When I think of someone being self-absorbed, a close family member comes to mind. For obvious reasons, I won’t say their real name, so we’ll call her Jane.
The funny thing is, Jane probably won’t even read this article, since Jane has become so self-absorbed, I’m pretty sure she’s forgotten I exist!
But she wasn’t always that way.
And you probably weren’t either.
But if you are worried that you might be a little bit too “into yourself”, read on. Here are 8 signs you’ve become self-absorbed without realizing it.
Before we get into it, just one more thing:
The points in this article may make you feel bad. But I’d rather you see it as an opportunity to recognize what’s going on and do better.
No one is perfect, after all!
1) Constantly talking about yourself
When did we first get a hint that Jane was becoming self-absorbed?
Easy. When she couldn’t stop talking about herself. Family dinners would become “The Jane Show”, where we all sat patiently through hours of her talking, in detail, about her life.
And look, I’m not trying to say you should never talk about yourself. That’s not the point.
Talk about yourself, but also allow space for others to join the conversation.
Ask people questions.
Show an interest in their lives as much as yours.
If you’ve been guilty of dominating the conversation and making it all about you, it sounds like you’re becoming self-absorbed, even if you don’t mean to do it.
2) Showing a lack of empathy
Let’s say your friend comes to you after breaking up with their boyfriend.
You can see they’re upset, but you know they’re a tough person and they’ll be fine. Not to mention, you’ve been through worse things and life and survived.
So, rather than letting them cry and grieve the end of their relationship, you take the tough love approach. You tell them that it’s life and to move on.
I get that in such situations, you probably don’t mean to come across as cold or uncaring.
But unfortunately, if you are struggling to show empathy, it is another sign that you’re becoming self-absorbed.
You’re not taking the time to really think about how the other person feels. You’re not recognizing that just because you’ve dealt with shit in life, others may still feel strongly when faced with a setback.
If you’re looking back right now and seeing yourself in this situation, it’s time to work on your empathy levels and remember what it’s like to put yourself in someone else’s shoes for a change.
3) Comparing yourself to others
Some comparison is normal.
We all do it.
But if you find yourself constantly looking at others and then comparing them to your own life, you could be becoming self-absorbed.
Rather than see what your neighbor has and think to yourself, “Oh, I’m so happy for them,” you might find yourself wondering why you don’t have the same.
This can lead to feelings of inadequacy.
On the flip side, if you notice yourself looking down on others, your comparisons may lead you to feel a sense of superiority.
Let’s say a friend gets a new haircut and your first thought is, “Ew, thank goodness my hair doesn’t look like that,” it’s not a great sign.
The bottom line is, too much comparison isn’t healthy for you. But I get it – in today’s world, it’s easy to fall into this trap.
Take a break from social media. Stop looking at what others have and practice gratitude for your life – that’s a good starting point if you’re worried you’re becoming self-absorbed.
4) Needing constant validation
I remember going on a trip once with a friend. She constantly asked me if she looked okay.
Before and after every picture. While she was getting ready in the morning. At night, she wanted to know if her pajamas made her look chubby.
It got extremely annoying.
You see, we all want validation from time to time. But if you’re secure within yourself, you won’t rely on it to feel worthy.
However, if you have found yourself constantly worrying about your appearance and asking others to validate your feelings, it could be a sign of being self-absorbed.
Remember, not everything is about how you look. The people closest to you, who genuinely want to be around you, enjoy your company for your personality.
It’s rarely because you’re “pretty” or “handsome”.
5) Not listening actively
So, one thing that Jane does that really winds me up is not listening.
To start with, she doesn’t bother to ask how my husband and I are. Or what’s going on in our lives.
But if we do volunteer some information, she’ll absent-mindedly cut us off, or change the topic back to herself.
Even when she doesn’t do that, you can just tell she’s zoned out and distracted.
Does that sound familiar? Are you struggling to hear others because your mind is full of your own issues?
I get it – there are times in our lives when we’ve got a lot going on.
We struggle to be there for others because our own plates are full. If this is just a patch you’re going through, I wouldn’t worry too much.
But if you just don’t care enough to listen, that’s not a good sign.
6) Being indifferent to feedback
Has anyone called you out on your behavior?
How did it make you feel?
If you shrugged it off and couldn’t care less, perhaps you are becoming self-absorbed.
You don’t deem what they’re saying as important, because in your mind, you can’t do wrong.
But here’s the issue:
No one is perfect. We can all improve and do better.
A person who isn’t self-absorbed would accept feedback with an open mind.
They’d be willing to reflect on their behavior and make any necessary changes. At the very least, they’d apologize for hurting those around them.
7) Focussing only on your problems
Back to Jane for one last time – the ultimate confirmation we got that she’s become self-absorbed was recently.
We’ve had a really tough week, dealing with Covid and the loss of our little kitten. All our family and friends rallied around us, checking in to make sure we were okay.
Jane did send a message. On the day our kitty passed away, she, knowing what we were going through, decided it would be a good time to complain about her son’s sleeping patterns.
She never asked how we were.
In fact, she got annoyed when we didn’t indulge her complaints (I mean, we were both still in shock at what had happened, baby sleeping patterns were the last thing on our mind that day).
It was the epitome of being self-absorbed.
I hope you’ve not turned into Jane, but if you have, it’s not too late to turn things around and be there for those you love.
8) Dominating social media
And finally, if you’re obsessed with your social media, and you can’t stop staring at your profile and uploading selfies, there’s an issue here.
Don’t get me wrong, social media encourages vain behavior.
But you don’t have to fall into it.
You don’t need to rely on the opinions of others to feel good about yourself. You also have more to offer than just your appearance.
Put it this way, an attractive face is nice and all, but it doesn’t mean anything if it comes with a self-absorbed personality.
So, if you resonate with Jane and the signs above, it’s time to make a change.
I know you’ve probably not realized half the things you’re doing, but now you do, there’s no excuse.
Being self-absorbed isn’t a healthy trait. But by working on your self-awareness levels, practicing empathy, and accepting feedback, you can get back to having your feet on the ground.