Attention seeking friends can be a thorn in your side for a number of reasons. They’re needy, they’re often embarrassing themselves (and you), and they often don’t understand what boundaries are. Generally, it’s their insecurity and attention seeking behavior that causes the social difficulties that they struggle with. The problem with attention seekers is that it’s often hard to figure out how to deal with them without also dealing with fallout. Here are the five best ways to deal with an attention seeker while keeping drama low.
1. Pull a slow fade.
Stay cordial, but stop answering their calls and texts. Tell them that you’re busy. After a while, most attention seekers will stop trying to talk to you and involve you in whatever drama they got themselves into.
2. Be forward in telling them why you are not interested in talking to them – and let others be aware of it, too.
Attention seekers often don’t realize how bad they look to anyone who isn’t them, and often don’t realize how off-putting it is. It may hurt them, and they may bitch about having you not talk to them, but the fact of the matter is that you’re nipping their bad behavior in the bud. Since you’re open about refusing dealing with them, it’s not like they can spread rumors about things they did to you either. At best, you may actually get them to tone it down a notch.
3. Set boundaries, and stick to them.
For obvious reasons, attention seekers are often the first ones to ignore boundaries, the first ones to pressure you into inviting them to a party, and the first ones to namedrop you if you’re in a position of power. If you don’t want to be mean to the attention seeker, a good way to deal with this is by setting boundaries. Tell them to stop, and if they do it again, tell them you’ve told them before, and that you are no longer dealing with them. If they try to beg for forgiveness, don’t let them slide. By showing that you won’t tolerate their behavior, they either will shape up and realize they’re being cringe-inducing jerks, or be left without your company.
4. Ignore them.
Generally speaking, this is the absolutely last thing an attention seeking individual wants you to do – which is why it works so well. If you don’t acknowledge them, attention seekers will usually give up on trying to befriend you, and then will move to other targets that may be easier. After all, low hanging fruit is easier to pick.
5. Jokingly nudge them to STFU.
Sometimes, subtlety does work, but only if it’s done to a person who understands it. When an attention seeker is becoming a bit too awkward with the constant ploys to get people talking about them, a simple joke about how they’re being attention seekers might be the way to get them to stop.
Obviously, you will at times have to deal with people who cry out for attention no matter what they’re doing. As long as you keep your distance, though, you’ll be alright.