13 things self-absorbed people do that really irritates others

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Self-absorbed people are some of the most annoying people to be around.

The thing is, we all have some tendencies to get caught up in our own lives. After all, we are all the main character in our own stories. At times, it can be easy to forget that other people are living out their own stories, every bit as important as our own.

Self-absorbed people forget that they are not the only person who matters, and that their feelings and actions have no more importance in the world than anybody else’s.

That can make it extremely irritating to be around someone like that.

Here are some things self-absorbed people do that make others dislike spending time with them.

1) They like to control everything

Self-absorbed people don’t respect the opinions of others. That means they always feel like they have to call the shots.

This is something you’ll see in all walks of life. Maybe you have a self-absorbed boss who takes pleasure in giving orders, or a coworker who wants to control every project. 

Maybe you have a self-absorbed parent who wants to control your life because they think they will do a better job of it than you do.

Maybe you’re in a relationship with a self-absorbed person who always makes decisions like where you’ll eat, where you’ll go on vacation, or what you’ll do on the weekend.

Either way, this desire to control the actions of other people makes a self-absorbed person a real pain to be around.

2) They make everything a competition

As if that’s not enough to get under your skin, self-absorbed people also have the annoying habit of competing with everyone around them.

This isn’t just in arenas where competition may be appropriate. It’s everything. A self-absorbed person will always have a story to top yours. Their holiday was always more glamorous, their job more fulfilling, and their bank account fuller than yours – even if you know that’s not actually true.

According to psychologist Perpetua Neo, self-absorbed people also sometimes compete with the negative aspects of your life. She calls this “one-downing” instead of one-upping.

Simply put, this means a self-absorbed person will compete with you over who is suffering more. If you’re having a hard time, rest assured that this selfish person will have a story of a worse trial they are going through.

3) They don’t listen

Do you ever get the feeling someone isn’t listening to you?

If you spend time around a self-absorbed person, you’ll have that feeling a lot. That’s because it’s true.

Self-absorbed people are always terrible listeners. That’s because, instead of listening to you, they are thinking about themselves and what they will say next.

This can make it extremely hard to have any kind of close relationship with a person so self-absorbed.

4) They manipulate people to get their way

This behavior is one of the darker aspects of the self-absorbed person. In fact, this behavior is more than simply irritating; it can actually have a hugely damaging effect on people’s lives.

It may also be a sign of someone who is not merely self-absorbed, but is actually a true narcissist.

Basically, self-absorbed people don’t care about others as much as they do about themselves. That means they have no problem being manipulative.

They may lie. They may belittle the people around them. They may engage in emotional abuse and gaslighting to try to convince you that your opinions and feelings are not valid.

Taken to the extreme, these manipulative behaviors may well be a sign that you’re dealing with a narcissist.

5) They dismiss other people’s problems

Because self-absorbed people don’t see others as being as important as them, they tend to dismiss other people’s problems.

Often, a self-absorbed person will minimize anything you’re going through, saying things like, “it’s not that bad,” or, “you’re making a big deal about nothing.”

That’s because, to someone who is wrapped up in themselves, your problems can’t be that bad, because it isn’t happening to them.

This can happen in the workplace, where a self-absorbed coworker may minimize the challenges you’re facing. 

It can also happen in the home, where a parent or a partner may dismiss your problems, claiming that their own difficulties are far greater.

But wherever it happens, it’s a highly irritating phenomenon that makes self-absorbed people difficult to like.

6) They mask their selfishness

Just because someone is self-absorbed doesn’t mean they are stupid. Often, they are well aware of the fact that other people tend to react negatively to selfish behavior.

That means they learn how to mask their selfishness.

On the other hand, it doesn’t stop them from being selfish in the first place.

Self-absorbed people may have learned how to pretend to be interested in you and the things you say. They may act supportive for a little while.

But soon, they’ll find a way to bring the conversation back to themselves. This fake behavior makes them very irritating to be around.

7) They insist on being the center of attention

Truly self-absorbed people are masters of making themselves the center of attention. No matter what subject you may be talking about, they’ll find a way to bring it back to themselves. They may even lie to keep themselves at the center of every conversation.

Sometimes, self-absorbed people will even create drama in a group of friends or family just to put themselves in the middle of it.

8) They force their views on others

People who are wrapped up in themselves don’t respect other people’s opinions. In their minds, there is a right way to think and a wrong way, and they just happen to be on the right side.

That can make self-absorbed people extremely intolerant of the views of others. Often, a selfish person will try to get you to agree with them on everything and dismiss your views as incorrect, foolish, or immoral.

9) They focus on the superficial

Image is everything to someone who is absorbed in themselves. Therefore, they tend to judge other people by superficial metrics.

Self-absorbed people are often overly impressed by those who possess traditional physical beauty, power, or wealth. At the same time, they may dismiss or run down those who don’t have these attributes.

Sometimes, self-absorbed people are so superficial they choose their friends and partners to make themselves look better.

10) They lack empathy

Since they spend most of their time thinking about themselves, self-absorbed people often lack empathy toward others.

Simply put, they are unable or unwilling to put themselves in the positions of others to appreciate what life is like for them.

Signs of lack of empathy include:

  • Inability to read body language
  • Lack of emotional control
  • Constant criticism of others
  • Making insensitive comments
  • Never admitting fault

As you can probably imagine by now, that makes these people unpleasant to be around.

11) They tried to hide vulnerabilities and insecurities

Because they are so invested in the image of themselves, self-absorbed people are often reluctant to reveal any vulnerabilities and insecurities they have.

To some extent, we all do this. We all want to show the best side of ourselves to the world. But with the truly self-absorbed, it becomes much more than that.

These people will lie about themselves, about their past, and about the way they feel, all to make sure that nobody sees through the wall they have built around themselves.

Unfortunately for them, sharing vulnerability is a huge part of human relationships. And it’s a part self-absorbed people miss out on.

12) They are disinterested in others

At heart, self-absorbed people aren’t interested in what’s going on in the lives of others – except as it affects them.

That means they often display a startling lack of interest in other people.

This can manifest itself in a number of ways, including:

  • Not listening to others
  • Appearing bored when other people are talking
  • Talking over people
  • Invalidating other people’s experiences

By now, you can probably see why this makes self-absorbed people unlikable.

13) They have double standards

Self-absorbed people have an annoying tendency to judge others by different standards than those they apply to themselves.

The thing is, self-absorbed people genuinely don’t think the same rules apply to them.

That means if you do something wrong, they will judge you harshly, but if they do something wrong, they will have all kinds of excuses for why it wasn’t their fault.

Self-absorbed people are reluctant to take blame, but they are perfectly willing to dish it out to others.

As you can probably imagine, these double standards make them annoying people to be around.

Don’t be self-absorbed

While self-absorption can be a sign of a deeper problem such as a narcissistic personality disorder, it isn’t always that. But even lower levels of self-absorption can make people irritating to be around.

If you see these behaviors in the people around you, it’s a good sign that they are too wrapped up in themselves to really think about others. And that’s a quality that makes someone hard to be around.

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