Influencer Happily Reveals When She First Noticed She Was An 'Attention Seeker'

Does attention-seeking behavior always have to be a bad thing?

attention-seeking woman stockfour / Shutterstock

When you imagine an attention seeker, what’s the first thing you think of? Is it your friend who’s always laughing suspiciously loud in crowded bars? Maybe even a parent who exaggerates stories or makes up lies to get some “oohs & aahs” at family gatherings.

You probably don't think too fondly of these so-called "attention seekers." In our society, you’re bred to be self-assured and extroverted, but by all means, don’t take it too far. We’re praised for our confidence but belittled for it in many situations. 


It’s exactly the debate and open conversation that one influencer’s honest story on TikTok sparked — what does being an attention seeker actually mean? Is it really such a bad thing?

The influencer candidly revealed the moment she realized she was an ‘attention seeker’ — and it’s not what you’d expect.

The influencer and model Abbi-Mae shared how she learned that she possessed attention-seeking behaviors. Despite the negative connotation surrounding the term and misguided stereotypes about her occupation, her video took a lighthearted turn.


When did you first know you were an attention seeker? 🤔🥲

♬ original sound - Abbi-Mae💌

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“When was it that you first knew you were an attention seeker?” she asked at the start of her TikTok. "I'll go first."

“When we went bowling as children, I quickly realized that the UV makes white clothing glow in the dark,” she shared. “So, every time I would go bowling for kids’ birthday parties, with my family, anytime I went bowling — I would make my mom dress me in an all-white outfit so I would glow like some sort of extraterrestrial disco child."

"Kinda been like that ever since," she jokingly concluded of her attention-seeking ways.

Many therapists and professionals posit that attention-seeking behavior can be harmful to yourself and your relationships. 

Constant attention-seeking behavior can damage personal relationships by making the attention-seeker appear inauthentic, particularly when they fish for compliments, embellish stories, feign a lack of ability, or intentionally seek sympathy. These types of behaviors can also be signs of larger struggles like personality disorders.


Healthline studies argue that attention-seeking behaviors often develop or are rooted in personality struggles or childhood experiences — ranging from serious traumatic events to self-esteem issues lying just beneath the surface. Whether it’s jealousy, self-doubt, loneliness or anxiety, oftentimes people rely on attention-seeking behaviors to fill a void of interaction they perceive to be missing from their regular lives.

Not always perceivable to others or even conscious within the attention seekers themselves, these behaviors frequently go unnoticed or unacknowledged for long periods of time. In some people, they might become exacerbated and consequential — coupled with a larger mental health struggle — but in others, they simply become an attribute of their identity or personality at large.

However, despite these stigmas and the potential for larger issues at play, this influencer's story serves as a reminder that not everything under the umbrella term of attention-seeking behavior has to be that serious. Sometimes, it's just an extroverted child looking for laughs. 


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Despite negative discourse about the consequences of attention-seeking, there are a number of ways it can bring fulfillment and connection to your life.

“When we use the phrase ‘attention-seeking behavior,’ what it implies is that if we give in to the behavior that they’re doing, then we’re feeding it,” counselor and relationship expert Lisa Streich said. “I want to reframe this term into ‘connection-seeking behavior.'"

Even a quick online search of the term relays a certain negative connotation of the phrase — with search results talking about medical diagnoses, strategies for combating these behaviors, and tips on removing people from your life with attention-seeking tendencies. However, at the root of these behaviors is in some ways a yearning for connection.


Some might phrase it as validation, others as selfishness — and of course, there are ways this behavior can take a harmful path — but at its core, it is a desire for connection with others. 

“If you have a need, not meeting that need does not make it go away,” Streich added in a follow-up TikTok. “If you had a need for hunger, not eating does not make that need go away … it’s the same for our emotional needs.”

@securelyrooted Follow up on my video discussing “attention seeking behavior” and what actually drives your child to act this way - Im Lisa, an attachment therapist and I help you deepen safety, security and connection in your relationships Enrollment for Attachment 101 Course is open! DM or comment for details!#attachmentstyle #attachmenttheory #therapistsontiktok #fyp #relationshiptherapist #relationshiphealing #tiktoktherapy #attachmenttherapist #attachmentstyles #parentsoftiktok #parentingteens #parentingtips #attachmentparenting #attentionseeker #attentionseekingbehavior@Lisa Streich, LCPC, LMT@Lisa Streich, LCPC, LMT@Lisa Streich, LCPC, LMT ♬ original sound - Lisa Streich, LCPC, LMT

So, whether you're parenting a child or navigating a romantic relationship, sometimes communication, acknowledgment of these behaviors, and the reframing of misguided phrases like “attention-seeking” can actually get to the root of the problem rather than exasperate the issue. 


Attention-seeking can also be connection-seeking, friendship-seeking, love-seeking, or anything else that fulfills your emotional needs.

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Zayda Slabbekoorn is a News & Entertainment Writer at YourTango who focuses on health & wellness, social policy, and human interest stories.