How to Handle Unwanted Attention

Who doesn’t like to be the center of attention every now and then? But sometimes unwanted attention can ruin everything. Fortunately, Modern Manners Guy is here with 3 tips to make your life easier.

Richie Frieman
6-minute read
Episode #211

How to Handle Unwanted Attention

Whether you’re in extrovert who will do anything for attention or the quietest introvert ever, attention does have its price. And unwanted attention comes with a very steep price, since it’s usually more of a pain than flattery. Now, I’m not talking about celebrities who spend their entire lives stabbing people in the back to be on the cover of People Magazine, only to hide behind sunglasses once they get there. What I’m talking about is us regular folk who have to deal with unwanted attention at some point in our lives.

Of course, it’s nice to have someone pay attention to you or give you a compliment, but sometimes it seems like that attention comes from the most annoying person on the planet who just doesn’t quite get the hint. I can’t tell you how many Modern Manners Guy readers and listeners have sent me emails about this very issue.

So before you feel like running for the hills because “you know who” is walking your way, check out my top 3 Quick and Dirty Tips for how to properly handle unwanted attention:

Tip #1 – The Delusional Ex

I am about to quote the movie Wayne’s World for the second time in my tenure as Modern Manners Guy. I never thought I’d even do it once! But this example is about as good as it gets when it comes to unwanted attention. A character named Stacey appears in numerous situations to stalk Wayne, who dumped her a long time ago. However, Stacey still doesn’t get the hint. Wayne and his sidekick Garth cringe at her appearance and mock her to her face, yet she has no idea. She gives him a gun rack, which he indicates could be the dumbest present ever given since he says that he “doesn’t own a gun, let along many guns that would necessitate… a gun rack.” This proves the point that she really never really quite understood him in the first place because giving a gun rack to someone who doesn’t own a gun is like giving someone in Arizona a snow shovel.

The point here is that when someone is no longer a part of your life romantically, but doesn’t get the hint, it can be awkward. Let me first say, you should never be rude or cruel to someone just because they’re annoying. However, if it’s clear they they’re just not getting the picture you have two options:

  1. Keep the charade going


  2. Ignore them

Number 1 seems pretty easy and painless, but I recommend number 2. Allow me to explain. Ignoring someone is not rude, it’s the polite way of making it understood that you are not interested in associating with them any longer. And that’s your prerogative. Granted, if you’re being immature about it and using the silent treatment as a weapon of contempt then that needs to end pronto. But the adult way to ignore someone is to simply stand your ground and choose not to associate with them. They may think it’s rude, but you have a life to live and it’s up to you to decide who gets to be a part of it. Don’t email them. Don’t call them back. Don’t invite them into your immediate circle. It may appear cold, but what’s worse: pretending to be their friend while mocking them behind their back or politely letting them know you’re not friends any longer?