Can we ever get ‘enough’ attention? A big question, one with a variety of answers. Some would say yes, others no, but I feel there’s a more of a 50/50 response; more of a need for the question to be analyzed or discussed in order to reach a proper conclusion:
I hesitate to call attention ‘neediness’ because I know that we often assume that being needy is a bad thing. I would say that there’s a difference between a ‘need’ and a ‘want’; we often want attention, but don’t actively need it – yet craving attention can definitely be misinterpreted as neediness and thus condemned because we somehow seem to assume that needing someone is bad, toxic even. Nowadays, we understand more than ever that needing someone, specifically in times of stress or hardship, is normal, however, I would agree with the idea that needing attention specifically, just for the sake of it, can be extremely harmful. My own definition of ‘needy’, if I were to look at it in a negative context, is similar to the kind of toxic attention seeking attitude that we’ve all see, and (let’s be honest) experienced at one time or another ourselves. It’s petty, childish, annoying and generally too demanding to be considered justifiably assertive.
I love attention.
Let me start by saying that I love attention. I do! I’d be lying if I said I didn’t – I think a lot of us would be lying if we said we didn’t. But for me, there are a lot of conditions that come with it, conditions that I create for myself and conditions that are based on the situation.
I love attention when it’s on my terms. I’d imagine this is true for most. Nobody wants attention in moments of embarrassment, or even when they don’t mentally or physically feel their best. In times like this I just, quite frankly, wish that people would fuck off and leave me alone. Unwanted attention. Yes, in times of unwanted attention you can definitely have ‘enough’ attention.
Sometimes we’re blind to our needs.
But what about those times when attention is unwanted, and we don’t realize it? This might sound foreign, but how many times have you been in the spotlight, enjoying the attention but beginning to feel a little drained? Can’t really figure out why…Don’t understand how in this moment of fun and excitement when all eyes are on you, you’re struggling to fully enjoy yourself. In situations like this, it might be that you have had ‘enough’ attention. Without realizing it we often put across our best and sometimes slightly fake selves in social situations – it can be exhausting! The more attention we get, the more we feel as though we have to continue the act, continue seeming as though we’re having just as much fun as we should be. We’ve all helped to create this attitude. Perhaps with a little less social pressure, we wouldn’t need to worry about whether we’ve had ‘enough’ attention or not.
A lack of attention, in certain circumstances, can drive you nuts!
On the flip side, of course, we’ve all been in that situation where we aren’t getting as much attention as we wanted. Whether this is in a social situation or simply through messaging a potential love interest and not receiving the kind of responses you wished for, a lack of attention can drive you crazy. This is where we need to be careful, it’s words like ‘crazy’ and the attitude that can be produced through a lack of attention that allowed the label ‘needy’ to be created – more often than not directed at women rather than men. And yes, it’s unfair, but hey, some people are extremely insecure and want to push their issues onto you just because you expressed your feelings. Keep feeling those feels, and give less of a fuck about what others think of you.
‘Enough’. What is ‘enough’? I think getting ‘enough’ attention means something different to everyone, and as long as wanting attention doesn’t rule your life, what’s the harm in it?! I recently listened to the Darcy Caden Armchair Expert (Dax Sheperd’s podcast) episode and she, though a little sarcastically, suggested that we can’t ever get ‘enough’ attention. Perhaps as an actress and extrovert, her pursued career and naturally, social personality explains that attitude. I for one know many people who love keeping themselves to themselves, they’re introverts at heart and day to day attention just isn’t an extremely necessary thing for them – though this is often not the case when in a socially small and comfortable situation.
I think, ultimately, if you’re a people person like me, there’s rarely a time when you get ‘enough’ attention. Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t function without some me time and we all need different things, but I love being around people, noticed by people and talking to people. Attention doesn’t need to be some kind of vapid ‘I’m better than you’ or ‘look at me because I’m amazing’ downwards spiral – for me, it’s primarily about making connections and I couldn’t live without that.