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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

UK Writer who loves to use the power of words to inspire and motivate.

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Last Updated on April 8, 2020

11 Things Overachievers Do Differently

11 Things Overachievers Do Differently

We all know some overachievers: supermoms who manage to get online degrees between cleaning, cooking, and taking kids to practice; students who write 10-page papers when the directions call for 4; managers whose resumes look more like pages from the Guinness book of Records.

How do they do it all? How is it possible that one person can graduate at the top of their class, found an orphanage in India, run 30k marathons, write a best-selling book, travel all over the world and learn to speak Mandarin Chinese while having a full-time job?

What’s the secret of an overachiever? Here’re 11 things overachievers do differently that you can learn from.

1. They Know How to Manage Their Time

It’s pretty simple actually – you can never become an overachiever if you don’t know how to organize your time efficiently.

The great thing is that overachievers are ready to share their knowledge and time management talent with the rest of the world. Read The 4-Hour Workweek or The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

2. They Don’t Spend Hours Watching TV or Playing Computer Games

Mostly because they have better things to do, like exercising, reading, spending an evening with their family or volunteering to work in the local soup kitchen. Their philosophy is simple – the world is full of wonderful things to try, explore and experience. Watching TV is not one of them.

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3. They Are Obsessed With Perfection

Imagine Steve Jobs’ work approach and you’ll understand the level of perfection and painfully high standards that overachievers set for themselves and those around them. Often it pays off (especially if they focus on just one domain). But sometimes compulsive over-striving turns into a sure-fire road to disappointments and unfinished tasks.

Learn how to strike a balance: How Not to Let Perfectionism Secretly Screw You Up

4. They Know How To Inspire

Overachievers learn quickly that it is much easier to achieve goals through collaboration (and especially delegation). So they know how to inspire, encourage, persuade and motivate people around them. Even though they often drive their team crazy with their stubbornness and perfectionism, people quickly follow under the spell of their enthusiasm and greater vision.

Learn these 10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively.

5. They Set Clear Goals

The term “overachiever” itself implies that they know how to achieve goals. That is kind of hard to do if your goals are vague, unclear and lack specific deadline, which is why overachievers educate themselves, read goal-setting books, and think about the best way to approach a new task.

Although, it’s worth mentioning that overachievers usually use their time management and goal-setting skills towards competitive, “I want to kick butt” type of goals rather than self-improvement, mastery goals.

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Take a look at these tips to help you set clearer goals: What Are SMART Goals (And How to Use Them to Become Successful)

6. They Are Organized

It’s hard to imagine a disorganized overachiever, isn’t it? Their great organizational and planning skills usually serve three main purposes: keeping track of time, keeping track of progress and keeping track of achievements.

This hasn’t been confirmed by scientific research yet, but overachievers might actually get a “runner’s high” from crossing tasks off their to-do lists, and making new to-do lists.

Here’s How to Organize Your Life: 10 Habits of Really Organized People

7. They Try to Avoid Failure at All Costs

Some psychologists believe that overachievers place their self-worth on their competence, driven by an underlying fear of failure. Rather than setting and striving for goals based on a pure desire to achieve, their core motivation becomes avoiding failure. This may explain the fact that overachiever beat themselves up for even little setbacks and seemingly-insignificant mistakes.

But be aware that having a strong fear of failure can wrek havoc your productivity. So the best thing to do? Learn to conquer the fear: Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It)

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8. They Love Awards

Who doesn’t love them, right? True enough, but unlike most people who like to feel acknowledged and appreciated for their efforts, overachievers are bent on collecting ‘awards’, be it university degrees, spelling bee prizes or unusual destinations.

While loving awares isn’t bad, it’s even better if you’re driven by internal motivation instead of external ones which could be quite uncontrolable or unstable: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It).

9. They Don’t Understand the Concept of Work Hours

Don’t get surprised if you receive a work-related email anywhere between 8 p.m. and midnight. It’s something overachievers usually do and you weren’t the only one. At least 20 more emails have been sent during these hours to other people. The concepts of over-achieving and working overtime usually go hand in hand.

The downside of this is an imbalnced life, which may need to problems in other aspects of life including health and relationships. A better way is to Achieve a Realistic Work Life Balance.

10. They Rest

Overachievers might often be labeled as “workaholics”, because they often ignore bodily signs of hunger, fatigue and even a full bladder, hoping to finish just one last little part. This doesn’t mean that overachievers don’t know how to disconnect and relax.

True that they tend to work in the highest gear, but they also have enough sense to give themselves time to rest and recharge. Of course, they do it in their own overachieving way, preferring climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or hiking through the Amazon jungle to lazing on the beach.

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11. Overachievers Continuously Educate Themselves

A great quality that most overachievers have is the hunger for knowledge. They surround themselves with bright people. They know how to listen, and most importantly, they get tons of mentoring.

Despite the fact that overachievers want to excel at everything they set their minds on, they are humble enough to admit that to get on top of their game, they need help. And they are willing to pay someone to push, coach and guide them.

You too can learn How to Create a Habit of Continuous Learning for a Better You.

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Featured photo credit: Nghia Le via unsplash.com

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