25 Signs of Self-Centered People (+ Tips and Examples)

Have you ever met someone who seems to talk only about themselves, neglecting others’ feelings and interests? That’s a sign of a self-centered person. A self-centered individual primarily focuses on their own needs, desires, and experiences, often overlooking or dismissing the thoughts and feelings of others.

Understanding the signs of self-centered people can help us navigate relationships and recognize behaviors that may need attention or change.

Let’s explore some common traits that often define self-centered individuals. It’s an eye-opening journey that might make you see some everyday interactions in a whole new light!

Key Takeaways

  • Self-centered individuals often lack awareness of how their behavior affects others. Recognizing these traits in ourselves is the first step towards change.
  • Everyone’s feelings and perspectives are important. Treat others with respect and try to understand their points of view.
  • Relationships should be built on fairness. Don’t expect from others what you’re not willing to give yourself.
  • Practice patience and show gratitude. These traits can improve your relationships and overall outlook on life.
  • Be responsible for your actions, accept your mistakes, and learn from them. Personal growth is a continuous process.

Communication Traits

1. Constantly Talks About Themselves

To be interesting, be interested.

– Dale Carnegie

People who constantly talk about themselves tend to make every conversation about their own experiences or achievements. They enjoy being the center of attention and often overshadow others in conversations.

This habit might stem from a deep-seated need for validation or an attempt to boost their self-esteem. However, such behavior often comes off as self-centered and can be off-putting to others.

For example, imagine you’re sharing a story about a recent hiking adventure you had. But before you can finish, your friend interrupts to talk about a marathon they ran a few years ago.

Even when the conversation returns to your hiking trip, they keep bringing up their own experiences and achievements. Their constant focus on themselves can make you feel like your stories and feelings aren’t important or interesting.

Tip: If you're stuck in a chat with a self-centered person, try gently steering the conversation towards a more balanced exchange.

2. Neglects Others’ Interests

People who neglect others’ interests tend to disregard what others feel, think, or enjoy. They’re mainly focused on their own interests, often ignoring or paying minimal attention to the passions or hobbies of others. This trait can make them appear insensitive or selfish, which might strain their relationships with others.

For instance, if you’re an avid fan of painting and excitedly share your new artwork with your friend, they might quickly dismiss your enthusiasm and instead, start discussing their recent workout achievements.

They show no curiosity about your painting techniques, the inspiration behind your art, or your experience during the creative process. Such behavior indicates that they’re neglecting your interests and focusing solely on their own.

Tip: Take time to listen and show interest in others. A conversation is about sharing, not just speaking.

3. Criticizes Others Freely but Rejects Criticism

They may point out faults or mistakes in others without hesitation, yet they become defensive or dismissive when the tables are turned. This can create an imbalance in their relationships, as they demand accountability from others but refuse to hold themselves to the same standard.

For example, consider a scenario where you’re working on a project with a colleague. This colleague is quick to highlight your errors and provide unsolicited advice on improving your work.

However, when you constructively critique their portion of the project, they react with defensiveness, possibly even blaming you or others for any issues. This reveals a double standard in accepting criticism and suggests a self-centered approach to teamwork.

Tip: Constructive criticism is a part of growth. Embrace it and learn from it.

4. Resists Open, Balanced Conversations

People who resist open, balanced conversations are often self-absorbed, preferring to dominate the discussion rather than engage in a two-way exchange of ideas.

They may interrupt others, disregard differing viewpoints, or steer the conversation back to themselves. This approach can be frustrating for those around them, as it prevents a fair and enriching exchange of thoughts and experiences.

Let’s consider an example: You’re in a group discussion about a recent movie. While everyone is keen to share their interpretations and favorite scenes, one person consistently interjects with their own opinions and rarely allows others to finish their thoughts.

They may even dismiss or ignore comments that don’t align with their perspective. This behavior shows a resistance to open, balanced conversations, favoring self-focus over collective discussion.

Tip: Encourage open communication. A conversation is a two-way street.

5. Uses Compliments to Manipulate

Individuals who use compliments as a means to manipulate others tend to use praise not out of genuine appreciation but as a tool to get what they want. They understand that people are likely to respond positively to flattery, and they exploit this to their advantage. Such behavior is manipulative and can be a sign of self-centeredness.

For instance, if a coworker who usually doesn’t notice your efforts suddenly showers you with praise and admiration, you might feel a bit pleased. However, if they immediately follow their flattery with a request for you to take over their workload for the week, it’s clear that their compliments were not genuine but a manipulative tactic to get you to fulfill their needs.

Tip: Use compliments sincerely. Genuine appreciation fosters trust and strengthens bonds.

Emotional Traits

6. Lack of Empathy

People who lack empathy struggle to understand or share the feelings of others. They’re often so caught up in their own world that they find it hard to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. This can make them seem cold or uncaring and can cause difficulty in their relationships, as empathy is key to understanding and connecting with others.

For example, if a friend is going through a tough time and shares their struggles with you, showing empathy would mean offering comfort, understanding, and perhaps some helpful advice.

But a self-centered person might dismiss their problems, compare them to their own, or fail to show any genuine concern or understanding. This lack of empathy can leave the friend feeling unsupported and undervalued.

Tip: Try to put yourself in others' shoes. Empathy can deepen connections and improve understanding.

Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?

– Marcus Aurelius

7. Dismissiveness

People who exhibit dismissiveness often downplay or trivialize others’ feelings or problems. They tend to believe their own experiences, emotions, or issues are more significant, which can lead them to brush off or minimize the concerns of others.

This trait can make them appear insensitive and can create a feeling of being undervalued by those around them.

For instance, imagine you’re feeling stressed about an upcoming work project, and you confide in a friend. Instead of offering support or advice, they quickly dismiss your worry and start talking about their own stressful situation, asserting that it’s much more severe than yours.

This dismissiveness can make you feel unheard and unimportant, fostering resentment and distance in the relationship.

Tip: Try to surround yourself with people who care about your feelings and problems just as much as their own.

8. Impatient

People who are self-centered often exhibit impatience, especially when they are not the focus of attention or when others’ actions seem to block their objectives. They might rush people, interrupt conversations, or show signs of frustration when things don’t go as they want.

This impatience can be challenging for those around them, causing discomfort and tension.

For example, imagine you’re at a family gathering, and your cousin is sharing a story about their recent vacation. However, another relative, eager to talk about their own experiences, keeps interrupting and trying to change the subject.

When they’re asked to wait their turn, they become visibly frustrated and impatient. This behavior can disrupt the pleasant atmosphere and make others feel disrespected.

Tip: Patience is a virtue. Try to remain calm and understanding, even when things don't go your way.

9. Inability to Form Deep Connections

Self-centered individuals often struggle to form deep, meaningful connections with others.

Their constant focus on themselves can hinder their ability to truly understand and appreciate others, making it difficult for them to build strong, lasting relationships. This lack of deep connections can leave them feeling isolated and can be frustrating for those attempting to establish a closer relationship with them.

Let’s say you have a friend who mostly talks about their life, experiences, and interests. When you share your thoughts or experiences, they barely engage or show any real interest.

Over time, this one-sided interaction can be discouraging, and you might feel like there’s no real connection or mutual understanding. It becomes difficult to develop a deeper bond with them, leaving the relationship feeling superficial.

Tip: Forming deep connections requires genuine interest in others. Take time to know and understand those around you.

10. Evades Vulnerability

People who consistently evade vulnerability tend to shield themselves from situations that may expose their weaknesses or insecurities. They often maintain a self-created image of strength and infallibility, avoiding any scenario that may challenge this perception.

This reluctance to show vulnerability can limit their personal growth and impede the development of deeper relationships.

For example, in a group therapy session where everyone is sharing their struggles and personal experiences, a self-centered individual might choose to only highlight their strengths and achievements, bypassing any discussion of their challenges or vulnerabilities.

They might dismiss questions about their fears or insecurities, insisting that they don’t have any. This evasion of vulnerability prevents them from fully engaging in the therapeutic process and from connecting on a deeper level with others in the group.

Tip: It's okay to show vulnerability. It's part of being human and can actually bring you closer to others.

Behavioral Traits

11. Always Wants to Control

People who always want to control situations and dictate terms often display a significant trait of self-centeredness. They may have a deep-seated need to be in charge and may show intolerance towards others’ leadership or input. This controlling behavior can create tension and conflicts in both personal and professional relationships.

For example, imagine being in a team project at work where everyone has their own responsibilities. But there’s one team member who consistently tries to control the entire process, dismissing others’ ideas and insisting on doing things their way.

They’re unwilling to delegate tasks or trust others’ abilities, making the team feel undervalued and leading to a stressful working environment. This kind of behavior signifies a desire for control that exceeds normal team leadership.

Tip: Learn to let go and let others take control sometimes. It shows respect and trust.

12. Excessive Competitiveness

Individuals who display excessive competitiveness often have a relentless desire to outperform others in virtually every scenario. This trait, commonly found among self-centered people, involves an intense need to win or to be seen as the best, irrespective of the context. While healthy competition can be motivating, excessive competitiveness can create a hostile environment and strain relationships.

For instance, imagine you’re playing a friendly game of cards with friends. While everyone else is enjoying the game and the company, one person is fiercely competitive, taking the game extremely seriously and getting upset when they don’t win.

They may even gloat excessively when they do win, making the experience less enjoyable for others. This level of competitiveness, even in a casual, fun setting, can signal a self-centered disposition.

Tip: Healthy competition can be good, but it's also important to celebrate others' successes and not always see others as rivals.

Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.

– Franklin D. Roosevelt

13. Manipulative Behavior

Manipulative behavior is another prominent sign of self-centeredness. Individuals who show this trait often use others to serve their own needs or achieve their goals without considering the impact on those being manipulated. They may deceive, pressure, or mislead people into doing what they want, disregarding their feelings or well-being.

For example, let’s say a friend often asks you for favors, like helping with homework or giving them rides, promising to return the favor. However, when you need their help, they always have an excuse to avoid helping you.

They might even guilt-trip you into feeling bad for asking. This pattern of behavior, using manipulative tactics to serve one’s needs without reciprocation, is a clear sign of self-centeredness.

Tip: Treat others with respect. People are not tools to be used for personal gain.

14. Oversteps Social Norms

People who frequently overstep social norms often do so in pursuit of their own interests without considering the potential impact on others. They may disregard social etiquette, rules, or boundaries, which can lead to discomfort or conflict in social situations. This trait often indicates self-centeredness, as it shows a disregard for the rights and feelings of others.

For instance, suppose you’re at a movie theater, and someone is constantly talking on their phone, ignoring the requests of others to quiet down.

Despite the clear social norm of maintaining silence during a movie, this person chooses to disregard it for their own convenience, disrupting the experience for everyone else. This behavior signifies an overstepping of social norms indicative of self-centeredness.

Tip: Respecting social norms is key to maintaining good relationships. Understand and respect the boundaries of others.

15. Neglects Commitments

Neglecting commitments is a common trait among self-centered individuals. They often overlook or disregard promises or responsibilities, particularly when they don’t serve their own interests or provide personal gains. This can result in broken trust and strained relationships, as others may feel undervalued or disrespected.

For instance, suppose you and a friend have plans to meet for lunch. However, at the last minute, they canceled because they got a better offer from someone else. This pattern of neglecting commitments, especially when something more advantageous appears, demonstrates a self-centered disregard for the feelings and time of others.

Tip: If someone consistently breaks promises or neglects commitments, it's okay to reassess the relationship and set boundaries to protect yourself.

Self-Perception Traits

16. Sense of Entitlement

Entitlement is a delusion built on self-centeredness and laziness.

– Robert Kiyosaki

People with a strong sense of entitlement often believe that they deserve more than others, irrespective of their actual contributions, efforts, or achievements.

This can manifest in demanding special treatment, expecting others to cater to their needs, or believing they should be the primary recipient of any rewards or benefits.

For example, imagine a group project at school where one team member contributes minimally but expects to get the most credit. They might argue that their ideas were the most valuable, even if they didn’t actively participate in the actual work. This sense of entitlement, expecting rewards without corresponding effort, is a common trait among self-centered individuals.

Tip: Entitlement can lead to disappointment. Remember that respect and success are earned, not given.

17. Seeks Instant Gratification

People who constantly seek instant gratification are often focused on satisfying their immediate desires without considering the long-term consequences. They may prioritize their own immediate pleasure or benefit over the needs or well-being of others.

This trait is often linked to self-centeredness, as it highlights a lack of patience and a disregard for the potential impact on others.

For example, consider someone who constantly interrupts others during conversations to express their own ideas or stories. They might be seeking the immediate gratification of being heard or acknowledged without waiting their turn or showing consideration for the other person’s thoughts.

Tip: Think long-term. Consider the future consequences of your actions before making decisions.

18. Enforces Unfair Expectations

Enforcing unfair expectations on others is a common sign of self-centered behavior. These individuals often hold others to high, sometimes unrealistic, standards while not holding themselves to the same expectations. This imbalance can lead to strained relationships, as it can make others feel undervalued or pressured to meet impossible demands.

For example, imagine a manager who demands long hours and high-quality work from their team but consistently leaves early and provides minimal contribution themselves.

The manager’s unfair expectations, not matched by their own efforts, indicate a self-centered perspective, prioritizing their needs and wants over the wellbeing and fairness towards their team.

Tip: Be fair in your expectations. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and it's essential to acknowledge that.

19. Seeks Perfection in Others

The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection.

– George Orwell

Individuals who seek perfection in others often expect them to meet high or even unrealistic standards. Despite their own imperfections, they demand that others should not make mistakes or show weaknesses. This trait can be indicative of self-centeredness, as it reflects a lack of understanding and empathy for the fallibility and human nature of others.

Consider a situation where a person criticizes their partner for minor mistakes, like forgetting to buy something at the store or misplacing their keys. They might blow these minor issues out of proportion, ignoring the fact that they, too, make similar mistakes.

The constant pursuit of perfection in others while overlooking one’s own flaws, can be a clear sign of a self-centered personality.

Tip: Be patient and understanding with others. Recognize that everyone, including yourself, is a work in progress.

20. Demands Loyalty Without Reciprocating

Self-centered individuals often demand unwavering loyalty from others, even if they do not reciprocate with the same intensity. They might expect others to stand by them, support them, and prioritize their needs, regardless of their own behavior or loyalty, in return.

This one-sided demand can lead to frustration and hurt feelings, as it indicates a lack of respect and consideration for others.

For instance, a friend might expect you to always be there for them in times of need, yet when you need support, they’re nowhere to be found. They demand your loyalty and support but don’t show up when you need the same from them.

Tip: Loyalty is a two-way street. If someone expects your loyalty, they should also be loyal to you.

Attitudes Towards Self and Others

21. Expresses Gratitude Rarely

Individuals who rarely express gratitude often take the efforts and contributions of others for granted. They may not recognize or appreciate the kindness, time, or resources others invest in them.

This lack of gratitude can be indicative of a self-centered personality, as it suggests a focus on their own experiences and a disregard for the impact others have on their life.

For example, if someone routinely helps a colleague with their workload, but the colleague never acknowledges or appreciates their help, it demonstrates a lack of gratitude.

Despite benefiting from the assistance, this colleague’s failure to express thanks could be a sign of self-centeredness, showing an under-appreciation of the efforts others make on their behalf.

Tip: Saying thank you is a simple way to show appreciation. Make it a habit.

22. Resistant to Change

People who are resistant to change often dislike alterations that could shift the focus away from them or disrupt their comfort zone. They tend to cling to the status quo, preferring situations they can control or where they are the center of attention.

This resistance can point towards self-centeredness, as it indicates a reluctance to accommodate the needs or preferences of others.

For example, if a team proposes new ways of working to improve efficiency, a resistant team member might reject these changes. They might fear losing control or their central role in the existing setup. This person’s resistance to change, prioritizing their own comfort over the team’s benefit, is a sign of self-centered behavior.

Tip: Embrace change. It's a part of life, and adapting to change can open up new opportunities.

23. Avoids Responsibility for Errors

Avoiding responsibility for errors is a common trait among self-centered individuals. Instead of owning up to their mistakes, they often blame external factors or other people.

This tendency to deflect responsibility shields their self-image and allows them to maintain a perception of infallibility, even at the cost of honest self-assessment and growth.

For instance, imagine a student who receives a low grade on a project. Instead of acknowledging their lack of preparation or understanding, they blame the teacher for not explaining the material clearly. This avoidance of responsibility, even when it’s clear that the fault lies with them, is a sign of self-centered behavior.

Tip: Own up to your mistakes. It shows strength and maturity.

24. Avoids Self-Reflection

People who avoid self-reflection tend to overlook their own weaknesses and mistakes. They may resist examining their actions and behavior, particularly when they have acted selfishly or hurt others.

This avoidance of self-reflection can indicate self-centeredness, as it often serves to protect their ego and maintain a self-constructed image of perfection.

Consider a scenario where a person has an argument with a friend and says hurtful things. Even after the heat of the moment has passed, they don’t take time to reflect on their behavior or consider how they might have hurt their friend. Instead, they carry on as if nothing happened.

Tip: Self-reflection is key to growth. Regularly take time to evaluate your actions and behaviors.

25. Insensitive to Wider Societal Issues

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

– Martin Luther King Jr.

Being insensitive to wider societal issues can be a strong indicator of self-centeredness. These individuals often show an unresponsiveness or indifference towards problems that do not directly affect them.

They tend to focus primarily on their own issues, disregarding the collective challenges that impact others.

For instance, a person might ignore the impacts of climate change because they don’t feel it directly affects their daily life. They might continue to make choices that are harmful to the environment, disregarding the larger societal consequences.

Tip: Stay informed and show concern for societal issues. They affect us all in one way or another.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are being self-centered and narcissistic the same thing?

While self-centeredness and narcissism share some common traits, such as a lack of empathy, they are not the same thing.

Narcissism is a more severe form of self-centeredness, often involving manipulative behavior and a lack of genuine concern for others.

Do self-centered people care about others at all?

While self-centered people predominantly focus on their own needs, it doesn’t mean they’re incapable of caring for others. The amount of care they show for others, however, often pales in comparison to the attention they reserve for themselves.

Why do some people become self-centered?

There can be various causes. The origins often trace back to one’s upbringing or early life experiences, such as being excessively pampered or given little attention.

Individuals may also adopt self-centered behaviors as a coping mechanism for stress or insecurity.

Conclusion

In the end, we all have a bit of self-centeredness in us; it’s part of being human. But if you’ve noticed many of these signs in yourself or others, it might be time to pause and think.

Remember, it’s all about balance. Listening to others, showing empathy, respecting commitments, and expressing gratitude are all part of being a good friend and person.

We’re all in this together, learning and growing every day. So, let’s make our journey kinder and more understanding for everyone. Life’s more fun that way!

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Kyna is a writer and aspiring doctor. Besides writing, she likes discovering new music, immersing herself in interactive books, and engaging in multiplayer shooter games. She is passionate about chemistry, human biology, and pharmacology, and is always eager to learn more about these subjects.