People Who Need Constant Praise and Acknowledgment

It’s a short one today because I’m at work, and I have a “twilight” meeting this evening which will get me home around 8PM.  So, I’m writing here.

I have been working in the education field for approximately 19 years.  I started out as a science teacher in New York City when I was 22, and have worked my way through 6 different schools on 3 different continents to get where I am.  Throughout my career, one thing has always stood true….needy people.

Needy people are those people who are constantly in search of praise or acknowledgment for things that they have done.  When someone is getting attention for an accomplishment, needy people always bring up their past accomplishments so attention can fall right back to them.  Needy people always try to find some kind of “kinship” with the people they’re speaking with so they can be praised more throughout the conversation.  They will resort to bringing up old activities they’ve done, embellishing about a recent activity or accomplishment, or out and out lying.  These people are in constant search of some kind of praise.

These people that crave others’ attention come in all ages.  I have noticed that the majority of the needy people I have met in my career have been students, but many of my colleagues were (and are) still in constant need of acknowledgment and praise.  Being in charge of my last school, I realized that there are sometimes more needy people on teaching staffs than in the student body.  For most of them, an acknowledgment e-mail will suffice, as long as they feel like they’ve been praised for something.  For many, however, they need the physical pat on the back and the hand shake.  They need to have the face-to-face interaction in order to feel truly praised and acknowledged.

Working in a school, I am surrounded by these praise-whores all day, and I have become fairly adept at dealing with them and making sure that they feel like they are receiving the acknowledgment they so desire.  Because I have become good at dealing with these people doesn’t mean they annoy me any less.  These people are the worst people to work with and to work for.  I have no patience for the neediness anymore!!

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7 Comments

    • It’s true that having a desire to be seen or praised for accomplishing a difficult or critical task is universal. There is a line, however, and it’s very subjective, that some people cross for me where they are often (too often!) very obviously touting their own past or present deeds so that they will receive admiration for the smallest of accomplishments. Like the author, I have learned to deal with them by verbally hoisting them on my shoulders and parading them around just to keep them focused and working. I can do this and will continue to, but I have to admit that it makes my skin crawl.

  1. I couldn’t agree more with your article. Im in my late 20s recently gotten married, I can’t stand all the needy wives of my husbands friends. They need constant attention and praise for every small task they do. Wish I could find ways to deal with them. Instead I see myself distancing from them.

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