If you’ve realized you commonly engage in attention-seeking behavior as a way to cope with loneliness or low self-esteem, or if you feel that it’s hurting your relationships and/or may be a sign of a mental health condition, there are strategies you can try to address it.
Recognizing these impulses when they occur can be an important first step. One example of a way to catalog these behaviors is to keep a journal. You can use this journal to document when and why these impulses arise so you can get to the root cause of the issue. Next, you can engage in intentional, active listening when around others. It can help you focus your attention on people and relationships instead of yourself, and it can lay the groundwork for more authentic connections where you can feel safe and cared for instead of constantly seeking attention out of fear.
Finally, you might also consider meeting with a therapist to address the underlying causes of this type of behavior. If it’s due to low self-esteem or insecurity, they can help you heal from any related past trauma and practice strategies for building your confidence. If it’s because of loneliness, they can assist you in strengthening the social skills you may need to expand your circle of connections. If they feel you may be exhibiting symptoms of a personality disorder, or another disorder like depression, they can help you address them and may offer a treatment plan.
Not everyone is able to access in-person mental health care, such as those who live in rural areas or who have trouble leaving the house regularly. Online therapy represents a viable alternative for people in situations like these. With a virtual therapy platform like BetterHelp, you can get matched with a licensed therapist who you can meet with via phone, video call, and/or in-app messaging to address the challenges you may be facing. Research suggests that virtual therapy is “no less efficacious” than traditional, in-person methods, so you can typically choose the format that works best for you. See below for client reviews of BetterHelp counselors.
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There are various reasons a person may engage in attention-seeking behaviors, from insecurity or loneliness to a personality disorder. Becoming aware of these behaviors is usually the first step in changing them; meeting with a therapist to discuss these challenges may also be helpful.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Are Examples Of Attention-Seeking Behaviors?
Some examples of attention-seeking behaviors could include:
Saying shocking things
Fishing for compliments
Constantly checking social media for validation
Embellishing stories to get admiration or praise
Feeling jealous when others get attention
Is Attention-Seeking A Mental Illness?
Some level of attention-seeking behavior is natural, since we’re all wired to crave connection with others. However, it can become problematic when it’s the key source of a person’s self-esteem, when it strains their relationships, or when it’s a symptom of a mental illness. If you’re concerned that your attention-seeking behaviors may be a sign of a personality disorder or other mental health issue, you may want to meet with a mental health professional for evaluation.
Is Attention-Seeking Behavior Normal?
Since we’re hardwired for human connection, some level of attention-seeking behavior can be considered normal. It’s especially common among children. However, it can become problematic when it strains relationships or manifests along with other signs of a mental health challenge or disorder.
How Do You Interact With An Adult Exhibiting Attention-Seeking Behavior?
Adults who exhibit attention-seeking behaviors—especially as a result of a personality disorder—may not always realize they’re doing it. Setting boundaries with kindness and gentleness can help them understand what behavior is appropriate around you and can help you safegaurd yourself.
How Do You Recognize An Attention Seeker?
People engaging in attention-seeking behavior may talk frequently, especially out-of-turn. They might also say shocking things just to get a reaction, not pay attention to things that don’t involve them, and fish for compliments.
What Do You Call Someone Who Craves Attention?
People who take frequent, disruptive action in order to seek attention are often referred to as “people exhibiting attention-seeking behavior”.
Is Attention-Seeking A Symptom Of ADHD?
Attention-seeking can be a symptom of ADHD, although not every person diagnosed with ADHD will exhibit this symptom.
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