Have you got a friend who processes their emotional pain on social media? Or maybe someone who takes most of the air time in conversations. Or you know someone who’s always the ‘class clown’.
I propose that what they might be doing is craving something that we all want. Attention. That’s why they are doing such attention seeking behaviours. It’s coming from an unmet need. A need for attention.
Many of us end up doing the opposite of what they need too. We turn away, roll our eyes, call them ‘attention seekers’. Whether we see their cry for help, or miss it, we have our own reaction that means those behaviours keep repeating themselves. For them and for us.
So here’s a crazy concept. Let’s give it to them. Give them attention. It feels counter intuitive to what they deserve right?! We feel we might be rewarding and even encouraging their behaviours.
Maybe there is a better way, a different way, to do it? By still giving them attention but making it respectful. Respect looks like many things. It’s listening to someone more experienced and older than you, even when you don’t want to. It’s not looking at your phone when someone is speaking. It’s getting curious when someone has a different opinion to you.
I propose that respect is also caring about the other person and/or the impact and talking that through with them. What if it’s explaining to them what you are seeing and asking them if there is a different way to process or behave. What if respect means you chose their evolution over your discomfort? And instead of rolling your eyes and being annoyed you lean into giving them attention and explaining their impact.
Joseph Grenny author of Crucial Conversations says; ‘If you don’t talk it out you will act it out’. That’s so good. He’s saying that when we don’t talk to people about what’s going on, we start treating them differently. Ignoring them, being frustrated by them, not inviting them to things, dropping them off emails. I don’t think we will move things forward for anyone when we stay there.
It’s just an idea. Play with it. And see where it leads you.
PS: Want to talk about our ‘Working as One’ program? How to create high performance teams and workplaces (and give your team the tools I talked about in this blog). Just hit reply and say “lets chat” and we’ll reach out and set up a time to talk.