Dealing with an Attention Whore

2544491035 774b613043 Dealing with an Attention Whore

An attention whore can be a pain in the ass. This person (either man or woman), due to their deep-seated need for validation from others, will often try aggressively to takeover any social setting.

Their extraversion, theatricality, verbal skills and desperate desire to woo people often makes an attention whore quite loud, pushy and annoying. You just want to either get them to shut up and chill once in a while, or to hit them with a blunt object.

Unfortunately, most of the impulses we may have when dealing with an attention whore will not yield positive results. There are however, effective strategies to handle an AW. Here are the four that, in my experience, work best.

1. Start with a Reality Check

First off, ask yourself this question: “Is this person’s attitude bothering me because 1) they’re loud and aggressive, or because 2) they’re getting more attention from others than me?”

You see, I frequently notice that shy people have a problem with attention whores due to envy. An attention whore is outgoing and social, which is something they’re not. An AW often grabs attention in group settings, while they’re getting ignored.

If the second answer to the question above applies in your case, then the best strategy is not to try and disarm the attention whore. The best strategy is to focus on becoming more outgoing. The AW may make it hard for you to be social, but they are not truly the issue here. You are.

2. Ignore, Divide and Conquer

I think that one of the worst things you can do is to give or appear to give your full interest to an attention whore. This only feeds their exacerbated sense of entitlement and makes them even more obnoxious.

You want to moderate the AW and you do this by habitually ignoring them. This means that you’ll sometimes phase out while they’re talking, act as if you don’t care very much, even interrupt and start talking over them. Be assertive; don’t get trapped in mindless conversation.

In group settings, one of the best things you can do is to divide and conquer. Let’s say you’re in a set of five people and one of them is an attention whore. While the AW is talking, turn towards one of the people next to you and start a conversation with them. Thus, you’re breaking the group into subgroups and dividing the attention.

3. Tease Them

One strategy I particularly enjoy using with attention whores is to verbally indicate their tendency to take over a conversation and to tease them about it. For example, I’ll say something like: “Wow! You sure like to talk! Have you’ve been talking for like 30 minutes straight?”

This strategy works wonders because it subtly suggests that the other person is an AW, that you know it and that you’re not going to tolerate it. This kind of confident and clever humor is more effective than becoming aggressive, and a lot more effective than simply shutting up.

4. Let Them Go

In the long term, I think the proper thing to do with a true attention whore is to let them out of your life. All the drama and the struggle of dealing with an AW are not worth it. Cut them out of your social circle.

Occasionally, this is harder to do because your social circles overlap, or you’re in the same department at work or something like that. However, even is such cases, you can find smart ways to manage social dynamics and not deal with them too often.

The one thing you don’t want to do is go into a never-ending psychological battle with an attention whore, trying to outsmart them, dominate them, ruin their reputation or steal their attention. You’ll only end up looking really insecure or an attention whore yourself.

My belief is that a fulfilling interpersonal life gravitates around emotionally healthy people. This is the kind of person you want to be and the kind of persons you want to surround yourself with. Any other way simply will not do.

Image courtesy of Rooney

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Comments

  1. Eduard,
    I just ignore attention whores the best that I can. Energy flows to where attention goes and I don’t want to give them anymore energy than they already have.

    You can also tell by some of these flashy cars that AW drive with their horrendous loud music playing. I roll up the windows and do not even look their way.

    • Great point Justin. “Energy flows to where attention goes”. I love that sentence ;)

    • Mildred Manning says:

      Maybe some people just like the way that loud music feels and give a crap less if you look or not. Perhaps the idea that you think they want YOU to look at them indicates that you’re the attention whore who thinks everyone else wants your precious attention. Don’t fool yourself- no one cares that much about you that just your mere glance is so amazingly fulfilling that they would go to lengths just to get *your* attention. Get over yourself.

  2. For me, the best strategy is just to ignore them. They just want approval and attention and when you don’t give it to them, they gradually become depressed

  3. I really enjoyed reading this, Eduard. The way I deal with attention whores differs based on the situation. I have a high tolerance for stupidity, but I am very direct if things get out of control.

    If it is someone I know, I bluntly express what I’m thinking and request a change in their antics. If I’m in close quarters with a stranger (i.e. public transportation, library, or a party I can’t walk out on), I’m still direct but I don’t blurt out what I have to say in front of everyone. I’ll walk over and whisper something like, “Excuse me. I just wanted to let you know that you’re disrupting others & making yourself look really bad. Will you please take things down a notch?”

    Of course there are AWs who don’t care what anyone thinks, but most of them desperately want to be liked. Making them aware of how off-putting the behavior is can be an awesome solution.

    • Hey Nea,

      I LOL-ed when i read the part about having a high tolerance for stupidity. Made me realize it’s a… amm… quality I lack. Anyway, you strategy with AW seems very assertive. I’m taking notes ;)

  4. Hey Eduard,
    How are you doing?

    Loving your blog, it’s looking great and you’ve got some really valuable articles here. I especially like this one, since I can relate to it.

    Sometimes there are those people who are always ridiculously loud, and always interrupt you while you speak. I’ve learned that you can best ignore them, because they just don’t change.

    I’d fall more on the shy side of the personality spectrum, even though I can be quite outgoing at times. But usually in a group setting I’ll be more reserved and let others take the spotlight.

    Take care man
    Diggy

    • Hey Diggy! Glad to have you back ;)

      Yeah, the blog is growing steadily and it’s opening up more and more opportunities for me. Big things are coming.

      Thanks for you thoughts on this here topic.

  5. Thank you!!! Divide and conquer totally feels doable to me!
    I’m an introverted sort of Leo, love attention, but it has to feel like I earned it with my contribution to Life, and only appreciate the positive variety from others. I’ve developed a sharp sense of self-awareness, so don’t care for others pointing out my flaws.
    There’s a certain individual in my social circle who is an AW, and her behavior goes up a notch or two when I’m enjoying some well-deserved positive attention myself. When she sees that she can’t direct attention away from me, then she dishes out negative attention in my direction. Short of suffering a panic attack, each potential encounter feels like a warzone to me, where I have to fight to hold my ground. But the hardest part has been figuring out how to do it without losing out on my own integrity or my other friendships within the same circle.
    Ah, since I’m still figuring this out, I suppose I still have some Life-lessons to imbibe on this topic – no way around it but to tackle it head on.
    Thanks again for your words!

    • I believe that if you work on your confidence in social settings (in dealing with AWs in particular), along with using ‘divide and conquer’, the effect will be quite amazing.

  6. Public humiliation…a very direct and quick shut down always works…

  7. Ahh but what if the attention whore is an asshole? Someone who not only wants the attention but also likes singling people (including me) out and dissing them? Then how do you deal with them? I mean obviously as much as I do want to punch him in the face, that is not realistic. But I was never great at coming up with comebacks. Any advice?

  8. Eduard,

    I so want to thank you for this blog!

    I’m working with a new boss who isn’t in my direct chain and she’s desperately looking for new ‘friends’. Honestly, she needs to play in her own ‘pool’ of mgmt folks to befriend, however, she’s going after the subordinates and it’s noticeable.

    I have been ignoring her and she won’t go away just yet and I’m convinced it will work eventually.

    Thanks again!

  9. DaniiPonce says:

    Attention Whore –

    A person who wants attention REAL bad to impress somebody who doesn’t care!A person who never leaves you alone after you have said “Leave me alone” about a million times!A person who would do anything for attention .Thats what i think is a attention whore !

    P.S-Guys there is no need to try to act “cool” to fit in ..That just proves you want attention meaning “you will do anything to fit in or be cool” umm..no be your self ..”sluts” are attention whores to ..wanting somebody to notice you in a slutty way is in a desperate need of attention!!..If a Person does not want you in there life then except it and fuck off jeez …don’t get all over there nuts now thats so lowclass and not cool at all

  10. Aplastic says:

    I like this article. Thank you for posting it.

    Divide and Conquer rarely works for me. I find that attention whores just interrupt every conversation in their presence. Most people are too “polite” to completely ignore someone so instead the rest of us are divided and conquered. And teasing or giving subtle hints I find ethically problematic. Not to mention those tactics would come off as false for those of us with a direct personality.

    Now 4 is the one that ultimately works best. Except when they can’t be avoided – like coworkers. Well okay coworkers can be avoided by getting another job but that seems a bit drastic.

    I’ve gotten better at Letting Go of attention whores myself but it is definitely not easy. I agree with you though that there is great benefit to filling ones lives with healthy blanced people.

  11. Thank you SO much! This can really help with people in school too. I haven’t tried any, but I think I’ll try divide and conquer as my first shot. All I can say is, I’m a really shy person and this is exactly what I’m looking for. Thank you so much!

  12. Thanks for the advise(: one of my former friends was trying to be ‘emo’ for the attention and I honestly had enough of her. She was an extreme annoyance and hurt people more than gathered attention. I let her go and even though she’s trying MUCH too hard now, life has never been better! Thanks again!~

  13. Nicole Machiavil. says:

    A good strategy is for YOU to make someone else the focus of attention.

    First one must understand the group in which the AW dwells.
    Too often there are a whole lot of people who validate the AW’s existence because it sort of helps validate their own existence.It’s popularity by proxy.They feel their own personal worth goes up if they are associated with the AW,basking in the hollow, but superficially impressive, accomplishments of the AW.Examples abound ,like those all those folks who ‘Thumbs up’ every inane and worthless status update or photo of the AW on Facebook

    So at a gathering, use this info to turn the conversation(monologue really) on to the rest of the audience.Act as a sort of debate moderator where you give everyone else a chance to speak about themselves.Praise whatever the others say,both to encourage them to keep talking and to piss off the AW.The AW either shuts up or tries in a very transparent and desperate attempt to regain the group’s focus.And it will only make her look like the silly asshole that she is.

  14. Hate to state the obvious, but women are the worst at this and hence the ‘whore’ part. In my place of work, there is a woman who enjoys walking around. The reason is because she is addicted to the sound of her high heels echoing throughout the office building. For some reason, high heels make women feel powerful. Sad, when you think about it: you need a shoe to promote your needs. Anyway, the worst part is the woman works on the floor above me and everyone can hear her trampling around upstairs. So there is no way to confront her annoyance. She can’t be unaware of it. She’s a clown, as far as i’m concerned. Hope she reads this. lol.

  15. I agree, there’s a women at work who acts like this. Loud and proud!
    Ironically she’s so arrogant that she will happily sit in the middle of the office on her mobile phone shouting at her daughter and other occasions swearing at her ex-partner.
    You reap what you sow in this life . . . she’ll have no one at her death bed!! Haha!

  16. Yeah…textbook problem, textbook answer. However:

    Some women will go off if you try to “deal” with them. Meaning, they will demand attention in the way they want it from you, and only you , which is usually very different from the type of attention they want from a male stranger 2 feet away. If they don’t get it, they usually become hysterical, weepy and flighty so they that they must be “chased” and saved from themselves. At this point, they do not care if they burn down a house to get the “right” attention.

    Men can be worse though, believe it or not. They too need specific attention from you versus, say, a male friend in the same room. If they don’t receive the reaction they want they will “hunt you down” and even beat you up, unless they are physically stopped or they think they’ve punished you enough for “not submitting” the right attention to them.

    I used to believe there were only a few men and women who fall into these categories, but over the years have come to realize there are MANY of them amongst us, just brewing until “The Perfect Storm” of elements are present (opposite sex, feeling unvalidated, a major break up or loss, booze, whatever/you name it) for these over-the-top, unprovoked behaviors to erupt. These are the folks who literally wind up on the 6 o’clock news. If you ever see this stuff unfolding right in front of you, RUN!

  17. hi, this was helpful, but not completely in my situation. An aquaintence of mine ( that i share art class with) seems to find joy in stealing attention vs. always having the attention (although thats a part of it I suppose). its highly infuriating, for example, a project i was working on earned me many a compliments, and while the other atudents are standing near me admiring, she’ll basically shove her work in their face and essentially says “hey hey stop looking at her stuff and look at mine!” the others students would just kind of ignore her or simply say “kay” and continue looking at my work. im not someone who gets attention or compliments or anything so this just pisses me off/ annoys me when she does that and she does that ALL the time. is there anyway i can combat this without being mean or rude? other than this, i do like her so i dont want to push away a potentially good friend.

    Thanks!
    Ashley

  18. hh jones says:

    Attention whores can be the life of the party. Imagine 8 stick in the muds having a good time. The one drunk that jumps up on the table and falls off provides some fun. Attention whores don’t try to fight them just let it flow.

  19. Great article, lots of helpful tips. I do disagree that shy people are jealous, it’s mostly an energy thing. Shy people cannot take it any more after a while and then they snap. AW eat every bit of energy that you’ve collected for the day, 10 min and you ‘re depleted.

  20. Hi! Wonderful article and absolutely hits my problem right on spot!! I am part of a group that does stage shows, and one of my teammates is a girl who fits the description perfectly. She even bosses around younger and junior team members. Initially, I used to feel disconcerted, angry and unable to deal with her attention hogging antics, because I had never faced this before. I even tried to introspect if I was jealous or envious. But I never did have any thing to feel jealous about, as I got my share of compliments after every show!!
    Any confrontation by me would result in a complete flip-over of words and her saying that I don’t take criticism positively.
    I have learnt to ignore and be nonchalant when she is on one of her swings. I also take measures to ensure that I remain positive and upbeat when I know I am going to meet her. This helps because onlookers can see that I am not instigating any of the negativity. And I also always remember that real talent and a great attitude naturally attract attention. And that I don’t have to be better than someone else, but definitely be the best I can possibly be! That’s something no one can ever take away from me :)

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