Sometimes, irrational behavior can be explained by attention-seeking
Why do people do so many things that are so obviously stupid? Why do they take drugs, commit crimes, ruin good relationships, and spend money they don't have? There are all sorts of explanations, and no one simple answer. Human behavior is too complicated to sum up in one pithy sentence.
A good explanation that can be found sometimes is simple attention seeking. People can take almost anything but being ignored. Even being despised is seen as preferable by many to not being thought about at all.
A hard example of this is suicide. Surely there are few more destructive acts a person can undertake than deciding to take their own life. Yet almost every time I've heard of someone discussing suicidal thoughts, they frame it in reference to other people.
"This will make them sorry," they think or "She'll realize how much she loves me once I'm gone". Of course, the thought process involved is complex, but there appears to be at least a small amount of attention-seeking involved. That one, last, dramatic act often contains a message, one that it's difficult to ignore.
I've known people who are into drugs in the past and I've also found an element of attention-seeking in their behavior. "Look at how cool I am playing with such destructive and powerful forces," seems to be a common underlying message. "You can't ignore me, because I'm crazy and high".
The human need to be noticed seems limitless. People will jump ravines on motorcycles, blow themselves apart, or run naked in front of a crowd just for a little attention. For many of us, it seems anything is better than to be ignored.
Teenagers are particularly susceptible to this weakness. So much of their dress, behavior and language is designed to create an impact, that it seems to become the whole purpose of their existence. They are so desperate to be noticed, that they'll go to almost any length and take almost any risk for even a moment's attention.
When you are trying to understand senseless behavior in others, it's often worthwhile to think back to this idea. Ask yourself, "Is this person merely seeking attention", and respond accordingly.
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