Bores and their behavioural strategies or their most common methods of seeking attention.
The attention bridge. Chapter 8.
Bores are those individuals who, for no good reason, make those around them direct a high level of attention to them. They make people feel they are being forced to do this because bores demand the attention insistently and in a way that is not very stimulating.
Whenever we fall under the influence of a bore we find ourselves obliged to pay them so much attention that we also transfer a large quantity of vital energy. As a consequence, we feel weaker and weaker when in their company.
So, from now on, every time we are trapped with such an individual this will give us a good opportunity to consciously observe not only the vital energy we are transferring but also how that leaves us feeling exhausted and weak. Conversely, if it us who bore other people, we will have the same opportunity but in the other direction. That is to say, we can consciously observe both the vital energy which is transferred to us and the revitalizing effect of receiving it.
We will now go on to describe some of the behavioural roles and methods that bores use with the intention (in the majority of cases subconscious) of absorbing the vital energy of their victims.
Probably the most common kind of attention –seeking behaviour that bores adopt is that of the chatterbox.
Chatterboxes are those individuals who allow themselves to prattle on for no apparent reason – although at this point in the book the reason should be clear. These are individuals who when we have had enough of them we ask: Don’t you ever get tired of talking!? But they seldom do.
When they insistently capture the attention of their companions, they get them to transfer considerable amounts of vital energy and therefore feel ever stronger and more energized and capable of prolonging their exhausting diatribes.
All of us will have observed that some of these individuals go as far as speaking their thoughts out loud, like a radio commentator, when they run out of things to say. This they do without showing any consideration to others who may be trying to concentrate on some task.
Town criers are those individuals who are annoying because they speak much louder than necessary to be heard by the people they are conversing with. They use the volume of their voice not only to get those taking part in the conversation to direct a greater level of attentional openness but also to force everyone in earshot to give them a level of attention which, in normal circumstances, they would not have to.
These individuals basically behave more like market stallholders selling their wares than like a person holding a normal conversation.
Town crier chatterboxes are people who not only talk incessantly but do so at top volume, making them even more unbearable.
Questioners are people who, when they cannot think of anything better to do, subject others to constant and unnecessary questions. Questioners make them feel cornered with their inappropriate demands for attentional energy.
Their victims also feel obliged to give trivial answers or feel guilty if they finally choose to ignore them and not answer.
Chatterbox questioners are those who not only never stop talking but, also, keep asking their listeners if they understand what they are saying. This pattern of behaviour or attention-seeking is especially vampire-like because even though they may sense that their companions have little or no interest in what they insist on talking about, they do not take the trouble to stop and process this fact mentally. Were they to do this, they would have to curb their purely selfish impulses. The fact is, they insist in asking over and over again if they have been understood and thus compensate for the growing alienation they perceive in the victims of their exhausting drivel.
Smile –catchers behave as if everything they say is funny. They tend to accompany each of their tiring and supposedly amusing remarks with false laughter and knowing looks which they use to try to persuade their companions into the annoying hypocrisy of having to return a false smile; since not smiling would be impolite.
In spite of being immensely annoying, the listeners feel that they mean well. After all, what the smile-catchers want to do is entertain. As a consequence as soon as they have the smallest intention of ignoring or snubbing them, feelings of guilt surface putting a brake on what are totally justified defensive instincts. This makes it particularly difficult for victims of these individuals to justify sending them packing.
A much more elaborate variant than the smile-catcher is the rogue.
Rogues, through the use of ironic or ambiguous insinuations also pressurize their audience with their gaze in search of smiles (often with a sparkle, inviting you to acknowledge their ingenious comments). These individuals are usually entertaining at first but if they go on too long can become every bit as tiring as the smile-catcher.
Broken records are those individuals who constantly try to get attention by a repeating the same thing over and over.
They are usually not very intelligent and rather infantile. Not surprisingly we often observe this method of attention-seeking in children.
There are also those who do not use just one of these methods to attract attention in order to peck at the vital energy of their companions, but happily jump from one to another. First they make a comment, then ask a question and then make another inappropriate comment. After that they decide to make a stupid joke hoping that their audience will go along with it and give them some indication of how funny they found it. And on they go, insistently forcing those around them to pay them continuous, if empty, attention. On and on, until the levels of energy of their companions are nearly at zero and, now frazzled by these constant assaults, they resolve to find a way to get them off their backs.
Many people exploit the aforementioned methods of attention-seeking (or other similar strategies), simply to satisfy their addiction. But any one of us may also behave in this manner in certain situations. For example, when during a conversation there is a long, uncomfortable silence and we feel the need to say something; not because the situation requires it but in order to verify that the situation is not strained for some reason we may have overlooked
All of us will have directly observed how bores can cause their victims to go on the offensive by taking up attention-seeking behaviour themselves in an attempt to invert the hourglass effect. They may resort to questioning, reproachful looks, dramatic weary sighs or even more violent reactions.
This is why, if we feel we are victims of this kind of attention-seeking, before passing judgement and counter-attacking, we should stop to assess whether our assailant’s attention-seeking really is exclusively an attempt to satisfy their needs. Since, on many occasions they may simply be responding to excessive attention-seeking behaviour we ourselves may have used earlier without being aware of it.
Imagine that we are facing a big problem and it has a great deal of internal turmoil which has taken up most of our attention. We go home to our partner but, although it is obvious something is troubling us, we do not share our concerns.
This situation, due to our inexplicable aloofness and attentional withdrawal, would create a disquieting veil of mystery, viewed from the outside. This would no doubt cause our partner to ask themself what we were thinking. This would imply the transfer of, at the very least, an extraordinary amount of vital energy from them to us.
So, our partner would most probably suffer the consequences of this passive form of attention-seeking and, in all likelihood, would go on to ask us what the matter was. However, they may feel uneasy because of the seriousness of our mood and not dare to be so direct. They may, instead, try to gauge our mood by talking about unimportant matters or bombard us with a myriad of uncalled-for questions or clown around in order to, depending on our reactions, work out if we are angry with them for some unknown reason.
Say we reacted badly or violently to our partner’s, only apparently unjustified, attempts to attract attention, we would be adding fuel to a fire we ourselves had lit. Since we would not have considered that their “active” vampire-like behaviour was only an attempt to compensate the consequences of the equally vampire-like “passive” behaviour which we subjected them to in the first place.
Any kind of attention-seeking caused by attentional aloofness may cause those who suffer its influence to become “bores” in an attempt to invert the hourglass effect. Conversely, the victims of “bores” will tend, as far as possible, to keep attentional distance from them. So these two forms of attention-seeking, the passive one of the aloof and the active one of the bore are complementary since one is natural response to the other.
We should, therefore, remain vigilant since on many occasions the kinds of attention seeking we see in others, which at first glance we may consider uncalled for, may not actually be so unreasonable.
If, instead of figuring out to what extent we are responsible for whatever battle in pursuit of attentional energy we find ourselves in, we place all the blame on others, we run the risk of behaving like the very worst kind of energy vampire.
 Whenever we find ourselves trying to attract the attention of others in a contrived manner or with an ulterior motive (thus vampire-like), we can observe that what really drives us to behave like this is some inner anxiety or unease (conscious, subconscious or unconscious). That is to say, firstly our mental processes lead us to leach ourselves of energy and secondly, to make up for this self-inflicted damage to our energy and emotional well-being, we pass on the damage to those around us by demanding their attention and absorbing their energy.
 In the chapter on the aloof we will discuss what other consequences this kind of behaviour or attention-seeking has on its victims.
 Passive forms of attention-seeking attract the attention and, at the very least, the vital energy of others not as a result of what is said or done but of what is not said or done. In the chapter on the aloof, this subject will be explored further.