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How to Deal with People Who Can’t Stop Getting Attention

How to Deal with People Who Can’t Stop Getting Attention

Have you noticed how some people always want to be the center of attention? Whether at work or play, they behave in a way that makes them stand out from the crowd.

You meet these people regularly. “Mr. Outrageous” dresses and acts in such an eccentric way that heads turn when he walks down the street. “Ms. Flirty” oozes appeal that men can’t resist. Even women take notice of the way she moves and her sultry voice. But wait. Are these normal levels of attention seeking or something more?

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Attention seeking individuals may be suffering from “Histrionic Personality Disorder.”

Even though you’re sure to be familiar with people who crave attention, you may not be aware that they could be suffering from a mental illness known as Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD).[1] The American Psychiatric Association defines HPD as a personality disorder characterized by excessive attention-seeking behaviors and emotions.[2]

If the word “histrionic” is new to you, here’s how Merriam-Webster[3] defines it: Deliberately affected, overly dramatic or emotional, theatrical.

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Think of reality TV participants. Frequently they display the traits listed above. In most cases it’s obvious that the participants are huge attention seekers.

How to Identify People with Histrionic Personality Disorder

Let’s now look at how to quickly spot people with HPD. They’re likely to display some or all of the symptoms below:

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  • Intense, unstable emotions
  • Inappropriately flirtatious or seductive behavior
  • Constant need for reassurance and approval
  • Easily bored by routine
  • Overly concerned with physical appearance
  • Problems maintaining relationships
  • Uncomfortable in situations where they fail to be the center of attention

It’s important to be clear that we can all suffer from the above symptoms from time to time. However, individuals suffering from HPD are prone to exhibiting the symptoms incessantly.

The Cause of Histrionic Personality Disorder

Mental health studies have revealed some of the likely causes of HPD:

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  • Brain wiring response to early developmental trauma caused by neglect
  • Genetical inheritance
  • Environmental factors such as lack of criticism while growing up

Why Recognizing Histrionic Personality Disorder Is Important

Whether they are colleagues, friends, or loved ones, it’s critical that you recognize someone suffering from HPD. In doing so you’ll be able to help your relationship with them – making both your lives happier.

As an example, let’s imagine that your boss suffers from HPD. He or she has terrible mood swings and the annoying trait of making small errors on your part seem like major disasters. They also lack the ability to focus on their daily duties, so often hand over their work for you to handle. If you didn’t know that he or she suffered from HPD you’d likely be driven crazy by your boss! However, once you become aware of a personality disorder you can learn how to adjust and cope with the strange behaviors.

Top Five Ways to Deal with Histrionic Personality Disorder Sufferers

You’ve now learned what HPD is and how to recognize it. Let’s conclude this article by looking at the five best ways of coping with people suffering from HPD:

  1. Stay calm when interacting with them. HPD sufferers can easily become agitated. By being calm around them you’ll help to de-escalate any over-the-top behaviors or emotions.
  2. Keep your distance. Whether sitting or standing it’s important to keep a reasonable distance (e.g., 3 or 4 feet) from HPD sufferers. This is because HPD sufferers typically have a hard time understanding boundaries. If you get too close they may act inappropriately towards you.
  3. Question their behavior. For this method to be successful, you must only question their behaviors in a gentle, friendly manner. For instance, if you feel their outlandish clothes are unsuitable for a serious event such as a funeral, this is a good time to ask them questions. You could word it this way: “Your clothes are amazing, but don’t you think something a little plainer would be more suitable for the funeral?”
  4. Recommend they take up meditation or yoga. Meditation and yoga are known for relieving stress and inducing calmness. These are positive traits that can be especially beneficial to a HPD sufferer. If you already practice meditation or yoga, then why not ask the HPD sufferer to come along to a class?
  5. Suggest they seek treatment from a mental health therapist.[4] If interacting with a HPD sufferer is proving too much for you, then you should definitely suggest to them that they seek professional counseling. A qualified mental health therapist will be able to help the HPD sufferer to manage the symptoms. Excessive attention seeking can be a warning sign that someone is suffering from Histrionic Personality Disorder. By learning the symptoms associated with Histrionic Personality Disorder, you can quickly identify affected individuals. Once you become aware of someone suffering from this disorder you can take the recommended steps above to help both them and yourself.

Reference

[1] MSD Manuals: Histrionic Personality Disorder
[2] American Psychiatric Association: What are Personality Disorders?
[3] Merriam-Webster: Histrionic
[4] Good Therapy: Find the Right Therapist

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Craig J Todd

Freelance Writer helping businesses and people to thrive.

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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