Self-Centered People: 7 Signs of Selfishness

  • If someone is self-centered, they usually don’t reciprocate the effort you put into the relationship.
  • They may also disregard rules, believing that rules and guidelines don’t apply to them.
  • To cope with a selfish person, you can set boundaries, tell them how you feel, or cut them off.
  • Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.

If you know somebody who constantly makes everything about themselves or seems to have little to no consideration for others, you are likely dealing with a self-centered person.

This is common with people who have narcissistic personality disorder and makes it difficult for them to maintain healthy relationships with others.

Here are nine signs that someone is self-centered, and how to deal with someone with this type of personality.

1. They have one-sided conversations

When talking to a self-centered person, you may notice that they tend to monopolize the conversation, says Taneille Smith, LMFT, LMHC, a therapist in private practice.

For example, you might begin to share about how difficult work has been for you, and then they take this opportunity to go on and on about their own work stresses without acknowledging your own concerns.

“This is self-centered behavior because it demonstrates that this person has little capacity to be curious about or imagine another person’s perspective,” says Smith.

2. They don’t reciprocate effort

In a relationship with a self-centered person, you may find that there’s a clear pattern of you giving your time, energy, and attention to them, but these gestures and efforts aren’t reciprocated, says Smith.

This shows that they care more about themselves than others since they are not willing to put in the effort to make you feel like it’s an even relationship.

3. They consistently lack perspective

“Self-centered people usually lack empathy, maybe not entirely, but at least enough that they struggle to put themselves in others’ shoes,” says Emily Simonian, LMFT, therapist at Thriveworks. This can show up as:

  • Refusing to see someone else’s side of a disagreement
  • Disregarding others’ views, beliefs, or opinions as invalid

4. They think rules don’t apply to them

Simonian says that self-centered people will perpetually do things their own way and take a “my way or the highway” approach to life.

“This sense of entitlement causes self-centered individuals to frequently break rules because of carelessness, arrogance, or a lack of empathy that prohibits them from seeing how their behavior affects others,” says Simonian.

5. They’re inconsiderate

People who are self-centered will often do everything on their own terms, without taking your needs or desires into consideration as well, says Smith.

For example, they might choose activities, restaurants, or movies that they prefer regardless of whether you like them or not. Smith says this demonstrates that they don’t consider anyone’s preferences but their own.

6. They’re controlling

It’s common for self-centered people to come off rigid or controlling, since they may want things to go exactly their way, says Smith.

For example, if your partner or roommate is controlling, they might insist that things in your home are arranged in a certain way or that the chores are done specifically the way they want them done.

7. They’re unable to receive or respond to feedback

If you try to give a self-centered person any feedback about their selfish behavior, it’s likely that they won’t take it seriously and won’t take responsibility for their behavior.

“They may get defensive, fail to see the consequences of their actions, or simply disregard feedback out of carelessness. If something isn’t hurting or affecting them, it’s difficult for them to want to change,” says Simonian.

Tips on how to deal with someone who is self-centered

If you’re struggling with a self-centered person, here are some tips to make your interactions a bit more pleasant.

1. Set boundaries

Setting boundaries with someone who is self-centered can help you interact on your own terms. It can also help you avoid situations where they drain your energy or monopolize your time.

For example, some boundaries you could set are:

  • If you’re making plans, you can let them know in advance that you need to be home at a certain time.
  • If they call you to talk, you can let them know you only have 10 or so minutes to talk.

2. Find ways to cope if you cannot disengage

In some cases, you may not be able to truly separate from a self-centered person, such as if they’re a family member or coworker you see everyday. In this scenario, it can be helpful to find ways to cope with their behavior.

Simonian says some examples of coping skills for this situation are:

  • Reminding yourself to not take the things they say or do personally.
  • Redirect upsetting dialogue with them by changing the subject or leaving the conversation.
  • Learning to let things go by expressing your emotions or venting to a trusted friend or therapist.

3. Be realistic with your expectations

Though some people can grow to be more thoughtful and self-aware, it’s important that you don’t set yourself up for disappointment by expecting them to change. Instead, you can try to explore how they can fit into your life in a more positive way.

For example, you should accept that a self-centered friend may not be the best person to spend all your time with. But if you have fun getting a drink with them once in a while and want them in your life in a small way, it’s okay. Just be sure to reframe your relationship so that you’re not expecting to depend on them when the going gets tough.

4. Tell them how you feel

There’s a chance that the self-centered person is truly unaware of how their behavior is affecting you. That’s why it’s important to voice your concerns if you want to continue your relationship without more added resentment.

“If you feel like this person is important to you and you want to give them an opportunity to change, share your experience with them. Have your feedback focus on how you feel that there’s an imbalance in the relationship and provide a few examples,” says Smith.

5. Know when it’s time to cut them off

If you’ve expressed your feelings to the person but they aren’t making any attempts to change their behavior, it’s likely that you’ll constantly feel hurt or angry after spending time with them.

At this point, it may be time to consider ending the relationship. “Relationships are meant to be mutually connective and staying in a one-sided romantic relationship or friendship with someone who can’t meet basic relational needs will ultimately take a toll on your mental health,” says Simonian.

Insider’s takeaway

If you are interacting with someone who always makes everything about them, tends to be inconsiderate, or has a big ego, chances are, you’re dealing with a self-centered person.

Having a relationship of any type with someone like this can leave you feeling emotionally drained or hurt.

If you want to salvage the relationship, be sure to set boundaries and open up about how you feel, but also know that the relationship might need to end for your own sake if extreme self-centered behavior continues.

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