10 personality traits of people who hate being the center of attention

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Not everyone likes to hear a round of applause or get complimented. 

In fact, for some folks hearing how well they’re doing and being the center of attention makes them really uncomfortable. 

If you’re one of these people then you know how it feels to wish the spotlight would shine just about anywhere else than on you. 

If you’re not one of these people, then learning to recognize the cues in somebody who doesn’t like much attention can help you a lot in your personal and professional life. 

Let’s take a look at those who don’t like having too much attention on them. 

1) They dress demurely

The way we dress says a lot about what we want to project to the world and our own idea of ourselves. 

Those who don’t like to be out in the spotlight usually dress in a low-key, demure way. 

They tend to wear plain-looking clothes that blend in, often in primary colors or pastels. 

They wear footwear that’s functional rather than sophisticated. 

They minimize accessories and any makeup, preferring to be part of the scenery and not stand out. 

2) They enjoy working behind-the-scenes

The next trait of a person who doesn’t like the spotlight is a desire to work behind-the-scenes. 

While they may enjoy working on a group and be fairly extroverted among others, the attention-avoidant person prefers to give attention rather than receive it. 

He or she likes to work-behind-the-scenes, helping projects and goals come true at work, giving advice and being a great ally. 

But they do not like the praise or recognition for that. 

On the personal side, they prefer to help out with family events, trips and projects on the down low and don’t like being the recognized leader or point person for any of it! 

This ties into the next point.

3) They’d rather leave leadership roles to others 

Spotlight-avoidant folks would rather leave the leadership roles to others:

At work, at home and anywhere they go, they don’t want to be the front-facing guy or girl. 

They may be extremely helpful and competent, but getting praised or recognized for that isn’t comfortable for them. 

They don’t even like to see their name on the masthead of a new organization or project. 

They would rather somebody else be the public-facing individual. 

4) They prefer low-key locales 

When it comes to where to eat, drink, dance and convene, these people prefer low-key locales.

They’d rather a quietly humming little gastropub to a loud and raucous party bar. 

They’d prefer to play a relaxed game of golf than be at a noisy auditorium to watch a game.

They just like to keep it chill whenever possible.

This relates to the next point… 

5) They avoid big and noisy crowds 

Big and noisy crowds just aren’t these people’s cup of tea.


They find them overwhelming and don’t like so many eyes on them. 

It’s disorienting and they find it leaves them tired and confused. 

They’d rather be around less busy places where they don’t feel pressured to say something or potentially be an object of attention or interest by others. 

6) They dislike being looked at and ogled 

In general, people who don’t like being the center of attention don’t like being looked at for a long time or ogled. 

If they feel scrutinized in a situation or by a person, they will do what they can to exit that situation ASAP. 

Whether it’s in a restaurant, on a bus or even feeling somebody in traffic is looking at you a lot, this individual gets uncomfortable quickly. 

“Why is that person looking at me so often?” they wonder…

Even if they’re being looked at in a friendly or interested way, it generally makes them uncomfortable, and they find displays of direct interest off-putting. 

7) They don’t like public speaking 

It will come as no surprise that public speaking is not in the wheelhouse of those who dislike the spotlight. 

Public speaking inherently involves everybody looking at and listening to you:

This is their nightmare, and if at all possible they will avoid public speaking. 

Even in a situation with a few friends or a small group, the spotlight-shunning person will try to opt out if possible. 

They don’t want that type of focus on them. 

8) They don’t like competitions 

At work or at home, this type of person avoids competitions. 

They like to help out those they work with and those they care about, but they don’t enjoy competing with them.

If it comes time to “one up” others and show how good they are, this individual will often fade into the background or refuse to participate. 

If their job depends on competing with others, they will often search for other work or do a medium, middle-of-the-road performance so they don’t stand out too much poorly or positively.

9) They don’t wade into arguments and debates

People who are spotlight-avoidant don’t wade into arguments and debates.

Whenever possible, they prefer to sit to the side and let others duke it out. 

Even if they hold strong political, religious or philosophical views or any other kind of perspective they could represent in a debate, they prefer not to. 

They don’t consider themselves the chosen representative of any point of view, for one, and secondly they don’t like to feel that attention on them when they vocalize their perspective or experience. 

They’d rather leave contentious debate or arguing to someone else. 

10) They’re astute people watchers 

Those who hate being the center of attention are often very astute people watchers. 

They don’t like people giving them the spotlight, but they’re very insightful and detail-oriented about those who are in the spotlight (and even those who aren’t in the spotlight). 

They notice a lot and do excellent work in professions which require an eye to detail and nuance. 

These people tend to be very perceptive and notice minute cues and aspects of people and situations that many other folks miss. 

Avoiding the spotlight 

If you’re a person who doesn’t like too much attention, it’s important to respect that. 

As long as you don’t feel you’re self-isolating and you feel able to develop and hone your skills in other areas, being a more private and demure person is a good thing! 

If you feel it’s holding you back, you can begin building confidence and taking small steps to become more outgoing and expressive. 

If you’re a person who works with or is in a relationship with somebody who prefers to be out of the spotlight, do your best to respect their boundaries and help them flourish in their own way. 

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