Attention seeking behavior means to purposefully or unconsciously act or speak with the motive of seeking validation from others especially from random people. Attention seekers crave both negative and positive attention depending on the situation. Extreme attention seeking behavior is a major characteristic of people with Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD). People who seek excessive attention usually say things that are highly controversial in social settings or on social media, deliberately start arguments, dress in a manner that is highly provocative, deliberately exaggerate their emotional reactions, are highly manipulative and seductive, and love to follow the crowd.
Attention seekers love to use their gifts and talents to impress others or try to prove that they’re better than others. They’re are often insincere about their emotions. They either exaggerate their emotions or fake them to attract pity, understanding, and applause from others. They are subtle hypocrites. The good they do is done to impress others even when it is not out of a genuine motive. Attention seekers also love to exaggerate the offenses of others or lie about others in order to blackmail or implicate them.
Attention seekers will try to act like a martyr whenever they’re corrected or scolded. They hate to be ignored and are extremely sensitive to criticism. They have low tolerance and find it hard to delay self- gratification.
They’re very selfish in relationships and want their partner to be obsessed with them. They are also highly inconsiderate and will act up if they don’t get their way. Attention seekers love to blame others for their personal shortcomings, are emotionally shallow, are hasty to make decisions, and love to boast about how many friends they have and the impression they have on people.
There are reasons behind an attention seeker’s behavior. Attention seeking is not an independent problem. It results from deeper issues.
- Cluster B personality disorders: These personality disorders include Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD), Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).
- Low self-esteem: Attention seekers feel uncomfortable with being unnoticed because it makes them feel like they don’t matter. They have not learned to discover and appreciate their self- worth and so, they depend on external validation. They also feel threatened when someone else is receiving more attention than them and that makes them to behave in a way that attracts attention so that they can outshine the person they feel threatened by. It’s very common to find people on social media who love to show how hardworking and successful they are. They want to prove that they have a lot going on in their lives. They do that because they probably don’t feel accomplished enough and are seeking for validation from the comments of people on social media. These people are also fond of acting busy in a way that attracts attention and admiration from people at their workplace or to intimidate their colleagues.
- Social media: Social media is highly deceptive. When people see how ”accomplished” others are on social media, they feel left out and that makes them want to compete and do things to prove that they’re accomplished and living a good life as well. Most times, people are influenced by social media to adopt attention seeking behaviors without even being aware of it.
- Loneliness: Some people don’t know how to enjoy their own company and because of that, they crave the attention of others to add some fun to their lives. These people see having lots of friends as a big achievement and will want to impress their friends publicly or show everyone that they have friends and people who love them. Being alone makes them feel like they’re missing out. They hang out with their friends to prove to others that they’re having a great time and to also show off their money, humor, relationship, or nice clothes to their friends. Because attention seekers are lonely people, they also see being in a relationship as a huge achievement and will use social media to exhibit their relationship all the time. They will boast about their relationship at any chance they get. Their friends are tired of listening to their relationship updates. They also want their partner to become obsessed with them because the more obsessed their partner is, the more important they feel. They may become inconsiderate towards their partner’s needs because they are so preoccupied with their own need for constant attention and validation.