For some people validation is like an addictive drug.
The more they get the more they need, and they’ll do almost anything to get that fix.
Here are the top habits of self-centered people who demand that other people stroke their ego.
1) Post excessively on social media
Self-centered people love to post.
In fact they can hardly stay away from it.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, TikTok, you name it: they’re posting!
Fine, you might say…
But they tend to post very “look at me!” stuff. We’re talking about dramatic monologues, passionate “current thing” statements, all the rest of it.
Let the hashtags flow…
2) Humblebrag in totally cringe ways
Humblebragging is when you say something that seems humble on the surface but is actually boasting.
For example, the self-centered individual might say that they “spent last summer clearing up plastic waste on the beaches of Indonesia with a celebrity just to make a difference in the world.”
They want you to know that they are a great person who cares much more about the world than the average individual.
They also want everybody to know that they also are low-key friends with some very famous people.
What they want from you in return is admiration and validation.
3) Become a voluntourist
“Volun-tourism” is the practice of going to volunteer in other places for a chance at free travel and “cultural enrichment.”
Having volunteered near Russia for a year in a small village I met various other voluntourists in my program:
Westerners who didn’t care about the actual project and were just there to have fun and party with other Westerners while using the diversity and exoticism of the local culture and people as a fun backdrop to show their friends back home.
I also met committed people who were actually interested in the local culture and making a difference instead of imposing their own norms and desires on people.
Volun-tourists are prone to posting photos of their “time abroad” on dating apps, bragging about having friends who are of a different ethnicity from them, and feeling the need to see those they help as “victims” in order to get a self-righteous buzz of validation.
4) Play the victim
Self-centered people have a desire to see themselves as a savior, especially of people they cast in the role of victims, as I mentioned in the last point.
But they also like to sometimes play the victim themselves.
These are actually two sides of the same coin.
At heart they are saying:
I am special! I am uniquely mistreated by the world and less fortunate than others, or I am uniquely dedicated and compassionate to helping the less fortunate.
The goal of such posturing? Attention, validation, sympathy and being in the spotlight.
5) Change their appearance frequently
It’s nice to change your look now and then, and if you work in an industry that relies on image such as modeling, politics or broadcast media, it may even be connected to your work.
But this is also one of the habits of very self-centered people.
They are constantly doing image updates and waiting for people to notice their new hairstyle, their new clothes, their new “vibe.”
They get sulky if others don’t notice, and even the slightest variation from intense praise is not good enough.
They want to be worshiped for their style and image innovations and boldness.
They want to be told how hot and handsome they are as many times as possible from as many people as possible.
6) Inhabit ever-changing special ‘identities’
On a related note, the self-centered individual will often try on different identities for size.
One day they are this sexual orientation, the next day they are another one.
One week they are into this really wild new political revolutionary ideology, and the next week they’re so over that and into a totally new ideological pathway.
And they make sure to tell everyone they know about their important, groundbreaking and fascinating shifts.
There is such a thing as going through rapid evolutions in identity, for sure, but more often than not this kind of front-facing transformation is about gaining attention and validation.
7) Use social status to enforce praise
Self-centered people will often seek validation through their social status.
This could be everything from their looks, popularity and reputation professionally to their type of car, clothes and outer lifestyle.
They put on airs and expect praise and recognition for their place in society.
We often see this start in high school, for example, with a certain type of popular person who expects people to validate and pay deference to them as a result of their being the queen bee or the prom king.
This brings up a related point…
8) Demand worship by subordinates
We’ve all had those higher-ranking people at work, or even sometimes in a family context, who demand validation and praise.
These are the worst kind of parents, the worst kinds of bosses.
They use their position of authority financially, familially or even emotionally to get validation and attention.
This is pretty much the definition of a captive audience.
You can’t exactly tell your supervisor that her new idea is actually not very smart and won’t work. So instead you say it’s very “interesting” and nod and smile.
This brings up the next thing that egotists do to get validated: they pay for it.
9) Throw their money around
We’ve all been in situations where somebody with money is throwing it around or using their spending power to lord over other people.
It’s easy to dismiss it as immature or toxic behavior, but when this is somebody close to you or even somebody you may be in a relationship with or connected to on a personal level, it’s much harder.
The truth is that having a lot of money absolutely does bring a lot more power both socially and psychologically.
That’s why insecure egotists who want to be noticed and validated will often flash their cash around and expect you to fall in line in return for them being generous or helping out with money.
10) Gossip and trash-talk others
One of the cheap and dirty ways to get validation from others is by trash-talking people among friends or colleagues.
The self-centered person may gang up by gossiping or talking poorly about another person.
They will often do this in order to seek the validation of agreeing in a group that this other person is a loser, weak or pathetic in some way.
In such a fashion they draw a default parallel with themselves, since at least they aren’t a loser like the person they’re gossipping about.
It’s very low behavior, to say the least.
11) Start fights and demand attention
Self-centered people tend to seek validation at any cost.
If they’re not getting it from placing themselves in an admirable role of some kind, they are willing to also play the villain in a victim-like way.
“How dare you say that?”
“Do you know who I am?”
These are the calling cards of an egotist starting a fight to get attention.
They want everyone to recognize how special and noteworthy they are and have that said out loud.
12) Give constant advice
Giving advice can be done in an empowering and genuine way.
But for the narcissistic person it’s usually a way of feeling superior and placing themselves in the spotlight.
Any struggle or confusion other folks are going through will be framed by them as something they already conquered or find negligible.
They will always have the “correct” advice and be purer, better, smarter and wiser than those around them.
They also expect to be thanked humbly for any advice given as if it’s gold nuggets dropping out of the heavens.
13) Put others down for not being at their ‘level’
Very self-centered people will often put others down for not being at their level and demand that they be recognized for their special talents and accomplishments.
Sometimes the self-centered person really is very accomplished and praiseworthy in certain ways, so it’s not necessarily that it’s fake.
The issue is more the resentful attitude and feeling the need to receive more validation and attention than others.
Responding to self-centered people
When dealing with extremely self-centered people it’s easy to overreact and feed into their narcissistic cycle.
The various forms of validation-seeking and attention-seeking that egoist indulge in can certainly be frustrating, especially when they blame you for not responding in the way you would like.
The solution is to minimize how much time you spend around such people, if possible.
If you have no choice, gently remind them that you exist too and that you are busy and have your own priorities and problems right now.
If they still won’t listen then it’s time to open up the floodgates and let them know you’ve had enough.