Is there a self-absorbed person in your life?
Let's say you've been in a relationship for a few months, and you begin to notice your new boyfriend spends a lot of time talking about himself and his accomplishments.
Your beautiful new girlfriend looks around every room she enters. Full of herself, she waits for heads to turn and admiring looks to come her way.
When you share a success or an exciting event in your life, inevitably the conversation turns to their self-absorption with their achievements or more thrilling adventures.
He or she is self-centered.
It has become a one-man or one-woman show in which your partner is the leading character, and you are merely the supporting cast or cheering audience.
No one likes self-centeredness, especially if you are spending the majority of your time with them.
Self-absorbed people can suck the life out of you, as you do backflips to prop up their egos and insatiable need for reinforcement.
What is a self-absorbed person?
Self-centered people have massive egos and need your constant approval, accolades, and attention, but they rarely return those gifts to you.
When you encounter a person like this, they are consumed with their own thoughts and concerns.
They are not good at actively listening to others or curious enough to ask conversational questions. They lack empathy and interest in you and tend to make you feel insecure and unimportant.
If you are a kind, empathic, and giving a person, you might give self-centered personalities a lot of grace.
You may think you just need to give more, praise more, and be more accepting so that you'll receive a few crumbs of approval yourself.
You may not recognize at first that this pulled-together, attractive, and self-absorbed personality is really a narcissist in the making.
- What is a self-absorbed person?
- Here are 15 traits of self-centered people you should watch out for:
- 1. They view themselves as better than others.
- 2. They have strong opinions.
- 3. They hide their insecurities and vulnerabilities.
- 4. They abuse their friendships.
- 5. They have very little empathy for others.
- 6. They focus more on superficial qualities than character.
- 7. They are disinterested in your day.
- 8. They aren't interested in activities that interest you.
- 9. They interrupt you when you are talking.
- 10. They prioritize themselves ahead of the relationship.
- 11. They set a lot of rules.
- 12. They make false accusations.
- 13. They assume you are always available.
- 14. They have double standards related to spending.
- 15. They are takers not givers.
- How to Be Less Self-Centered
- How to Deal with a Self-Centered Person
Here are 15 traits of self-centered people you should watch out for:
What are the characteristics of a self-centered person? There are several obvious traits that you may recognize in someone you know.
1. They view themselves as better than others.
Some people are so preoccupied by their own opinions, self-image, and appearance that they believe they breathe rarified air.
They view themselves as a special breed, someone whom others should look up to and acknowledge as exceptional.
As the partner of a self-absorbed person, your job is to praise and adore this person. But you will never be on equal footing with him or her.
People who are egotistical always think they are superior to others, which often leads them to devalue people around them.
The more you give of yourself, the more this self-centered person will show contempt for you.
2. They have strong opinions.
Your partner's opinions are crystal clear because he or she doesn't hesitate to share them.
Self-centered personality types who are into themselves don't want to listen to the opinions of other people because they believe only their views, preferences, and desires are correct.
If you disagree or present another opinion, the overly self-involved person views this as an attack or put-down.
He views you as an extension of himself, and expressing your own opinions feels threatening to his fragile ego.
3. They hide their insecurities and vulnerabilities.
While people who are self-consumed may appear to have it all together, the opposite is usually true. Underneath the bravado is a deep well of insecurities.
Why else would she continue to boast and need constant reinforcement?
Maintaining this veneer of perfection and confidence keeps you at arms distance, as the self-centered person has a difficult time with emotional intimacy.
This kind of closeness requires opening up and being vulnerable, allowing you to see his or her weaknesses and flaws.
But this exposure feels immensely frightening to someone whose entire life is based on maintaining a facade.
Admitting weakness for self-centered people feels like death.
4. They abuse their friendships.
People who are obsessively into themselves have an easy time making friends at first.
They can be charming, interesting, and fun to be around.
But often, they want to benefit from the relationship in some way, mainly to have an audience to reinforce their relentless need for attention and approval.
You may notice your new lover has a crowd of adoring sycophants who buzz around him or her, trying to capture some of the magnetism and success.
Over time, however, you see how friends are carelessly discarded by a self-centered person, or how they drop away as they realize they are being used.
One characteristic of a self-focused person is they don't have deep and lasting friendships based on mutual respect and trust.
5. They have very little empathy for others.
Self-centered people think the world revolves around them and that their own challenges are the only ones that matter.
They view your pain or problems through their own eyes and how it impacts them. Whatever hardships you are having, they've had it worse.
They aren't interested in how you are impacted or what you are feeling. They don't want to be bothered with your emotional needs.
A self-absorbed person doesn't have the ability or the willingness to put themselves in someone else's shoes or share their pain.
They think the world (and you) exists for their benefit and needs and have little concern about how others are affected.
6. They focus more on superficial qualities than character.
Does this person seem more interested in how you look, the kind of car you drive, or your income than he or she does in your character, interests, and emotional needs?
Egotistical people often choose partners who will reflect well on them. “Look at me. I can attract this hot man who makes a lot of money and drives a Porsche.”
If you don't measure up to your partner's idea of perfection, he or she will pressure you to get in shape, get a better job, or start wearing different clothes.
A self-consumed person is far more interested in how you look on his arm than he is in your goals and dreams or your deepest fears.
If this person is not very interested in who you are as a person, you likely won't feel seen, appreciated, or heard in the relationship.
7. They are disinterested in your day.
We all need to come home at the end of a long day and share our joys and frustrations with the one we love.
It's important to be with someone who asks about your day and takes the time to listen to you attentively.
Mutual sharing and active listening is an essential part of a healthy relationship.
If they are always dominating the conversation and never ask about your life, he or she is living in a one-dimensional world that doesn't include you.
Your words are just background noise until she can take the floor and talk about what's really important — herself.
Your bad day or the news about your promotion is quickly bypassed so the focus can turn back to them.
8. They aren't interested in activities that interest you.
Compromise is required for a relationship to flourish. When two people come together with different interests and preferences, you both have to make concessions at times to accommodate the other.
If this person doesn't care about your opinion or interests, it's definitely a red flag.
A self-absorbed person feels that he or she should be the last word on how and where you spend your time.
You must adopt his or her preferences and mold your life to fit your their interests and choices.
However, you shouldn’t have to nag your partner to participate in things you want to do, whether it’s the restaurant you prefer, a movie you like, or a vacation spot.
You shouldn't have to accommodate your partner every single time.
Your needs and wants should be equal to your partner's, and he or she should show a willingness to compromise.
If you find yourself feeling regularly resentful and disregarded, it's time to face the truth about this person.
9. They interrupt you when you are talking.
A self-centered person likes the sound of his or her own voice more than yours. You'll be interrupted or talked over with little regard for your feelings.
If you disagree with them, they will be quick to defend their point of view without even acknowledging your perspective. She doesn't hesitate to correct you in front of others to support her position.
Being heard and affirmed is a very important part of feeling loved and needed.
If you begin to feel emotionally and verbally sidelined, it is probably because this person doesn't care.
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10. They prioritize themselves ahead of the relationship.
Your partner should have a team mentality when it comes to your relationship. He or she should consider everyone involved (especially you) when making decisions.
When you have a quality, emotionally intelligent partner, you will find that he views your happiness as important as his own.
Self-absorbed people don't stop to consider your preferences or happiness or even the health of your relationship. In his mind, the relationship is all about him.
You need to face the truth that you and your relationship will never be a priority for this person, and you will never feel deeply loved and cherished.
11. They set a lot of rules.
People with traits of self-absorption have high expectations of others. If you fall short of these expectations, you are likely to be judged and corrected very quickly.
To help you meet their expectations, people who are absorbed with themselves make rules for their partners to follow so they can feel more in control.
- This is how we do dinner.
- This is the time we go out.
- This is the way we keep our house.
- This is how we raise the children.
Often, these rules are unfair, one-sided, and unnecessary, and they make you feel resentful and disrespected.
12. They make false accusations.
If you find that your partner is falsely accusing you, he or she is likely becoming paranoid that you are out to undermine them in some way or threaten their sense of self-worth.
Self-centered people don't want their image of perfection to be tainted, so if they feel like anyone is putting that in jeopardy, they are likely to jump to conclusions.
You find yourself frequently in the position of self-defense, having to earn his or her trust for no valid reason.
13. They assume you are always available.
Your life revolves around him or her, right?
So your schedule is always open for you to jump when he or she calls.
A self-centered man or woman is puzzled or angry if you have a previous engagement and aren't available to help them or do what they want.
Why would you want to do anything else when you could sit around waiting for Mr. or Ms. Amazing to do you the honor of requesting your presence?
14. They have double standards related to spending.
People who are full of themselves believe they have a right to spend money on what they want — whether or not they can afford it. They feel entitled to having the best.
But not so much when it comes to spending on you — or you spending on yourself. It's best for you to keep driving that old beater, even though he or she has bought a shiny, new sportscar.
You don't need expensive clothes, but your self-absorbed partner won't wear anything but designer labels.
15. They are takers not givers.
You've known people who never seem to reciprocate, much less initiate, giving to others. Whether it's remembering birthdays, offering to help, saying something kind, or giving gifts, the self-absorbed person doesn't make the effort.
And why should he or she? Being so exceptional means this person doesn't have to extend himself for others, especially if it's the least bit inconvenient.
Of course, they will happily accept gestures of generosity from you — without flinching from any embarrassment or discomfort. They deserve these things after all.
How to Be Less Self-Centered
After reading these signs, you can answer the question, “Am I self-centered?” with an honest “Yes,” you’re probably wondering how you can change that.
The following are excellent habits to create to be less absorbed with yourself. Just implementing one or two to start will yield noticeable results.
While a self-centered personality might easily grow bored with other people’s concerns, interests, and challenges, everyone can become more thoughtful and more loving with practice.
And if you care about building loving relationships that will last, it’s worth the trouble to go against your usual inclinations.
With time and practice, those inclinations can change for the better.
How to Deal with a Self-Centered Person
If you have a self-centered person in your life, you’re probably wondering what you can do about it and whether or not it’s best to end the relationship.
After all, it’s tempting to think they can’t change or that they have zero interest in becoming less self-centered.
But that shouldn’t stop you from giving them a chance to see their behavior for what it is and to change it.
Sit down with your partner and tell them what you’ve observed in their behavior toward you and others.
Show them the contrast between their behavior and what you expect from a romantic partner.
If they argue with you and even blame you for the way they’ve acted, call them on it.
Let them know that unless they can see their behavior for what it is and expend some effort toward becoming a real partner, the relationship is over.
If your relationship matters enough to them, they’ll take your words to heart. If it doesn't, it’s best to know that as soon as possible, so you can break free and move on.
Do you have a self-centered person in your life?
Is your partner so selfish that they believe you don't have a life beyond his or her needs? If so, it's time to reassess whether you want this person in your life.
If you feel that you are just a supporting player in your partner's one-man show and that your needs are constantly put on the back burner, then you might consider letting go of this relationship.
This isn't a relationship — it's a charade performed by a prima donna on their stage.
Find someone who will cherish you, listen to you, and tend to your needs as readily as they tend to their own.