People who are really self-absorbed usually display these 9 patterns of behavior

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Ever found yourself in a conversation where it feels like your thoughts and feelings don’t really matter? 

Or maybe you’ve noticed that one friend who always, and I mean always, makes everything about them…

I’ve been there – and I’ll be real – it’s pretty exhausting. 

These kinda people are self-absorbed. 

Recognizing and understanding their behavior can actually help you have a better relationship with them. 

Or make the final decision to move on without them…

Ready to know if you’re dealing with someone who thinks way too much about themselves?

Well, if someone is self-absorbed…

1) They consistently lack empathy

When we talk about someone who’s self-absorbed, we’re basically saying they’re super into themselves, right? 

Confidence is great, don’t get me wrong. 

But when someone is too self-absorbed, they tend to wear blinders that only let them see their own feelings and problems. 

They find it really hard to put themselves in someone else’s shoes

Having a friend like this can feel lonely and frustrating. When you’re looking for empathy, you’ll get indifference.

And because self-absorbed people lack empathy…

2) They tend to self-reference

Imagine telling someone about your hard day. Maybe you got into a fight with a co-worker or failed at your new diet…

And then they start talking about the time they got into a fight with a colleague or failed something!

Or you could just be chatting about anything – the latest movie, a new song, even what happened in history class – and boom, somehow, the topic shifts back to them. 

It’s like they have this inner magnet that pulls every discussion their way.

And it can be really annoying. 

Self-absorbed people can hardly have a conversation without making it all about them. 

The saddest part is that they might not even realize they’re doing it. 

They’re just so used to steering the conversation back to their experiences, achievements, or problems. 

It’s totally normal to talk about yourself sometimes, but there has to be balance. 

Like I said, some people might not even realize they’re constantly self-referencing

But then there are some self-absorbed people who do it because…

3) They always want attention

Wanting a bit of attention isn’t bad on its own. We all like to feel noticed and special sometimes. 

But when someone’s always trying to dominate the spotlight, it can leave little room for anyone else to shine. 

It’s like they’re performing on stage, and everyone else is just the audience, expected to watch and applaud. 

It can be pretty exhausting and make hanging out feel more like attending their personal show than actually spending time together as friends.

A self-absorbed person might always try to crack the best jokes, brag about something they did, or constantly update everyone on their life as if they’re living in a reality TV show. 

Whether posting non-stop selfies on social media, dramatically telling stories where they’re always the hero, or just finding ways to stand out—even in situations that don’t really call for it. 

Self-absorbed people crave the spotlight

And they’ll do whatever to be the center of focus, always. 

4) They exaggerate their experiences and achievements

You know when someone tells a story, but it’s got so much extra spice that you’re not sure what to believe anymore? That’s what I’m talking about here. 

Self-absorbed people do this a lot. 

It’s like they always want to make sure their stories are the center of attention and way more wow than other people’s. 

Whenever they talk about something they’ve done, they increase the volume to the max. 

Scored a goal in soccer? Suddenly, it was the most crucial, game-winning shot in the history of the sport. 

Helped out in the community garden? It turns into single-handedly saving the environment.

The thing is, it’s not just about sharing fun and exciting stories. 

When they exaggerate, it’s also about making sure they seem super impressive – more than anyone else. 

It’s cool to celebrate achievements, really. But when everything’s always dialed up to eleven, it can be hard to figure out where the real story ends and the exaggeration begins. 

The reason they do this? Well, it’s pretty simple.

Self-absorbed people exaggerate so much because…

5) They look for validation

When a self-absorbed person shares an exaggerated story, achievement, or anything about themselves, it’s not just to feel more important. 

Silently, they’re actually asking, “Am I good enough? Do you think I’m cool?” 

More directly, they’ll utter statements like this:

  • Don’t you think I did a great job on this project?
  • Have you seen anyone do it better than me?
  • My event turned out pretty incredible, right?

Usually, they do this even when it’s clear they nailed it. It’s their way of needing to hear that they’re doing great – that they stand out. 

Self-absorbed people fish for compliments and are on a constant hunt for thumbs-ups

Sure, it’s normal to want a pat on the back or a “good job” every now and then. We all need a bit of that. 

But self-absorbed people are on the lookout for applause, to a point where it can be draining for those around them

6) They disregard boundaries

Boundaries can be a real issue for self-absorbed people. 

They often miss the cue on personal boundaries because they’re so focused on what they want or need. 

If they want to talk, they’ll call you at any hour, not stopping to think if it’s a bad time. 

If they need a favor, they ask without considering if it’s convenient for you.

If they want to see you, they’ll show up, assuming you want to see them, too. 

Their disregard for boundaries can make it feel like you’re not being respected. It’s as if your feelings, time, and space don’t really register on their radar. 

Having someone constantly overstep can be exhausting and frustrating because you constantly have to guard your personal space and privacy.

Healthy relationships need respect and understanding of boundaries. Having your own space, secrets, and limits is perfectly okay. 

And sure, it can be nice when someone calls at a random hour or shows up unannounced. But there has to be balance. This can’t be something that happens on the regular. 

Try explaining that to a self-absorbed person, though, right?

They honestly don’t understand or care about boundaries. Which is also part of the reason why…

7) They neglect other people’s needs

Besides disregarding your boundaries in favor of what they want, a self-absorbed person doesn’t really care about what others need, either. 

They’re so focused on themselves that they kind of forget everyone else also has thoughts, feelings, and needs that are just as important.

Sometimes, it’s not that they’re intentionally ignoring others. It’s more about being so wrapped up in their own world that they don’t notice. 

Relationships with self-absorbed people can feel one-sided. Like you’re there to support and help them, but when you need the favor returned, they’re nowhere to be found. 

8) They act entitled

Having a superiority complex is another classic trait of self-absorbed people. 

They honestly just believe they’re inherently more valuable or important than others. And they act this way, too.

A self-absorbed person might cut in line or get upset if things don’t go their way. 

They believe they deserve the best of everything, regardless of their actions. 

It’s like they’re living in a bubble where they’re the main character, and everyone else is just a supporting actor.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Having confidence and being a little bit delusional can be a good thing. You are the main character of your life. 

But self-absorbed people try to take the lead role in everyone else’s, too. And that’s not cool. 

The world doesn’t owe you something. And you can’t demand special favors or expect others to bend over backward to accommodate you. 

Entitlement can be pretty off-putting. 

But guess what? Self-absorbed people are mostly too focused on themselves to even notice this. 

For them, life is just about being prioritized above everyone and everything else. 

And they’ll do anything to be the center of attention. 

This is why you can also recognize a self-absorbed person by the fact that…

9) They manipulate

Manipulation can be super subtle. At first, you won’t even know you’re being manipulated since manipulators are so good at playing emotional games. 

But if someone constantly gets their way, despite everyone being opposed to it at first, they’re definitely doing it. 

Self-absorbed people are master manipulators. They might say or do things to make you feel guilty, all for their benefit. 

They could even use compliments, promises, or little bits of information about themselves as tools to sway you into doing what they want.

This tactic is all about control.

When all their tricks work, you’ll think your decisions are huge mistakes, and you might even think you’re at fault when things go wrong. 

Spotting these tactics and recognizing a self-absorbed person through their behaviors can save you lots of tears. 

No matter the type of relationship, everyone involved should feel equally important. 

When you’re dealing with a self-absorbed person, this is rarely the case. 

I’m not saying you should cut off anyone who tends to be a little full of themselves. But understanding their traits can help you set boundaries. 

This way, you don’t end up feeling drained or overlooked while having them in your life. 

It also helps with managing expectations. When you know what to expect from someone, you can adjust how much you rely on them for support. 

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Natasha Combrink

Nats is a writer who loves creating content for purposeful brands. She enjoys spending time outdoors, crafting, and diving down rabbit holes. After rediscovering life, she wants to help others live to their full potential. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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