Do extroverts like attention? (A complete guide)

In this article, we will answer the question ‘Do extroverts like attention?’. We will do that by describing extroverts and their qualities including attention-seeking. This will follow up by clarifying a few misconceptions about these qualities. We will move on to discuss the association between attention-seeking and extroversion. Finally, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of an extrovert’s attention-seeking behavior.

Do extroverts like attention? 

Yes. Extroverts like engaging in behavior that attracts the attention of other people. Especially if they have high reward sensitivity, they are more likely to exhibit behaviors that attract the reward i.e. the attention of others. This can include showing enthusiasm, excitement, and other positive emotions. We can say that social attention is the defining feature of extraversion. However, it must be mentioned that seeking, maintaining, or enjoying the attention of other people does not mean they are narcissists or have histrionic tendencies. They only enjoy attention because it enables them to express themselves in a better way. 

Extroverts

People are the ones who enjoy being the center of attention at every social event.  They are outgoing and love socializing with others.  They also make good leaders.  Being among big crowds and having a lot of different experiences energizes them.  In contrast,  when they are alone and have nothing to do,  they feel uninspired,  low, and exhausted.  They are opposite to people who are introverts.

The Qualities of Extroverts

 Extroverts have the following qualities:

Extroverts enjoying being at the centre of attention

 They do not have a problem with speaking publicly. Rather,  the enjoy when all eyes are on them.  This gives them a sense of control, the power to entertain others and be admired. 

They love to talk

Extroverts are the people at parties who initiate conversations.  They are usually the ice breakers and the one who spends their time going around introducing people and talking to them.  It is easy for them to start conversations with strangers at any place and time.  They can talk about almost anything with anyone.  They love to meet new people and talk about different things with them. 

Extroverts feel energized around people

 Being around a lot of people boosts extroverts’ energy.  They would prefer to spend their time in a large group of people instead of being alone at home and having coffee.

They need to talk about their feelings

Extroverts process things in a better way if they discuss what is going through their mind.  If anything happens to them during the day,  they feel better by sharing it with their friends.

They have many interests

Extroverts have multiple talents and things that they find interesting.  They spend a lot of their time trying out different things.

They are approachable

People find them friendly and easy to approach. This is because they don’t shy away from sharing what they think or or what they feel.  This makes other people comfortable in their presence

Misconceptions about extroverts

 Extroverts are not confident all the time

A lot of people think that extroverts can speak to anyone with confidence. However,  extroverts have their self-doubts just like any other person.  They just mask it by hiding their insecurities.

 Extroverts can also feel low

 Extroverts are not always in a happy, energetic, and outgoing mood.  They also feel sad or depressed.

 They are outgoing & love to socialize but they need alone time as well

Extroverts need time away from people as well to focus on themselves.  They can spend this time watching a movie or reading a book or listening to music.  The only difference is that their alone time does not last as long as an introvert’s does.

Extroverts can find making friends hard as well

Although the extroverts can start a conversation with anyone,  but finding people who they consider a close friend can be equally hard for them like it is for an introvert.  There can be few people extroverts actually connect to on a personal level.

They experience loneliness

Having many friends does not mean that extroverts do not feel lonely. They also go through phases where they feel alone and unconnected from others.

They like being the center of attention but they are not self obsessed

 Extroverts like being the center of attention but this is in order to make other people feel better and comfortable. It is their attempt to entertain others. Being in the limelight helps them express themselves better

Extroverts and attention

Ashton, Paunonen, & Lee (2002),   conducted a study on 200 people between ages 15 to 70 predominately from Australia and Canada.  They asked them to fill scales based on extraversion,  social interaction,  reward sensitivity,  social attention  and big five personality traits. The results indicated that social attention is the central feature of extraversion.   

According to them,  extroverts act in ways that attracts the attention of other people.   These people like to hold the focus of other people on them and also enjoy it. We can say that extroversion is a behavioral strategy by which people use social attention through exhibiting enthusiastic and energetic behavior which are directed at gaining attention.    

For the sake of clarity, social attention refers to the tendency to to engage and enjoy social attention.  This is different from social interaction which refers to gaining satisfaction from social activities rather than solitary activities. Extroverts enjoy both social attention and social interaction. 

Attention Seeking: What is does not mean 

 Social attention does not mean a narcissistic or histrionic tendency.  If we say that extroverts enjoy social attention, we do not mean that these people believe that they are entitled to get attention or that they get distressed in the absence of attention.  Furthermore,  wanting attention does not mean preferring to even get negative or hostile attention.  Extroverts differ in this regard because they are not fans of being insulted publicly just like an introvert is. They know the difference between social attention and social degradation. 

Reward sensitivity: A precipitant to seeking attention

Ashton, Paunonen, & Lee (2002),  also said that people who have higher reward sensitivity,  are more likely to act in a way which will attract attention of other people.  Extroverts usually have high reward sensitivity. So, these people may act excited,  enthusiastic and show positive emotions.  As a result,  people find them more attractive and focus on them.  Being rewarded with the attention of other people encourages them to act more extroverted and repeat attention-drawing behavior.  

It must be mentioned that the nature of these behaviors may vary across cultures and societies. What is considered appropriate behavior for extroverts in one culture may be rewarded. The same behavior may be inappropriate in another culture and may get discouraged. 

Advantages of attention-seeking behavior

Being able to hold other people’s attention puts extroverts at an evolutionary advantage. The following are advantages to extrovert’s tendency to engage in attention-seeking behavior: 

  • Having the ability to draw other’s attention makes extroverts better equipped to develop friendships.
  • It also helps them attract the opposite gender with whom they might spend the rest of their lives. 
  • Being able to catch someone’s attention puts extroverts at an advantage professionally. It also helps them carry out successful economic transactions.  

While an introvert may have to compete with others to stand out,  an extrovert can do the same without much effort. 

Disadvantages of attention-seeking behavior

There are disadvantages as well for extroverts engaging in attention seeking behavior. They are stated as follows:  

  • A lot of time and energy is spent and doing such tasks.  
  • At times extroverts may engage in risky or inappropriate attention-seeking behavior.  Other people may not enjoy or appreciate the certain behaviors employed by extroverts to attract attention.  As a result they can lose the potential chance of socializing with them again.
  • Having the ability to attract the attention of others may trigger the competitiveness of other people against extroverts. This can lead to negative feelings and possibly dangerous conflicts.

FAQs: Do extroverts like attention?

What type of a person is an extrovert?

 An extrovert is a person who gets energized by being around other people.  These people are friendly and outgoing and thrive in social settings.  They are opposite to introverts who get energized by being alone.

 Why is it good to be an extrovert?

 It is good to be an extrovert because they are good at getting the best out of people.  They can engage people in conversation,  energize them and boost their confidence by just being themselves.  There are also people who are most likely to have interesting adventures and fun-filled activities.  This gives them an opportunity to talk about a lot of their interesting experiences with other people.

 Do extroverts lack empathy?

 Extroverts do not like empathy.  They may have impaired affective empathy just like introverts have impaired cognitive empathy but do not completely lack it.

What happens when an extrovert is alone?

 When an extrovert is alone,  they start to feel less energetic,  low and uninspired.  Their priority would be to spend time with a lot of different people and try out different things.

Conclusion

In this article, we discussed Do extroverts like attention?. We found that extroverts like engaging in behavior that attracts the attention of other people. Especially if they have high reward sensitivity, they are more likely to exhibit behaviors that attract the reward i.e. the attention of others. This can include showing enthusiasm, excitement, and other positive emotions. We can say that social attention is the defining feature of extraversion. However, it must be mentioned that seeking, maintaining, or enjoying the attention of other people does not mean they are narcissists or have histrionic tendencies. They only enjoy attention because it enables them to express themselves in a better way. 

 I hope you found this article interesting. If you have any queries or comments, please state them in the comment section 😊

Citations

https://www.lifehack.org/572595/what-extrovert-and-what-you-need-know-you-are-love-working-with-them#:~:text=Extroverts%20love%20attention%20and%20don,to%20make%20you%20feel%20good.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/11287648_What_Is_the_Central_Feature_of_Extraversion_Social_Attention_Versus_Reward_Sensitivity

Armah is a mental health professional in training. She has done her Bachelors and Masters in Clinical Psychology with specialization in Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Her goal is to make a difference in the field of mental health be it by spreading awareness through writing or through clinical practice. In her free time, she likes to read, keep up to date about new trends in Psychology, bake and watch Netflix 😊

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