Social Question

Jude's avatar

Attention seeking behavior in adults (would love to know the psychology behind it); your thoughts?

Asked by Jude (32098points) October 6th, 2009

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

30 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I don’t think there is a single cause.

Sometimes it can be insecurity.

Other times, it can be narcissistic behavior.

I am sure there are others.

Grisaille's avatar

I’m going to go ahead and say innate, normal insecurity coupled with a self-inferiority complex.

Jude's avatar

Thanks for your responses. I have a co-worker (in his 50’s) and his behavior is a bit over the top. It’s a big turn-off.

CMaz's avatar

You see there is only one constant. One universal. It is the only real truth. Causality. Action, reaction. Cause and effect.”

“What is the reason? Soon the why and the reason are gone and all that matters is the feeling. This is the nature of the universe.

We struggle against it, we fight to deny it; but it is of course a lie. Beneath our poised appearance we are completely out of control.”

jqlyn's avatar

They are trying to cover up for an insecurity of their own. Usually when they see or interact with people they admire or have something that they want, like confidence, easy going attitude or a outgoing personality and act out it’s because they don’t know how else to express these feelings. If someone is doing this in your presence trying focusing some positive energy in their direction and shed some light on their yearnings to be a better person without making them feel stupid.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@jmah: What is your coworker’s birth order? Youngest children tend to be performers to make up for lack of attention growing up. My mother is the youngest of three and is certainly the life of the party. She even admits it herself. If she had not been the youngest, she may not be so boisterous and outgoing.

Jude's avatar

@KatawaGrey He’s the youngest. Interesting. Thank-you!

@jqlyn GA.

holden's avatar

Insecurity would be my best bet.

jqlyn's avatar

Another thought, is that he only gets attention through these negative ways. Turn it around on him and try being really nice. He has probably been annoying for a long time and it is a habit now. He probably won’t know what to do and leave you alone, or fall in love with you. It is a risk.

chelseababyy's avatar

It’s just the way I am. Maybe insecurities, maybe because it says that Leos love attention. Who knows.

Response moderated
wundayatta's avatar

Aren’t there any positive reasons for attention-seeking behavior? If the answers here are correct, than all the movie stars and politicians must be the most insecure people on earth. I don’t think that’s the case.

I think some people are very confident, and they believe they have something that other people want. They believe in themselves and therefore they can sell themselves. They may believe they are talented, and want to share their gift with others.

Some people may just enjoy creating fun. They might make fun of themselves to relax other people. They might display themselves in order to take unwanted attention away from others. Hell, they may even be sacrificing themselves for the greater good (shoot me instead of those ten kids).

People may seek attention in order to bolster their self-esteem, but if they actually get the attention, then they might start to feel worthy of it. Then what? Should they quit seeking it? Are they cured? Or is it that they become worthy and then they can seek the attention with no hidden agenda?

jqlyn's avatar

It depends on the level of the acting out behavior. @jmah What are the exact behaviors? We shouldn’t reinforce behaviors that are annoying to us or that distract us from our work and goals. All people do need attention but it needs to be appropriate in the interactions according to the environment or setting. Like I said before, give him attention for the positive things that he does, that you like, and hopefully they will build and grow and the annoying behaviors will diminish.

marinelife's avatar

@daloon It is a fact that many celebrities, particularly actors, are very insecure, which leads them into the profession.

As to politicians, they are a separate class. I think their attention-seeking behavior is a consequence of going into politics, which they may do because they seek to serve. In other cases, I think they are attention-seekers who choose the political arena and the causes would be as noted.

jqlyn's avatar

We are all attention seekers. Some of us have just learned how to do it more efficiently than others. If we were annoying we had real life consequences and learned from them. The ones who are still annoying have been reinforced for being that way.

marinelife's avatar

@jqlyn “The ones who are still annoying have been reinforced for being that way.”

Or have hides like rhinos.

jqlyn's avatar

@marina that is true, maybe they don’t even notice that no one likes hanging out with them. But I think most people do, somewhere they really want people to like them and to have friends.

CMaz's avatar

“I think some people are very confident, and they believe they have something that other people want.”

Sounds like narcissistic behavior to me.

MissAusten's avatar

If the behavior is really over the top, the person could have histrionic personality disorder. I think this is what my mom has, since the description fits her so well, but she won’t go see anyone so we’ll probably never know. She thinks she is completely normal, of course.

YARNLADY's avatar

Probably it was acceptable earlier in their development and they never outgrew it. My Father-In-Law used to do imitations of stand-up comedians of the 1950’s, and he never got over it. It’s nearly impossible to talk to him, because he tries to talk like a Henny Youngman act (a neighbor of theirs in New York) all the time.

ccrow's avatar

@KatawaGrey, I’m the youngest in my family, & I’m anything but boisterous & outgoing. But then, I don’t have the personality traits I’m supposed to according to astrology, either.

Blondesjon's avatar

@eponymoushipster . . .wow. way to open up and show us some of the real monkey.

I just need each and every one of you to accept and validate me because my daddy never did.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

it all depends really.

you could have two individuals both of which have extremely low self esteem. In the first individual you could see a lot of attention seeking behavior, while in the other you could see them become a social recluse and very withdrawn.

There’s a plethora of reasons for that sort of behavior that range from very small and subtle to very harmful and traumatic.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@ccrow: It’s not absolute, just a general guideline. You may not be very outgoing, but I did think to ask if he was the youngest which is something of an indication in itself.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@Blondesjon i meant them, not me. i’m like a firehose, brother.

evegrimm's avatar

My psychologist says that attention-seeking behavior (in relation to relatively older women wearing…um…tube tops and such) can be a direct result of having an oppressed childhood (or not having a “childhood” at all). However, I am uncertain if this applies to all cases, or only in some, and whether or not it would even apply to a male (different gender roles and all that jazz).

That wasn’t very helpful, was it?

Oh well, two cents for the pot.

ccrow's avatar

@KatawaGrey – Oh, I know that stuff is general; actually, there is enough of an age gap between me & older sibs that I have some traits that are usually associated w/onlies.

talljasperman's avatar

bordom… stress…. lonelyness

YARNLADY's avatar

People continue to engage in behavior that has provided the most favorable outcomes in the past.

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