can your get your strong, self-reliant, superman to talk to an Expert with you?

Therapist/Counselors: Who We Are & What We Do

What exactly does a therapist/counselor do and can they really help?

See more resources>