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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 December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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