I call it the “Give Me Attention!” message.
It’s the kind of message you send when you are feeling down and depressed, and want another person to make you feel better.
These messages can take many forms, but the consistent thing is the message is coming from an ego driven angle, and is giving off negative, needy energy.
All shall become clear in the examples below.
How to identifying these messages
There are several hallmarks of an “Give Me Attention!” message.
- They are the first message in a new conversation. Usually after a period of silence, ranging from a couple days to longer. The supposed aim is to restart a conversation, but really they are just attention seeking.
- They offer no value. They suck energy instead of giving it. There’s nothing new, exciting or valuable in the content of the message for the person receiving it.
- They require the receiver to make an effort. As the one starting the conversation, it’s your job to make it simple for the other person to bounce the thread back to you. I believe the sender should be working a little bit harder (or at least equal) than the receiver in the opening exchanges of a conversation. In other words, the sender’s messages should be slightly longer and more involved. The Give Me Attention! message doesn’t work because it reverses this dynamic, requiring the receiver to put in more effort than the sender.
- They’re generic. They contain no content relevant to either the sender or the receiver, and are impersonal. The messages could have been mass sent to 100 people for all the receiver knows.
When you are likely to send these messages
Normally you’ll be tempted to send these messages in a couple of situations:
- You haven’t heard from the other person in a few days.
- You’re alone and bored.
- You don’t know if they are interested and you want to find out.
All of these situations represent a level of hurt or uncertainty within you. Spiritual pain in other words.
When you are unable to tolerate this pain you reach out to others in order to make yourself feel better and alleviate some of the suffering.
As a consequence the message comes from a negative, unhappy place, rather than a positive, joyous one.
The receiver of such a message instinctively knows and feels within themselves the message is being sent, not for their benefit, but that of the sender. The receiver understands on some level that the sender wants something from them, usually a form of attention or love.
What’s wrong with these messages?
The biggest problem is they are needy and attention seeking.
The person is sending it because they want the receiver to give them something that will make them feel better about themselves. The sender wants an ‘energy injection’ from the receiver to spice up their life.
“How are you?” is you saying “I’m bored, entertain me”.
It’s a take mentality rather than a give mentality, something which is incredibly unattractive.
Why would the receiver want to respond to someone who is sucking energy? Why should they help validate your sense of self-worth by offering you attention and love when they have not been given any by you in exchange?
Examples of the “Give Me Attention!” message
Below are five examples of this message type.
1. The “Ping” message
There are many variations of the Ping message, including:
- “How are you?”
- “What are you up to?”
- “How’s it going?”
What are you hoping to get back by sending this message?
You are going to get one or two responses:
- A short, polite, non-comital response. “I’m fine. How are you”
- A more in-depth response. “I’m amazing, thanks! Went jet-skiing this afternoon and now about to light the barbeque for steak with my friends”
You probably want the second type of response, because you want an injection of energy into your life. But more often than not you will get the first type of response.
Because it takes some time to write the second message, and I would feel as though I am putting in effort whereas the send had not.
I don’t respond to these messages often. It’s boring, and does nothing to improve the mood of the receiver.
2. The “Look at me!” message
This message is designed to give yourself an ego boost or to impress.
- “I went jet-skiing today”
- “I just ate an amazing meal at a new restaurant in town”
- “I finished my final exam!”
This message is all about you. There’s nothing in it for the receiver. You’re expecting them to be naturally interested in you, and want some form or recognition, approval or attention.
3. The “Poor Me” message
Something terrible (in your book at least) has happened to you and you want the world to know.
- “My cat just died :(“
- “I feel really alone right now”
- “Just had an argument with my best friend”
Shoot me in the head already!
You are trying to be an attractive memorable person. Do you really think dumping all your negative emotions on someone is going to make them want to see you again?
Ever heard of Pavlov’s dog?
We associate memories and feelings with people continuously. Sending this type of message is associating negative feelings with YOU!
Now even when you send a positive text, or meet up for a date, he’s still going to associate you with bad stuff.
I wouldn’t even send this type of message to my friends or family, so don’t even consider sending it to someone you are trying to attract.
4. The Bitter message
Usually sent after the receiver has done something that broke the expectations to act in a certain way you put on them.
Although all types of “Give Me Attention!” message come from a place or uncertainty and pain, this one is by far the most obvious manifestation of that.
- “Well I’m great so your loss”
- “I didn’t want to see you again anyway”
- “Bye then”
You are trying to make yourself feel better and the other person feel worse. Learn to make yourself feel good on your own, and don’t attempt to bring people down no matter what your opinion of them is.
5. The Dick Pic message
Yes, the infamous Dick Pic message falls into the “Give Me Attention!” message category.
Gentleman, if you need to be told you shouldn’t be sending dicks pics, you’ve got a lot of work to do. Just don’t.
Ladies, you’re not let off either. Those pouty mirror bikini shots you’re sending? They are also attention seeking (although they are offering some value to a guy seeing as we are visual creatures!).
What should you do instead
I want you to eliminate “Give Me Attention!” messages from your repertoire.
Before you send any text message to start a conversation after a break of more than a day, run through this checklist. If you answer “No” to any of the questions, don’t send the message.
- Am I giving positive energy? Your message should improve the mood of the sender.
- Does it show an interest in them?. The message should be personal to them, not one that could be sent to hundreds of people. Mention something specific to them. Bring up something they mentioned when you last met, or ask them a question about their life. It’s fine to put in something about what you’ve been doing to, if you have the other elements in place.
- Are you trying to make yourself feel better? Before sending a message ask yourself this one question “Am I doing it to make myself feel better, or the receiver feel better?”. If it’s the former, don’t send it. Really sit with that question and answer it honestly. You may not realise you are actually attention seeking.
So there you have it. The worst type of message you can send is the “Give Me Attention!” message.
STOP SENDING THEM!
It’s needy and only serves you, not the person to whom it was sent.
If you want to become attractive and memorable, you need to be constantly delivering positive emotions. The “Give Me Attention!” message is not the way to do this.