I really relate to wanting attention but feeling degraded, or like it’s not acceptable, when I ask for it. I had a different reaction to it, which was to become a thought leader among my friends who always knew what was morally and factually right. This made me shiny to a lot of people but also let me fall back to a righteous stance if someone didn’t like me.
I wish wanting attention weren’t treated as if it were so disgusting. I grew up hearing “Don’t listen to him. He just wants *attention*” with contempt in the speakers’ voices. My parents weren’t like that, but I got the message all the same. A deisrable person, the person who would get the attention, didn’t give a shit what people thought of them.
In my own model, people have an emotional need for a certain amount of attention. Once that need however is satisfied, they usually don’t have a strong need for more and thus don’t engage in actions that are just done to get attention.
Interacting with people who do what they are doing just to get attention because they are starved of it instead of having other goals feels shallow.
Another interesting aspect is that in my experience they need for the attention of other people goes down with the ability to give attention to yourself and feel clearly that one exists.
I wish wanting attention weren’t treated as if it were so disgusting. I grew up hearing “Don’t listen to him. He just wants *attention*” with contempt in the speakers’ voices.
This kind of thing always makes me think of one of the basic models in Elephant in the Brain. People advocate for policies/norms that benefit them individually when adopted by the group, yet individually they seek to get away with breaking those same norms, typically by lying to themselves that they’re doing so.
In this case, many (most?) people want attention, yet try to reduce the competition by creating a norm that you shouldn’t seek it, all the while attempting to seek attention with plausible deniability. (Goes generally for “status” too.) This acts a strong penalty on those who lack the skill to seek attention surreptitiously or ever feel the desire so strongly that they admit it to themselves. Although it also possibly has the real benefit that people aren’t openly and constantly making bids for you attention left and right.
I also think that current anti-attention asking norms came from Elephant in the brain esque anti-competition norms (the extreme version of everyone always being approved to ask for attention seems makes me think of dystopian future advertising, where the front of my house is plastered in adds).
Also agreeing with Benito that 1v1 long term relationship is a scenario I don’t want people to be penalized when asking for attention.
I agree there’s something to that. But the quote sounds to me like the sort of thing I hear said about a child in a 1-1 interaction with their parent, which shouldn’t be considered a vice across the board. There are times most days of a person’s life where they will feel a healthy desire for the attention of someone they have a long-term relationship with and that should not be met with “and this desire is intrinsically bad”.
Just to be clear, I had no intention of implying it was a vice across the board. I actually don’t think it’s a vice at all to want attention, though some methods of seeking it can be bad. Many attempts aren’t bad and yet are punished (my comment was offering a model for why).
My model: I think quality attention is a finite resource, and that many people have a ravenous appetite for attention. The people around them are not under any obligation to do the emotional labor to give them their fill. Expressing a desire for attention (or anything your interlocutor could give you), overtly or covertly, easily comes off as a manipulative indirect request/demand. This is why people find attention-seeking so gross. Because attention-seeking is agreed upon as a contemptible behavior, people use this as a weapon against each other and accuse others to throw everyone else off the scent of their own vulnerability.