From deep insecurity to societal influence to growing up spoiled, people can be self-centered for an array of reasons.
But one thing’s for sure, being self-centered is almost always a negative trait.
And sometimes, we’re so conceited in ourselves that we don’t realize the extent of our selfish ways.
This can be troubling, especially if you want to enjoy fruitful relationships in life.
So if you suspect you can be a little self-centered, you’ve come to the right place.
Let’s get to it!
1) You ignore others’ achievements
Self-centered people perpetually long for the spotlight.
This is because they get a quick dopamine high out of being the center of attention.
So when that spotlight shifts to someone else, that isn’t an ideal scenario for them.
They lack the humility to be happy for others, and hence they might ignore or downplay their success and achievements–and frankly, anything else that doesn’t pertain to them.
When you achieve something of value in life, like opening a new business or reaching a work milestone, remember the friends who were there, earnestly congratulating you–and take note of the ones who suddenly went awol.
The distinction can be extremely telling.
2) You excessively brag on social media
Social media is a utopia for the self-centered individual.
It gives them a platform to freely share their carefully curated accomplishments, exaggerated milestones, and limitless selfies, often to the tune of instant validation and empty flattery.
If you have a decent-sized following, chances are there will likely always be a few enablers for your self-indulgent content, empowering you to keep posting.
I think we all know a few people like this.
So if this sounds like you, consider your audience–not many want to have to deal with daily shirtless selfies; or having to watch your individual exercises at the gym; or your glass of champagne in the first-class lounge; or your excessive material purchases.
You get the gist.
The silver lining is that, for the rest of us, the unfollow (or hide) option is only a couple of clicks away.
3) You always interrupt conversations
Real talk: Self-centered folk are experts at bringing the focus back to them in conversations.
They will not hesitate to interrupt or cut people off mid-sentence, just to blather more about themselves.
This obviously can be off-putting and alienating for the other people involved.
And when you do finally put your foot down and attempt to finish a point, they’ll express blatant disinterest and boredom, often turning their attention directly to their phone–almost like a reflex.
My now ex-stepmother, let’s call her Maria, was like this.
And though we didn’t have the greatest of relationships, I know I’m not biased in this perspective.
Everyone else in my family felt the same way.
We’d be having weekly lunches with extended family, and like any family gathering, there would be a lot of chatter involved.
Every lunch, Maria would always, without fail, interrupt others and ramble on about herself.
She would frequently use “I” or “me” statements when communicating, always highlighting her experiences and her thoughts rather than listening to others.
Well, my family quickly grew disenchanted.
And when my dad and her eventually fell out, we can’t say we were surprised.
Being self-centered or narcissistic is like kryptonite for relationships–and unless the other person is a complete doormat, it’s almost always unsustainable.
4) You often expect special treatment
Self-centered people, by their very nature, are lacking in the humility department.
Hence, they often think they’re above the rules–believing that others might bend requirements and make exceptions for them because of their perceived superiority.
Say you’re lining up at the post office or the DMV, the self-centered person might try to jump the queue, attempting to sway the authorities into giving them a pass, apathetic to the others patiently waiting.
They won’t consider that other people might have concerns to attend to that are just as urgent, as long as it means greater convenience for them.
5) You neglect friends’ struggles
Have you ever experienced a traumatic event, say a breakup or the loss of a loved one, and needed support from a friend?
But instead of consolation, you’re met with self-centered behavior.
Maybe they’ll somehow dismiss your challenges or difficult periods, yammering on about how they’ve had it worse in the past.
I’ve learned that when people are dealing with an issue, there are certain ways not to approach the situation.
Whether you feel you’ve been through more tumultuous circumstances in the past or not is inconsequential.
This is their time to grieve, their time to vent. Sensitivity is necessary.
Show your support through empathy and validation, not competition.
6) You’re unapologetically late
I live in an overcrowded, bustling megacity–yet still, lack of punctuality is one of my greatest pet peeves.
You can have all the excuses in the world, from traffic to suddenly needing to take your pet to the vet, but once you’re late enough times, expect to frustrate a few (or a lot) of people.
Why? Because you’re essentially signaling a disregard and lack of consideration for their time and commitments.
Apart from being a writer, I also run a few restaurants.
A few years ago, I was approached by someone who claimed to be very interested in franchising our brand.
So, after the initial due diligence, we set a meeting.
Now, not only was he an hour late for the meeting, thoroughly irritating all the participants involved like my business partner and attorney, but when he did finally show up, he casually strutted in, offering zero remorse or explanation.
He just the meeting expected to start promptly, now that he had arrived.
I saw this as a huge red flag: if he couldn’t make it on time to an introductory business meeting, how could I trust him to uphold the integrity of our brand?
Needless to say, we didn’t pursue this relationship. No regrets.
7) You’re a selective friend
If you only reach out to friends when you need something, this is typical self-centered behavior– and pretty manipulative too.
Guess what? People catch on fast.
Maybe you know someone who becomes a picture of kindness when it benefits them, only to disappear into the abyss when it’s your turn to ask for a reciprocal favor.
Friendships are about give and take, about supporting each other. When things become one-sided, it’s probably time to move on.
The good news is it really is never too late to become a better person.
With a bit of commitment and deliberate daily effort, you’ll get to where you want to be eventually.
Trust me, I’ve seen folks who have been notoriously self-centered, yet are able to acknowledge their behavior, alter their perspective, and transform into completely different people.
I promise you, it can be done.
And by reading this, you’ve already made the first step.
So keep grinding, celebrate your victories, and don’t get discouraged. If you look closely, you’ll realize that change is right around the corner. Now go out and get it.