01 November 2011

Attention Seeking Behaviour

I'm starting Blogtoberfest now, even though I'm a month late. October was a fairly dire month for me, and I'm hoping November will be much better. Also, I'm going to ride the waves of NaNoWriMo energy, blogging every day as my NaNo buddies work on their novels and word counts. So hopefully you'll be seeing me here far, far more often than in recent months.

Recently I saw a conversation on twitter in which one tweep castigated another for moaning and attention seeking. This struck me as rather odd, as why would anyone tweet about anything if they didn't want someone to pay attention? Whether we're asking a question, venting about something, posting a cute picture, heckling a TV show, squeeing in fannish delight, boasting of an achievement, sobbing our heart out, or telling a joke, we're doing it on twitter because we hope someone will notice, and preferably care enough respond or retweet.

The term "attention seeking" seems to be mostly used about someone who is expressing an emotion that others aren't comfortable with - often pride, anger or despair - or voicing an opinion that others want to undermine. Rather than deal with "negative" emotions or ideas that we don't like but can't find an argument against, it's so much easier to just make the person wrong. Wrong not just in what they're saying or how they're saying it, but in what they're doing, even what they're being. And definitely undeserving of attention.

Well, bugger that. There are definitely times when I'm happy just pootling around in my own world, or interacting with my cats (they have no inhibitions about seeking attention when they want it, or rejecting it when they don't), but there are other times when if I'm not able to interact with another person, give them my attention and be the focus of theirs, I feel hunger for that exchange of attention. And if I spend a lot of time away from other people, with my only exchanges being online, and especially if I'm not honestly expressing what I'm feeling, then I feel starved, malnourished for lack of being noticed and responded to. And it gets harder to respond to others, almost as if I become out of practice, or my "able to heed others" muscle has atrophied. Too few demands for my heedfulness are as stressful as too many.

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you found it interesting. You may think I'm addressing these words to no one, or to some random person who googled on "heedfulness" or "NaNoWriMo" and scrolled down to the end to see if there was a conclusion... But I'm not. I'm talking to you. I'm noticing you.


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