How to get people to notice you without coming off as needy

A while back we wrote about what to do when friends only talk about themselves and aren’t interested in you.

My problem was that I could feel left out in groups and because of that, I tried to take up more space and crack more jokes.

Let me show you why this backfires.

A guy who came by our co-living the other day.

He was a friend of a friend and a nice person by all means.

Problem was, you could tell he was looking for laughs and attention. He cracked jokes all the time and tried to make a fun twist on everything.

When he asked people what they did, he tried to make a funny spin on whatever their answer was rather than actually trying to get to know them.

(Behavioral scientists call this an “Approval-seeking behavior”.)

I could relate to him because I know how good it feels when everyone’s breaks out in laughter from your joke. You want to do it again and again.

It’s a trap because even if people laugh or react, they also pick up on the neediness subconsciously.

You’ve probably met someone who feels like they crave attention, and at once you feel less interested in talking to that person. (Their need for attention make you want to not give them any attention.)

So instead of being included in the group, the needy person has to push harder and harder to get noticed.

It’s not that you can’t crack jokes. It’s that people notice if we do it because we want approval.

Whenever I feel the urge to crack more jokes, I double check:

Have I been taking up more space than others in the group already? Are others having a normal conversation while I look for laughs? If so, I chill.

I love the principles to be included in groups that my friend Nils uses here.

This is one of those fascinating ironies of social interaction: Being chill and not seeking attention will, in the end, make people pay more attention to you.

Read more: How to become more popular.

Let me know what you think in the comments!

David Morin is the founder of SocialSelf. He's been writing about social skills since 2012. Follow on Twitter or read more.

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  1. Must be upsetting when we feel like being left out in groups which we tried to get attentions into in spite of our hard efforts. To me, I couldn’t help but become a spectator.


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