Adults who engage in attention-seeking behavior do so consciously or unconsciously in an effort to capture others’ attention and, occasionally, to win their approval or admiration. Saying or doing something with the intention of grabbing someone’s or a group of people’s attention can be considered attention-seeking behavior. It’s common for us to feel uneasy, angered, and humiliated by the actions of those who appear to be doing so for excessive amounts of attention.
- Exaggerating and embellishing stories to get praise or compassion
- Fishing for compliments by highlighting accomplishments and seeking validation
- Feigning incapacity in order to get someone to instruct, assist, or observe an attempt to do something
- Becoming contentious to elicit a response
- Being controversial on social media
- Not Asking About Other People’s Lives And Problems
- Pretending You Can’t Do Something
- Being Promiscuous
Anyone who exhibits persistent, intense or worrisome attention-seeking activities may have a personality problem or be suffering from a mental health disorder.
Attention Seeking Behaviors
In general, the thoughts or emotions of insecurity, dread, and concern over a relative lack of possessions or safety are referred to as jealousy. Anger, resentment, feelings of inadequacy, helplessness, or contempt is just a few of the emotions that can be present in jealousy. When someone feels threatened by someone else who is now receiving all the attention, jealousy may result.
An unpleasant emotional reaction to feeling alone is loneliness. Social pain, a psychological process that drives people to seek out social connections, is another term for loneliness. It frequently evokes undesired lack of closeness and connection.
Self-esteem is a general term that refers to a wide range of intricate mental conditions impacting how you see yourself. Getting back the lost attention can seem like the only option to make some people feel balanced when they feel ignored. The attention they receive as a result of their actions might give them the confidence that they deserve that they need.
Histrionic Personality Disorder
People who have histrionic personality disorder are overly emotional, have a propensity to see things emotionally, and are attention-seekers. When they are not the focus of attention, people with this illness experience discomfort or a sense of unappreciation. The persistent need for acceptance or attention, self-dramatization, and theatricality are examples of typical behaviors. Constant attention-seeking, emotional reactivity and seductive conduct are hallmarks of histrionic personality disorder. Overdramatizing events is a symptom of this disease, which can harm relationships and cause despair.
- They will have egocentric hobbies and conversations.
- They try to draw attention to themselves by acting strangely.
- They have a propensity to overestimate the intimacy of partnerships.
- They might only show a fleeting, superficial emotional response.
- They speak in a way that is very vague and impressionistic.
Borderline Personality Disorder
Another “dramatic personality illness” that is characterized by a need for attention and approval is borderline personality disorder (BPD). BPD patients may exhibit mood swings and have low self-esteem.
- A persistent worry of being abandoned; a sense that everyone is “out to get you.”
- Relationships that are unstable—constantly shifting views of who you may and cannot trust
- Really poor self-esteem and self-image
- Impulsive and harmful actions, such as shopping binges, risky sexual conduct, and careless driving
- Self-injury and suicidal thoughts
- Violent outbursts and intense fits of rage
Other Mental Health Disorder
There are several other behavioral and mental health disorders that have attention-seeking behavior as a characteristic. These include:
- Bipolar disorder
- Narcissistic personality disorder
- Oppositional defiant disorder
- Intermittent explosive disorder
How to tackle the attention seekers:
As you can see, attention-seeking is a problem when it becomes one for you. By including your children in your activities you do several things:
- You give them positive attention (you fill their attention bucket)
- You show them you value their company and help (you grow their self-esteem)
- You teach them important skills (you develop their autonomy).
How to Cope?
Feeling irritated or turned off is a common reaction if someone in your life starts becoming more attention-seeking. But typically, those who engage in these behaviors do so out of a place of suffering or because of a mental health issue. Try to be as objective as possible while describing what you have noticed to the person and asking how you may assist. Tell them they are loved and supported and enquire about any issues they may be facing. It is frequently sufficient for a person to feel better and to lessen some of their attention-seeking activities just to have someone care about them.