You will discover that this journey of the dreadlocks is a spiritual one, but it is also a path of discovery, self fulfillment and enlightenment. One of the firstlessons you will learnis the letting go of appearance, vanity and false pride. Once you let go of those one thingyou will quickly discover on this pathis the absolute "neediness" of others in our society, honestly it is so prevalent that it is funny when you realize it and you'll start to laugh. Most people living in our society are so worried about others and what others might think and how they will be judged that they extend that same "neediness" to you, especially you now that are you are stepping outside conventional societal norms and rules of appearance. But sometimes you just have to break the rules if want to break free. Learn the lessons that this journey will teach you. One of the first ones is: you will be judged by most of society based on your appearance no matter what you look like, but guess what it doesn't matter. The only judges you need to worry about are you and the creator above, everyone else is just an opinion. Let them continue on the mindless drone path of societal acceptance, you are different. You are on the path of enlightenment.
How do you respond to other's "neediness" and their attempts to "help" you? By realizing first what it truly is. Understand they truly mean well and most are coming from a place of good intentions. No one has ever asked to help me with my hair. They only have asked at the most why I have let my hair dread or out of curiosity how I maintain it, though women do tend to like touching it. I think a lot of it is it how you carry yourself. If you exude self understanding, wisdom and confidence few people will think you need help, you are not seeking their approval. If anyone did ever ask to help me with my hair I would look them straight in their eyes, try to see their inner spirit, and respond smiling with genuine kindness & love in my eyes that I understand they have good intentions and that they are trying to help me, but that I am perfectly happy with my hair. If they ask why or how could I be happy with it's appearance, I would respond like I normally do. Enlighten them with knowledge, explain that natural dreads are the most healthiest but that it takes anywhere from one to two years to look mature. I then imbue them with the understanding that this is not a hairstyle, but a commitment.
Good luck and blessings on your journey & keep us posted.