Seeking Attention or Seeking Help on Social Media? Why You Must Know the Difference! by Laura Allen-Davis

Opinion Relationships Tech
5 years ago

Seeking Attention or Seeking Help on Social Media? Why You Must Know the Difference!

Hey folks, be very careful about labeling people "attention seekers" when they post on any social media site. Some people are actually seeking help

Every person that is out on social media is seeking attention in one way or the other. We're sharing, inspiring, motivating, encouraging, celebrating an achievement, staying connected with loved ones and friends, making announcements, etc. We sell or promote businesses or events. Those are just a few examples of “seeking attention.”

In most cases, these are OK and acceptable. However, you also have attention seekers that brag, that constantly play the victim – they are not really seeking help, but wallowing in self pity. They've made no attempt to help themselves. They need an ego boost. No matter what solution you offer, it will never be enough – these people drain you mentally.

There is always a problem. The stories they tell are half-truths, always making themselves look like they've done everything right. They are looking for others to fall into agreement. They are building themselves up, typically by tearing someone else down. These people are the attention seekers, and you pretty much want to avoid and ignore because you can't help them and you certainly don't want to encourage this kind of behavior.

Then you have the person that's truly coming forward and seeking help. The tricky part is knowing when a person is actually "asking for help" or the person is "playing the constant victim" and being needy. So, today I'm focusing on the person that is really asking for help.

What can cause a person to come to a social media public space with intimate personal details and issues? Sometimes a person will seek attention, confirmation and affirmation. If they feel like their voice is unheard, or for whatever reason, they are not able to express their feelings in a more personal intimate setting. Maybe they've tried to reach out to a family member or friend, and they haven't received the support they need.

Possibly, when they tried to speak out, come forward or share, their feelings were minimized or fell on deaf ears. They may have even been told "you're just trying to get attention." For example, a person that makes an attempt at suicide is told "they were just looking for attention." Really? It sounds absurd, but it happens often and daily!

Another example: A young lady is cutting herself. She's told she's seeking attention. STOP IT! She's not seeking attention. She's hurting inside – really bad!

In some cases a person might turn to such a public display of expression as a way of asking, "Is there anybody else out there feeling like this or going through this? How did you turn your situation around?" They may choose this way of expression after all else has failed. In some instances when a person comes to social page with private personal issues, they have tried everything else. They have already been struggling with an issue for a while and they feel alone. He or she might be harboring and sitting on their feelings, and this is a last-ditch effort for help. In this case, know your friends and loved ones! Know when they are saying, "Hey, I'm struggling, with XYZ issue, I've tried this and that, and I don't know what to do anymore." This is a person asking for help!

Are they using terms like:

  • "I'm struggling."
  • "I need help."
  • "I'm afraid."
  • "I'm concerned."
  • "Pray for me."
  • "What would you do?"

This is NOT a person that is "just trying to get attention."

Another identifying marker as to when a person is seeking help or may need help is when the "tone" in a person's posts changes. For example, they are typically happy and positive, encouraging or inspiring, then suddenly their posts become negative, disheartened, discouraged or even angry. CHECK ON THIS PERSON!

Oftentimes, all it takes is one person making a genuine effort to say, "Hey, I care what's going on, let's talk." Something as simple as this can help get a person back on track. It's important to pay attention to the details. Do not overlook or down play a person’s feelings. It's OK for a person to ask for help – we want people to talk.

Maybe it's not something you, yourself would do, but if a person has come to social media in such a personal, intimate, private way, don't just say, "that's inappropriate, they just trying to get attention." Ask yourself why have they come to social media with something so personal.

The information on is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information provided through this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider.

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Elisa Schmitz
Oh, Laura Allen-Davis , you are so right. This is very well said. Thank you for sharing this perspective so people can better understand each other's cries for help.

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