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Attention Whore: What It Is, 23 Signs & Secrets to Handle an Attention Seeker

How can you spot an attention whore? It isn’t just about having the spotlight occasionally, it’s a desperate need for all eyes on you. Could you be one?

attention whore

There’s an attention whore in all of us. But in almost all of us, it’s just a small part of who we are. Most of us can live without extensive attention from the world. For the majority of us, we can get along just fine with a few friends to rely on.

However, some people thrive on attention and always want to get the spotlight in every situation. [Read: Signs you’re making an attention seeker your priority when you’re only an option in her life]

What is an attention whore?

An attention whore is anyone obsessed with getting attention from everyone. Not just obsessed; they’ll do whatever it takes to get their desired attention. 

We’ve all seen thirst traps that scream, “I want attention!”

Do you have a friend who puts up a new selfie on social media with her boobs almost sticking out *”unintentionally,” of course!* And every now and then, she posts ridiculous things like “Hit like if you think I’m sexy” or “OMG, I look so friggin’ ugly!”

It’s so blatantly obvious that she does this for attention. She wants her friends to tell her she’s really pretty and sexy and she doesn’t have to change a thing. [Read: Signs of attention-seeking behavior that masks their insecurity]

This is one prime example of an attention whore. It doesn’t really matter whether they’re aware of what they’re doing or not. At the end of the day, they want to steal and grab attention from others.

There are other, milder, kinds of attention whores too. And there’s a huge chance that you know one of them already.

Sometimes, you have an attention whore as a friend. Or, you’re an attention whore yourself, and you don’t even know it *because the signs can be so subtle sometimes!*. [Read: 20 signs you’re a people pleaser and don’t even know it!]

Types of attention whores

Now that we know what an attention whore is, let’s get to the different kinds of attention whores. There are two kinds of attention whores.

The first kind is the one who really needs attention because they’re lonely. And the second kind are just the ones who need attention.

The first kind is mildly acceptable *and sad if you think about it*. They seek attention because they’re lonely and just want the company of others. On the other hand, the second kind is just purely self-absorbed and constantly wants the world to revolve around them.

It’s the second kind that’s a pain in the rear, the kind who are whoring for attention because they thrive on it. [Read: What is a thirsty girl? All the signs to know if a girl is parched and desperate!]

Is being an attention whore always a bad thing?

If you’re someone who loves attention and thinks no harm can ever come of it, well, you’re obviously confused. And probably wondering what could be wrong with it.

In reality, being a desperate attention whore can do you more damage than good. Unless you’re earning money off your attention-seeking ways on a reality show or on social media, it won’t help you in any way.

Being an attention whore will make you hurt too many friends that truly care because you’d never really be close to any of them.

Without realizing it, you’ll find yourself using your trustworthy friends and disposing of them when you don’t need them in your life. You pretend like everyone is your best friend, and just to win over a new friend, you usually ignore an older friend who stood by you when you had no friends or support.

You’ll hurt and piss off too many innocent and loving friends along the way. And, eventually, hurt yourself because the only people who stand by you will be other fake people and attention seekers who think just like you. [Read: Bad friends – 25 types of friends you must unfriend from your life]

And even if you do eventually realize you’re wrong and try to go back to your true friends who put up with you each time you treated them like trash, it may be too late.

After all, nobody likes being around an attention whore. They come off as selfish, draining, exhausting, and to some extreme, even toxic and manipulative.

However, sometimes trying to grab a little attention because you’re feeling lonely isn’t all bad. It’s how often you do it and the lengths you go to that matter. [Read: 20 signs of a toxic friend to avoid that rotten one immediately]

Why does someone become an attention whore?

If you’re the first kind of attention whore, the one that seeks attention because you’re lonely, it could be because of a rough childhood, something terrible in the past, or simply lacking friends and company. You compensate for that loneliness by seeking attention in all the wrong ways.

However, if you’re the second kind, wherein you do it purely for attention and drama, there are many factors to consider.

You may never have thought of yourself as an attention whore, and what started off as Instagrandstanding or a thirst trap picture may have now turned into an addiction. You got your attention, you enjoyed it, it gave you a high like nothing else, and now you want more.

While there’s nothing wrong with seeking attention in today’s social-media-obsessed world, it’s a whole different story when attention is the only thing that makes you feel valid. You’re relying on the fickle opinions of others to make or break your day. And that’s a dangerous thing if you think about it. [Read: What makes someone an attention seeker and how to read these traits]

The biggest signs you or someone else is an attention whore

Attention whoring is a way of life. Even if you are one, you may never realize it, and you may assume everyone else is jealous of you because you’re getting the attention of the world and you’re so popular.

Of course, it could be that someone close to you is showing signs of attention-grabbing, and you want to figure out what to do. The first step is to confirm they are indeed an attention whore.

Use these signs to find out if your mind, or someone else’s, is already stepping into the glamorous and fickle world of attention whoring. [Read: Drama queen alert – steps to calmly deal with the diva]

1. Cryptic status updates

An attention whore frequently posts obscure posts, stories, or updates on social media, knowing fully well that most of their followers won’t know what they mean or what they’re trying to say.

And yet they pretend like it wasn’t meant for everyone, or worse, they wait until lots of people start asking what they meant before they explain themselves.

What do we mean by this? Think of status updates and posts like “Can’t wait for tomorrow…” or “That was so much fun *wink*.” That makes no sense to anyone, and that’s exactly what they want. They want the attention and interest from strangers.

2. Problem-solving

An attention whore intentionally flaunts their problems and issues to everyone, be it scars or love triangles. They share their issues with online friends they barely know, even though they can’t get any real help there.

Self-pity? Playing the victim? These are their favorite tactics to use to get people to notice them. They love playing the victim, and they shamelessly crave sympathy. [Read: Being extra – what it means and 16 brazen signs you’re extra AF and loving it]

3. A new look

The attention whore uploads new photos and stories 24/7, letting people know every single thing they’re doing, including hanging out in the toilet! Twitter, Instagram, and maybe even Tiktok are their favorite platforms, and they can’t imagine life without them.

The adrenalin rush of posting a new picture and waiting for the likes and comments to flow in – to them – it’s a high nothing can match!

4. The wannabe braggart

They brag about things constantly when it’s not really such a big deal. The world doesn’t give a rat’s rear end, you know? People see right through them, and most often than not, most end up ignoring them and their need for attention. [Read: Confident or cocky?]

5. The group photo

They don’t realize it, but they always claw their way to stand in front of the group every time someone tries to take a picture.

If you’re doing this, don’t be surprised if your close friends don’t want to take any group photos when you’re around. The way you keep photobombing yourself at the front of every photo indicates you have attention issues.

6. The sore loser

An attention whore can’t accept it if someone hits on their friend instead of them.

Their ego and need for attention are getting in the way of being a good friend, and it’s evident in their frustration and tantrums. [Read: Ways to stop being jealous of someone else’s success or achievement]

7. VIP treatment

They want all the attention when they go to a new place. If their friends get more attention than them, they think the place sucks. But if the manager or the chef speaks a lot more to them, they fall in love with the place, even if the food sucks.

Really, their mood is dependent on people giving them attention, which makes them an evident attention whore.

8. The real life

Even if it’s their best friend’s birthday and everyone is dining out or having a party, they try their best to be the life of the party and hog the attention with their antics.

And if someone brings this to their attention, they get angry *because they’re only trying to ensure that everyone has a good time*.

They don’t have it in them to be selfless even on their best friend’s birthday because they want to make it all about them. [Read: Why do narcissists ignore texts and do the selfish things they do?]

9. They’re nice to everyone

Not because they love all people but because they want everyone they meet to love them and crave their attention!

They go out of their way to be really nice to people they meet for the first time, just to end up taking all their good friends for granted. [Read: Signs of bad friends and circumstances when you need to end a bad friendship]

10. They’re temperamental

An attention whore’s mood swings constantly. They could be in a heated argument with their best friend or their sister, but if a new friend walks past or calls them, they can change their attitude almost instantly and pretend to be happy while talking to them.

Their mood is highly dependent on their need to be noticed and liked. They can instantly switch from rude to nice, depending on where they are and whose attention they want.

11. The center of the world

This is a pretty accurate definition of what an attention whore is. Everything and everyone should revolve around them and nobody else. They feel really miserable if they aren’t the center of attention with their friends.

And if two friends of theirs make plans to go out or do something without telling them about it, they feel deeply hurt. [Read: Loving a narcissist – How to tell if you’ve fallen for a narcissist]

12. They’re important

Their problems and moments of happiness should be shared by all their friends. If they break up or get into a new relationship, all their friends have to feel their pleasure or pain, or they believe they’re terrible friends.

An attention whore genuinely believes good friends are only those who cater to their every whim and fancy, even if they have no intention of ever returning the favor. [Read: Are you a user? 15 uncomfortable facts to help you face the truth]

13. They tell white lies all the time

An attention whore makes up stories about private jets, yachts, partners, vacations, celebrity run-ins, and other grand fantasies every now and then just to appear more interesting than everyone else. They constantly have the urge to feel superior to all their friends.

Even if these stories aren’t real, they don’t care as long as it draws attention to them and makes them appear cooler or more attractive. [Read: How to stop lying and feel more comfortable telling the truth]

14. Fishing for compliments

They need others to tell them that they look good to actually feel good about themselves. They work out, strap on a revealing outfit, or dab themselves with makeup, click a picture and post it on social media with the line, “Gawd, I look so ugly in this pic…”

If there’s anything attention whores are known for, it’s fishing for compliments. They can’t help it; this is who they are and what they do.

15. The unwanted attention

They talk about all the people that give them so much attention and how they so totally hate it. But surprisingly, they don’t ignore those people either. They secretly love it because they give them all the attention in the world.

Sometimes, an attention whore may even lead a lot of people on or make flirty eye contact with literally everyone on the street just to tell themselves that they’re desirable and everyone wants them! [Read: Why do I crave male attention? the truth and your need to be desired]

16. They ignore their friends

They totally ignore someone who cares for them, and take them for granted, be it a friend or a crush that’s actually really nice. And when no one’s around to keep them company or when they feel bored and alone, they call these friends and try to win back their attention.

This is also why an attention whore loses friends as fast as flies. They take them for granted, ignore them, and come running back when they require an attention boost. [Read: How to stop a selfish person from hurting you]

17. They don’t spend quality time

An attention whore may agree to meet you but then decide they have to go and meet up with someone else, bailing on the person who waited so patiently to see them.

They don’t actually spend time with people; instead, they just use people as fillers until their real plans come through. [Read: How to read a girl and recognize the subtle hints she gives out]

18. Flakiness

They may have agreed to hang out with a friend at the weekend, but come Friday night, they have a list of excuses as to why they can’t.

Now, sometimes things happen, but it’s like this every time their genuine friend tries to hang out with this person. In that case, the attention whore is doing what they do so well – craving attention. [Read: 36 shallow traits of a superficial person]

19. They’re not clear

An attention whore’s answers are never direct. Instead, they give extremely vague, noncommittal answers. Why? Because if something better comes along, they gladly drop that person like a hat.

When someone wants to spend genuine time with you, they make a plan and stick to it. That’s not what attention whores tend to do. [Read: How to spot women who are gold diggers and avoid them]

20. Always an excuse

Maybe you questioned their motives already, asking them what’s going on between you two. As you should be doing in the first place when you feel that something’s off. But they seem to have an excuse for everything.

At the end of the day, they use you for attention and nothing more.

21. Not interested in the opinions of others

An attention whore doesn’t want to sit and listen to someone else’s opinions because that means the spotlight isn’t on them. Remember, they need emotional validation, so that means everyone else must sit there and listen. When that happens, they’re happy.

22. Love to pull the strings

An attention whore has to be in control. They cannot handle not having the reins in their hands and steering the ship where they want it to go. Otherwise, who knows what may happen and where the attention may end up? [Read: 23 secret signs of narcissism most people overlook until it’s too late]

23. They’ve been told

An attention whore has probably been told once or twice that they love attention. But that won’t bother them because they’re getting what they want.

It’s really no use telling an attention whore that they’re, well, an attention whore – you’re giving them attention when you tell them!

How to deal with an attention whore

If you’re nodding along to these signs and you think that you’ve got a fully-fledged attention whore in your life, what should you do?

Firstly, ask yourself how bad their attention-seeking behavior is. If it’s just general and it’s something you often laugh about, there’s nothing much to do. But if it’s a negative situation that’s causing you to want to avoid this person, action needs to be taken. [Read: Toxic friends – the types of friends to avoid]

Sit them down and explain that you love spending time with them, but their attention-seeking ways are getting to be a bit too much. Bringing awareness to the situation might be all that’s needed, but if not, you need to cut off the attention supply.

Yes, you need to avoid giving them the attention they crave so badly. They won’t like it, but maybe it will force them to make a change.

How do you stop being an attention whore?

If you resonate with these signs and think you are an attention whore yourself, how do you change your actions? Just admitting that you have a problem means you’re on the right track, so that’s progress!

However, that’s not enough. You need to have the self-awareness to change. [Read: Self-concept – How we create and develop it to control our happiness]

If loneliness is the cause of your attention seeking-behavior, then dealing with your loneliness is the best way.

Find peace with your loneliness and accept that being alone and feeling lonely are two different things. Of course, you can find new friends and seek new connections, but avoid broadcasting your loneliness in the form of attention-seeking behavior.

Hunting out the larger problem and dealing with it gives you the freedom to change the way you act.

On the other hand, if the reason you choose to be an attention whore is that you generally thrive on attention, this takes a lot more awareness to change. [Read: How to respect yourself – 37 secrets of self-respect, self-belief, and self-love]

You’ll stop being an attention whore only if you practice having empathy and consideration and letting go of the need to be the center of attention everywhere.

At the end of the day, your attention-seeking ways are pointless if you don’t have real friends by your side. We’re talking about the ride-or-die kind of friends, not the type that worships your every need.

But, of course, everyone seeks attention occasionally. So perhaps it’s more about finding the line between when being an attention whore is too much and when it’s okay.

Keep a journal and document when you feel the need to seek attention. Doing this will give you important information about what you need to change and what’s fine to let go of. [Read: How to build self-confidence – 16 ways to realize you’re worth it]

So, are you an attention whore?

Being an attention whore could give you a lot of happiness in the moment, but you need to remember that this burst of happiness is only momentary for as long as the fifteen minutes of fame lasts.

Do you think you have a friend who’s an attention whore? Or do you think you have an attention whore in you? Acknowledging these signs in yourself will definitely draw out the people pleaser in you and help you change yourself for the better.

[Read: Achieving self-acceptance – little steps for one big change]

If you like being an attention whore in a fake world, be so at your own risk. Just prepare yourself to lose everyone in your life because they’re simply too drained to be around you. 

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...