Dealing with Attention Seeking Behavior
How to Get Rid of Attention Seekers
If the attention seekers are bothering you, there is one simple solution––withdraw your attention and find something else to do or someone else to be with. Attention seekers work on the people they know will respond and give them what they crave. If you're able to stop feeling guilty for not massaging their egos, then you'll find yourself a less exhausting approach to relating to people.
Don't give the attention seekers the attention.That's all they want. They just want drama. They want to be the center attention. Don't give it to them. Learn to burst their balloons every time they raise the drama by not responding in kind.
Begin distancing yourself from such persons and their parades.Sound and look serious when distancing yourself from the attention seeker. You need to be serious about withdrawing your supporting act for their dramas. If they think you're not being serious because you don't look and sound like that, they won't believe that you really aren't going to keep on being their for their every new drama. Ways to start removing yourself include:
- Not agreeing with the person when he or she needles you to agree that what they're going through is worse/better/scarier/more momentous than anything else possible.
- Actively disagreeing with broad-sweeping statements that they make about things not going well, by pointing out what is going right.
- Staying calm at all times, not raising your voice and not buying into the fear or anxiety that they're trying to promote.
- Failing to turn up when called, asked for or begged for. Refuse to be the lapdog who quickly turns up to console the poor dear.
- Politely mention that less complaining tends to result in enjoying life somewhat more.
- Suggest that budgetary/medical/psychological or decluttering help might be the only real solution to the problems that constantly ail this person. Then provide the phone number of a reputable professional and refuse to engage any further.
- If the person keeps annoying you, mention something along the lines of "Confidence is silent, insecurities are loud", then leave it at that.
Beware deliberate attempts to undermine you when it becomes clear you're no longer going to be supportive.The person will eventually find out, and may be tempted to tell lies about you. So watch out for lies. If they say "(Your name) is gossiping about me!" or "(Your name) called me a so and so!", deny it, as you should because you haven't. You're telling the truth and they're being an attention seeker.
- If you get in trouble, walk up to that person and say "I'm not gossiping about you. All you want is attention and if you think that lying is an appropriate way to get people to listen, then I'm really not interested anymore." Or, if this is because this person is wanting attention to make you look bad, tell the person he or she likes the truth. Say something like this: "If you don't stop, I'm going to give you what you deserve, no friends." You may sound mean, but that's what they deserve. "If this is what you're going to do, I'm going to tell everyone to stop being your friend if all you want is attention."
Ignore continued lies and tell people the truth.Give this attention seeker what she or he deserves. You might sound like an attention seeker yourself for a time, but you're doing the right thing by reiterating your innocence. Giving them a taste of the truth for a change. Ultimately, you're after respect, not attention, so by not playing the game anymore, you are the stronger person.
- Tell people who are good friends with this person that all the person wants is attention. They might not believe you, but give true reasons, do not embellish or fall into the trap of lying as well. If all you want to do is make this person look bad, you're an attention seeker too. Remind yourself that all the reasons this person seeks attention for are all the reasons why they no longer have yours.
- Don't strive to make your presence felt, as the drama queen or king does. Instead, be reassured that this person notices your absence. You matter, either with or without this person in your life.
Let others take care of the drama.It's probable that she or he will find a new cohort of friends willing to lap up the drama. But think of the peace and calm that has descended upon you and your life. It's now time to go and find friends who have their feet firmly planted on the ground and who don't have the slightest interest in playing victim, showering forth resentment or yelling wolf every time they want people to come running.
Find forgiveness.This may seem strange after distancing yourself and trying to be the stronger person but forgiveness sets both of you free. Be compassionate about why the person is an attention-seeker, as a way of understanding, then letting go of their hold over you. It's time to move on.
- If your former attention seeking friend keeps gossiping, ignore it. She or he just trying to bring you down in some warped notion of things still being a competition. Since you left long ago, it's a one person race that they'll have to win by themselves.
- Build your confidence. Finding your own under-nurtured ego and boosting it just a little without going overboard is the surest way of not feeling as if you have to prop up other people's egos.
- Secure people don't need to throw mud or undermine others to get attention. Remember this when it all feels too hard.
- Attention seekers love drama. Hence, as you withdraw, you become part of that drama. Let it go, don't worry about the things being said, they're all lies and you're better than that.
Video: Healing From People Pleasing and Attention Seeking
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