How does "attention" work?

Ive seen many answers here about "she wants your attention, she doesn't like you, but wants the attention". I'm assuming is going up to a person you are not interested in and watch them being interested in you while you sit back and enjoy. I'm in a situation like that but, when a person wants just your attention and has no interest, do they give you attention? As in trying to comment on conversations you are having with somebody else with a jokey or sarcastic remark? A scoff? A "you are such a drama queen"? Remembering details about you that you may have mentioned once? Or a joke you said that she later brings up and uses it against you? Asking about my favorite sports team? Constantly teasing you and making fun of you? I'm just trying to understand. I know that if I didn't like a person I wouldn't go around trying to get their attention or bring attention to myself by commenting in their conversations. If I'm in a room full of people my first priority attention-wise is the girl I like, then friends and if there's somebody I don't like I avoid them. When we are in a group, most of the times she pays way too much attention to what I say or do and she is ready with a sarcastic remark.

I know she is shy, she is a good girl but her attitude is real bitchy towards me, with everybody else she is really nice. she says mean things to me and teases me a lot, but the fact that she seems uncomfortable and standoffish when we are alone makes me wonder. She listens to me, she asks me stuff but she seems too nervous, she will only smile, never laugh. With others she is relaxed and laughs a lot. Sometimes we can be in the same room and ignores me, will say hi to me from time to time but most of the time I have to do it, while she will be very enthusiastic and smiling when greeting others. I gave her a cute nickname that she seems to like, I call her that instead of her name and she is OK with it. I've asked here before and people have told me she just wants the attention, could this be? She is a nice girl, she is very close to her family she is just young (21 and I'm 27) and has never had a boyfriend and maybe she still has that little girl mentality of being mean when she likes a guy, what do you think?
How does "attention" work?
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