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wundayatta's avatar

How much attention do you need?

Asked by wundayatta (58349 points ) November 3rd, 2010

A question like this is nearly impossible to answer meaningfully because we have no common unit of attention. How do we compare?

One way I thought of is how many times a day you need to connect with your significant other. Connection could be through a date, a phone call, an email, a text or any number of other ways—I suppose even including smoke signal.

I tend to write a lot of emails, and after a while, the person I’m corresponding with gets overwhelmed and stops replying. Or maybe they decide I’m not worth it, any more. I also get quite anxious sometimes about whether someone likes me or how much they like me, and if I don’t get a communication three or four times a day, I start to freak out.

This is primarily with people I particularly care about. If the relationship is much less in depth, then I am much more patient and much less in need.

Lots of variables: who you are relating to and what kind of relationship you have with them; what kind of attention; how you quantify that attention and I don’t know what else.

What kind of attention do you need? How much of it? What happens if you don’t get it? How do you handle that? Why is your level of need the way it is?

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15 Answers

Seaofclouds's avatar

I like to talk to my husband at least once a day, but I can survive on once a week (before I start worrying). When he’s home, I am fine not talking to him while he is at work or if he is out doing something and I’m happy just to have the time with him when he’s home.

I usually talk to my mom everyday or every other either by text message or phone call. Sometimes we go longer without talking and it doesn’t bother me. We see each other about 2–3 times a year.

I talk to my friends whenever I feel like it. Sometimes it is daily, but other times there are weeks in between.

I am pretty comfortable being alone and it doesn’t bother me if I go a day without talking to anyone except my son.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

With people that I am romantically involved with I either need a lot of attention or a conversation where the other person explicitly states that their level of communication is different from mine but that they are very interested in me, nonetheless. I like to talk to those I am interested often and don’t follow rules of dating, whatever that means. I am not high maintenance and I don’t need presents or dates but I do need to know that if I’m taking the time and energy out of my very rich life for you that you are taken with me, want to speak to me, want to check in before you to sleep sometimes and generally want me, all of me, in your life. With the person I am currently beginning to date, there’s been a conflict in how much I’d like him to communicate with me and how much he has so far allowed himself to communicate with me (granted, in the beginning of our relationship, our flirtations were inappropriate given that I was his student) – I think he’s getting better though.

daytonamisticrip's avatar

I don’t really get much attention. I have my buddies which during weekdays I talk to for a few minutes and my friend I have practically no time to talk to. All attention from my mom is negative. I don’t really care for attention from people and to much I wouldn’t like. On some days if my mom goes out on the weekend I don’t get any attention at all for the day. I guess on the attention meter I need next to nothing, but a little more would be nice.
I’m guess I’m like this because most attention from most people is negative.

zenvelo's avatar

I think my expectation is based on what the routine is. My girlfriend and I usually exchange short communications (text or email) a couple times a day, but sometimes it goes all day. I don;t get freaked out unless it goes 36 hours if I know she is busy. and my kids expect a call in the morning when I am at work and they’re getting ready for school.

On the other hand, before email and cell phones, my parents lived in Indonesia while I stayed in California. At one point I went a year without writing them, mostly because I didn’t have much to say.

sanchezjk's avatar

I don’t tend to get that much attention, but that is because I tend not to ask for it or go looking for it. Obviously you know my current situation so my significant other isn’t a factor anymore but when we used to be together I craved her attention in anyway shape or form. Granted I never smothered her with my presence just to receive it in return but I used to have mini silent freak outs in my head when she didn’t give me the attention she did yesterday or the day before.
I tend to give people my undivided attention with a 50% expectation that they’ll return the favor later down the line if I need it and another 50% understanding that they don’t have to return any of it and I will gladly still be their friend.
I tend to communicate with my immediate family (parents and little sister) more than anyone else.
With the closest friend I have we can go about a month without talking and strike up conversation easily everytime. Or we can go a month talking nonstop and then one day just stop.
I tend to crave more attention then I really need but I never ask for it openly or directly. But I also feel like I’m rude about it too. I act nonchalant towards people who I want to give me loads of attention. Almost like boderline ignoring with the expectation that they will subtly notice it and give me more attention. The thing is, if I don’t get the attention that I want it bothers me for just mere moments then the feeling is gone. Then it doesn’t matter to me anymore. I stay normal and I try not to show any type of annoyance with the person whatsoever. I think my level of attention wanting is the way it is because in my mind I give people way more attention then that give me. Almost in an altruistic fashion but with the slight hopes and expectations that they’ll either return the attention right then or later on.

Blackberry's avatar

I feel attention is best during social situations, for me. That is when everyone gets their dose of attention. I don’t like talking on the phone or texting random stuff throughout the day. I have a hard time keeping in touch with people if I don’t see them on a regular basis or if I’m not planning something with them.

BoBo1946's avatar

I think that we need attention to fill voids in our lives. Some need more than others. It depends on who the person. Father that doesn’t give his daughters enough attention, she might go after the wrong attention from boys at school. We need attention to feel are hearts with love and acceptance. Just like a child that is wanting attention and they might hit their sister. They get in trouble but they are getting attention(even being negative attention). There is all different ways of attention. Some need good attention some need bad attention. If a family member dies (compassion attention). Just graduated (proud attention). Fight at school (in trouble attention). Going to a job interview (good luck attention).

Now, did I do a good job answering this question? I need some “way too go attention!”

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

It depends, if it’s on a day that I really prepared myself for and took long time to get ready…then I deserve all the attention I can get.
If it’s on a lazy day, that I normally don’t get out of bed until like 12 then I don’t need any attention at all.

Scooby's avatar

Weekends are fine, I’m no good through the week at all for company, far too busy….. Although I have found myself making an exception for a certain someone…. :-/
Well, they say it’s good to talk……. ;-)

cazzie's avatar

In regards to the romantic, ‘I care about you’ attention, think I need more than what I’m getting. Weeks will go by and no adult asks me how I am or gives me a sweet hug and I think that’s too long to go without that sort of care.

DancingMind's avatar

I’m finding more and more that I seem to need stay-at-an-arm’s-distance attention. I love grabbing people’s attention, but trying to hold onto it stresses me out so much I just let go.
It’s hard and I feel a little guilty because I wind up confusing people and unable to explain what’s going on in my head.
Like, if attention is fire, I like the initial warmth but hate getting burned. Probably why I like fluther… for me it’s like that wire mesh curtain you find in front of fireplaces…

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I am most comfortable with a daily check in by text or phone call from my partner.
I like an at least once every few weeks check in with my best friends, facebook has helped.
As for physical attention then I need daily hugs and kisses.
I think I’m high maintanence but well worth it for what I make happen and give in return.

wundayatta's avatar

Way to go, @BoBo1946! That was an excellent answer! Good luck with that hip operation!

I seem to need a lot of “touch” attention. I put touch in quotes because I mean metaphorical touches as well as physical ones. I need feedback—almost constantly. I need to know how I’m doing and whether things are ok. I think that’s one of the roles fluther plays in my life. However, fluther is someone… anonymous, I guess, and I also need more personalized attention.

That’s kind of a difficult balance to make because my wife and I are so busy most of the time that we don’t really stop often enough to give each other this kind of attention. It’s just work and pressure most of the time. So I need the kind of attention you can get from flirting. Finding a form of safe flirting can be a challenge, though. It has to be sincere enough to make me believe someone is interested, but not so intense that it creates a danger of doing something inappropriate.

It’s hard to sustain a balance like that, so mostly I do without. Sometimes I just miss that closeness because I don’t get as much as I want.

YARNLADY's avatar

More than I get. I would like family members to share their day with me, but they never do. I wold like them to let me know about future plans, but they don’t.

BoBo1946's avatar

@wundayatta thank you so much my friend !

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