There is no one-rule-fits-all when starting conversations with people. There are different types of conversationalists, each with their pros & cons. Previously we examined Still Waters, the Jester and the Open Book.
One of the most difficult talker types is the Attention Seeker.
The Attention Seeker is mostly a problem when they are disrupting a group conversation. He says everything that pops into his head and thinks that it is important that everyone hears it. He tries to monopolise the conversation and makes his comments the priority.
It’s easy for others to be put-off by this person, even to think they are a jerk. But their behavior isn’t always intentional. In some cases, the person may have a medical condition which makes them behave this way in social situations. For others it is simply a lack of self-awareness.
For those who aren’t self-aware, the need to be central to the conversation may come from esteem issues. They want to feel important to the conversation and impactful on the people that are there.
Regardless of any mitigating reason for the Attention Seeker’s behavior, the result is unfortunately the same. People start trying to ignore the Attention Seeker to discourage his efforts. It has the opposite effect. The more he is being ignored, the more he tries to force himself into the conversation.
A vicious circle is in action. The Attention Seeker keeps talking but no one wants to interact with him. So he talks even more striving to feel validated. He doesn't realise that it's the quality of his words that is lacking, not the quantity.
One on one, this can be a problem too. The Attention Seeker can be trying to turn the conversation back on to themselves. If you start talking about yourself, they will interrupt to tell their own story. It creates imbalance in the conversation, resulting in a very dissatisfying exchange.
The positives of talking to the Attention Seeker are small. The Attention Seeker is an easy person to start a conversation with, but it will become obvious quickly that the Attention Seeker is more interested in being appreciated by you instead of wanting to get to know you.
There is no great way to handle the Attention Seeker. My only advice would be to consider how much of the Attention Seeker is you. Be self-aware in conversation, and mindful of behavior which may be impeding good conversations.
Use your filter in conversation. You don’t need to speak up at every opportunity.
You yourself may be an Attention Seeker if:
- You notice that people are ignoring you when you feel you have something to say.
- You feel frustrated when others get to share their story before you.
- You interrupt a lot.
Do you have any suggestions for Talker Types that we can examine? Tell us in the comments section.