I like telling people I am attention starved. I mean, why else would I do something like this blog? But I am not really attention starved, I get plenty of interaction with people, even now, and I know how to pull the plug on it when I have reached that point. I get to that place where I am over people, and then I retreat. There are good ways to get attention, and bad ways. We all know people that do both. The question is why are they looking so hard when they seem to have people around them who love them and give them what they need? Or maybe they don’t…
I always liked the performance aspect of bartending and serving. It is like having a split personality without needing medical or psychological assistance. I could smile and laugh with you, and walk away growling. It would feed my need for attention, while giving you attention, and I would get the instant gratification of cash. That’s a win for me! And I would observe behaviors of people, and it taught me a lot about dealing with people. Reading them and their needs. Some people want you interacting with them often, and others want to be left alone, bring the food and beverage, and move along. Read either scenario well, and it could pay well.
Transitioning out of the service industry is a little tough, but people still give you the body language and signals that they need something, they just move along faster and don’t hand me cash as a result. That’s a tougher transition, but a topic for another day. But the skills are fairly transferable, so it has been a good move for me. I had a 30 day review at the new gig, and it was really positive. The old customer service skills are still shining, in a different capacity. I guess you would say I got positive attention for doing what I do. Right on!
Now, attention seeking. That hits a little different. We all see a ton of it with social media. Things like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and those platforms are filled with people screaming for attention. Look at me!! And the more “likes” you get, the more comments you get, the more validated you are for posting the post. Build up those followers, and more attention gets heaped upon you. And people are hurting themselves, intentionally, for that attention. That’s a big leap to make, not everyone does it that way, but it is happening. Doing and saying things that will cause you harm, so that people will look at you, like you, acknowledge you, in the name of attention, is a growing problem. And it keeps going. You are already hurting, but you continue on, so that others will keep encouraging you, it brings the attention you are starving for, and you do not know where the line is that will stop it. Who else is getting hurt, or ignored, so that you can still feel that rush of attention, of gratification?
I am not an overly educated individual. I did a little time in college, but never finished it. The bulk of things I know I picked up as I went along. So I can’t speak much to why people do the things they do, but sometimes it is fairly easy to draw a line from one point to another. And I see it within myself too. I like the instant gratification I get when someone comments on my posts and blog. It’s a little thrill, it validates the time and thought I put into something. What I really want it so entertain you for a few minutes, but if I make you stop and think for a minute, that is a bonus. Attention. You gave me some attention. I am thankful for that. I guess I took a long way around to say that while you are out trying to get someone to notice you, please make sure you are not forgetting to acknowledge that someone else is watching what you are doing, and learning from it. Is it something good they are learning, or are you causing unintentional harm by seeking that outside attention, or validation, from someone else? Just something I consider, while I have your attention.
Thank you, truly, for taking a little time to read my thoughts from time to time. You have given me attention, and I want you to know I am paying attention. I see what happens, I think about it. It sits with me sometimes for a long time, and I don’t always get the words to the screen. But it is there. As we are moving forward in a strange time, a lot of us need a little extra encouragement and attention. Give it to those who need it, but don’t take it away from someone else because you are feeling inadequate in some way. We are traveling together, through this, and we are not always going to be good travel partners, but moving forward, I hope we all get to the right destination in health and wellness, mentally and physically.