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Why Do People Need Attention?

By Patti Kate
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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People require attention for various reasons and throughout various times of their lives. Newborns and infants need attention to thrive and develop. Children need it to develop social skills and prevent any potential harm from coming to them. The elderly need interaction and attention to prevent boredom and provide companionship or personal care. People suffering from an illness or any medical or mental affliction, often require attention to help them recover.

The importance of attention is subjective. People need attention to satisfy a wide range of emotional needs. Some people need attention to feel loved. Others need attention to feel empowered. When people need attention for emotional reasons, there could be an underlying reason, such as a dependency issue.

Some people require more attention than others. When a person seeks attention from others and will do almost anything to achieve it, he may be referred to as an attention seeker. Some experts believe this may be due to insecurity. For example, a person who feels insecure in a relationship may seek constant attention from a partner.

Children or teenagers who feel insecure about their abilities or physical appearance may seek attention in a negative way. Acting out in class, being disobedient at home, or dressing in an unacceptable manner may signify attention-seeking behavior. For certain people, drawing attention to themselves is the only way to feel accepted.

It is not uncommon for children to demand attention from a parent. A child who is raised in a family of several children may feel neglected or ignored. The child may crave extra attention at times, especially if he feels he is living in a sibling's shadow. Similarly, if a parent's career leaves little time for his child, the child may crave attention and display undesirable behavior in an effort to receive it.

Children and adults who have been physically or emotionally abused by family members or peers may need extra attention. Those who have been put down or ridiculed may seek attention and approval from others. The attention they receive from others may help boost confidence.

Someone may require attention to help him cope physically, such as an invalid who is unable to care for himself. Some people need attention to help them recover from a serious illness. If a person has a medical condition that requires round-the-clock care, the patient will require medical attention to survive. Medical attention may be given by doctors, nurses, or caregivers.

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Discussion Comments
By healthy4life — On Feb 12, 2013

@wavy58 – I believe that narcissists are just insecure. They can't help the fact that they need attention.

I am not a narcissist, but I did need a lot of attention growing up. I was an only child, and I didn't have that many friends. I did latch onto whoever would pay me any attention, though, and it became an addiction.

I needed it like a drug! It made me feel all right, and if I went too long without it, I would start getting restless and depressed.

I don't feel this way anymore. I am more secure in my faith and in my place in this world now, so I don't crave attention from others constantly.

By Oceana — On Feb 12, 2013

There are some people who dislike attention. Very shy people actually don't want to be noticed at all, and they are embarrassed when someone does pay them attention.

It isn't necessarily attention from a group of people that they dislike. Some of them even hate it when an individual talks to them.

By wavy58 — On Feb 12, 2013

Narcissists need a lot of attention. I have known a few of these in my life, and everything has to always be about them.

I had a friend who always turned the subject of conversation toward herself. She needed to know if what she was wearing looked good, and she needed constant reassuring about everything.

She needed more attention than anyone I had ever known. It was hard for her to be in relationships for very long, because people got really weary of her neediness and how self-absorbed she was. I stuck around for years, but eventually, she just became too much for me to handle.

By DylanB — On Feb 11, 2013

I think that babies need more attention than any other humans. The world is new to them, and they are in constant danger from their desire to explore it and their ignorance of the fact that things or actions can hurt them.

They need to be changed, they need to be fed, and they need supervision. They are also probably the best at demanding our attention, because it is hard to ignore those piercing, persistent cries when they need or want something.

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