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4 Bumps

Attention seekers nobody can ditch

Everyone has one, or some, they have to deal with in life, and the answer of "just ignore them" is a bit condescending since adults aren't typically living in a pre-school environment where that does any good.

How do you deal with the person who insists they are being singled out or "mean girled" by someone, yet insists on following that person around and constantly engaging them (then expects sympathy when they aren't welcomed with open arms)?

Or the one who is so desperate to participate, more time is spent thinking about their contribution to the conversation than what others are saying, to the point they'll often repeat someone else's point?

There's the fake ditz, who lurks around listening to everything, intentionally looking for little bombs to drop, only to then insist that they had no idea about whatever drama they were intentionally looking to start, and either play the victim for having it pointed out, or deflect and insist anyone who was aware is somehow at fault because knowing about it must require extensive work.

There's also the eternal sob story. Whatever they've been through in life is always worse than anyone else, and also an excuse for any wrong doing. The rules of society don't apply to them, because they always have a trump card.

So when you're an adult and can't simply tell these people they can't be in your yard, how do you deal with them? It's the annoying PTO mother who attaches herself to you at every meeting. The one woman at the gym who thinks it's HER gym, and you're there at her discretion. That co-worker who spends more time obsessed with these things than doing their actual job, but can't understand why you don't appreciate having the privilege of picking up her slack. The play group mom who wants more attention than the kids. (and let's face it, it's not always women - there are men who can be just as adept at lying, stirring or clinging).

It's impractical to suggest that people should have to remove themselves from the situation just to mollycoddle these people, so what's the best way to curb their behavior without having to inconvenience everyone ELSE?

Answer Question
 
NotPanicking

Asked by NotPanicking at 9:42 AM on Aug. 16, 2013 in Relationships

Level 51 (420,440 Credits)
Answers (27)
  • I would say call them on it, but then they will whine that you are being mean to them. It doesn't always work to point out their asinine behavior, because no one wants to think that THEY are the problem. I agree that ignoring them doesn't always work. Some will then go out of their way to follow you around. I need to think about this some more, because giving in to their behavior is like rewarding a child for a temper tantrum and will only cause more issues. I am not sure of the right answer right now.
    kmath

    Answer by kmath at 10:00 AM on Aug. 16, 2013

  • I tend to call them on their nonsense.
    So much so, I was almost dismissed from a job for unprofessionalism.

    feralxat

    Answer by feralxat at 10:05 AM on Aug. 16, 2013

  • One thing that all of those examples have in common is a person (or persons) that have been allowed/encouraged to continue that behavior, to the point that it is considered acceptable because no one has called them on their behavior.

    "How do you deal with the person who insists they are being singled out or "mean girled" by someone, yet insists on following that person around and constantly engaging them (then expects sympathy when they aren't welcomed with open arms)?"

    I call them on it. If you dislike me (or anyone else) so much, if you're SO certain you're being treated unfairly, quit willingly putting yourself in places that you insist are danger zones for you.

    (con't)
    Mrs_Prissy

    Answer by Mrs_Prissy at 10:07 AM on Aug. 16, 2013

  • "There's the fake ditz, who lurks around listening to everything, intentionally looking for little bombs to drop, only to then insist that they had no idea about whatever drama they were intentionally looking to start, and either play the victim for having it pointed out, or deflect and insist anyone who was aware is somehow at fault because knowing about it must require extensive work."

    I call them on it. "Please don't automatically assume I'm so stupid that I can't see exactly what you're doing. And, since it is likely you've been doing this so long without consequence, allow me to point out that most anyone with a few functioning brain cells can see right through you"

    "There's also the eternal sob story. Whatever they've been through in life is always worse than anyone else, and also an excuse for any wrong doing. The rules of society don't apply to them, because they always have a trump card."

    (con't)
    Mrs_Prissy

    Answer by Mrs_Prissy at 10:10 AM on Aug. 16, 2013

  • "There's also the eternal sob story. Whatever they've been through in life is always worse than anyone else, and also an excuse for any wrong doing. The rules of society don't apply to them, because they always have a trump card."

    I will call them on it. Again, this is a sympathy ploy that has worked for so long that, to the person playing it, a sympathetic response is not only expected, it's demanded. They've used whatever it may be.....prior illness, childhood, disability....to elicit hand wringing and angst among the.

    Here's the deal with that. You're not allowed to scream "autonomy!" or "I can do the same things everyone else can!!" while, at the same time, playing off your life circumstances in order to generate sympathy. My thought is that those TRULY independent of their life circumstances would be insulted when people rush to their side to defend them solely because their life was difficult at some pont
    Mrs_Prissy

    Answer by Mrs_Prissy at 10:16 AM on Aug. 16, 2013

  • "hand wringing and angst among the"

    *among the audience
    Mrs_Prissy

    Answer by Mrs_Prissy at 10:17 AM on Aug. 16, 2013

  • I would say call them on it, but then they will whine that you are being mean to them.

    That really does get to the problem of it. Like Prissy says, call them on it, but when called on it, it's an instant flip to victim mode, and MORE attention seeking behavior. It is genuinely a case of people being toxic, so what's the antidote?
    NotPanicking

    Comment by NotPanicking (original poster) at 10:22 AM on Aug. 16, 2013

  • playing off your life circumstances in order to generate sympathy

    Who didn't/ doesn't have a hard life.
    The one upmanship only enhances the "victim's" reputation as a boor.


    feralxat

    Answer by feralxat at 10:23 AM on Aug. 16, 2013

  • "Who didn't/ doesn't have a hard life.
    The one upmanship only enhances the "victim's" reputation as a boor."

    And this is exactly my point. We ALL have had significant difficulties at one point or another. It's called life. But so often, it doesn't backfire on the "victim" because one thing I've discovered is, they can always find a new audience. Then the cycle begins anew. New audience rushes to the aid of the "victim" because the old audience has figured it all out and the sympathy level has decreased.

    It's almost pathological
    Mrs_Prissy

    Answer by Mrs_Prissy at 10:26 AM on Aug. 16, 2013

  • Here's the deal with that. You're not allowed to scream "autonomy!" or "I can do the same things everyone else can!!" while, at the same time, playing off your life circumstances in order to generate sympathy. My thought is that those TRULY independent of their life circumstances would be insulted when people rush to their side to defend them solely because their life was difficult at some point.

    ^^^This makes sense to me. How can you feel you are independent, even with a handicap of some sort, when you expect others to jump in and defend you when you perceive someone is attacking you?
    kmath

    Answer by kmath at 10:27 AM on Aug. 16, 2013

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