If someone displays these 8 behaviors, they’re really self-centered

Has anyone ever called you self-centered? Are you wondering if a person is self-centered or if their behavior was just a one-off? Or do you want to know how to handle or react to self-centered people? 

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you’re in the right place.

In this article, we will talk about the difference between selfish and self-centered (yes, there’s a difference), and what makes a person either one.

Hopefully, by the time you’re done reading, you’ll know that if someone displays these 8 behaviors, they’re really self-centered.

A quick note before we jump in

Before we dive into the telling signs of a self-centered person, it is prudent to differentiate between being self-centered and being selfish.

Though they are sometimes used interchangeably, there are differences between the two. 

A self-centered person tends to only look at things from their own point of view, often thinking along the lines of “How will this benefit ME?” or “What’s in it for ME?”

On the other hand, “selfish” is a term with a negative connotation. Someone selfish often has no consideration for others, only for themselves. 

If we expand this exercise in distinction to other terms like “self-absorbed”, the latter is interested only in themselves, such as things they’ve done and things they like. 

Being narcissistic, on the other hand, is quite another thing. People with such tendencies (or indeed, diagnosed narcissists), have no empathy and have a sense of arrogance and entitlement, among other things. It’s reflective of all three terms.

Though some characteristics may overlap, for our purposes, we will just be focusing on self-centered behaviors.

Without further ado, if someone displays these 8 behaviors, they’re really self-centered.

1) They often take over conversations

Have you ever been talking to someone, telling them about your particularly exhausting day and then–you don’t know how it happened–you realize the focus has now shifted from you to them? 

According to Taneille Smith, licensed marriage and family therapist as well as licensed mental health counselor, a self-centered person tends to monopolize a conversation.

She points out that this individual may be unable to imagine another’s point of view, and so steers the conversation to themselves.

2) They don’t put in the same amount of effort

No relationship, regardless of its nature, survives without all parties investing effort.

But when your friend, relative, or partner is self-centered, it can feel like you’re the only one putting in time and energy, and they just take. It can feel like they’re taking you for granted too.

If someone displays this behavior, they’re really self-centered.

3) They crave the spotlight

Earlier we touched on the tendency for a self-centered person to dominate conversations without being asked.

Apart from being unable to show interest in other people’s lives, self-centered people like attention and may try, whenever possible, to direct the spotlight onto themselves.

Have you ever been at a party where you’re all exchanging stories, and someone suddenly interrupts the person speaking with a story of their own?

In this instance, they might try to tell their story as if to trump the original speaker’s. Self-centered people may also try and insert themselves in situations, unasked. 

According to clinical psychologist Aimee Daramus, someone self-centered may try to comfort you using stories about themselves (“I know how you feel. It’s like one time, when I…”)

4) They lack accountability

Self-centered people also aren’t able to accept constructive feedback about their behavior. As a result, they may not own up to the consequences of their actions. 

Emily Simonian, a licensed marriage and family therapist, says that self-centered people “may get defensive” and shrug off the feedback. 

“If something isn’t hurting or affecting them, it’s difficult for them to want to change,” she adds.

If someone displays this behavior, they’re really self-centered.

5) They can’t follow rules

Another sign that someone is a self-centered person is their inability to follow rules.

If something isn’t to their convenience, they tend to do things their way. They struggle with compromise as well.

Simonian describes this behavior as a “sense of entitlement” that leads them to “break rules because of carelessness, arrogance, or a lack of empathy.” 

Relating to our previous point about self-centered people lacking accountability, if they don’t see how this affects them and others, they will do things their way.

6) They lack perspective

People who are secretly insecure often use these 12 words or phrases 2 If someone displays these 8 behaviors, they’re really self-centered

Empathy is a key factor in healthy relationships. It entails being able to put yourself in another’s shoes and walk a mile in them.

 Self-centered people have difficulty doing this. They struggle with seeing things from another’s point of view, which would allow them to empathize with others.

Such instances include dismissing others’ opinions (if these differ from theirs) and refusing to listen to another person’s side in a disagreement. If someone displays these behaviors, they’re really self-centered.

7) They’re not interested in your life

As we established before, relationships are give-and-take. It’s fair to say that this idea is lost on self-centered people, because all they seem interested in is the taking.

Such a person will unload on you about a long day they’ve had, or maybe vent about another person who annoys them or with whom they had a disagreement.

But after they’re done, it wouldn’t even occur to them to ask you how YOUR day was. Their tendency to dominate conversations rules them.

Another version of this is when someone doesn’t even try to explore your interests. 

It’s perfectly fine and healthy for two people in a relationship (romantic or otherwise) to have different interests. Yet, this relationship is doomed when one party doesn’t care about the other. 

They make decisions without consulting the other, like what movie to see, what destination spot to visit, or what food to order.

If someone displays these behaviors, they’re really self-centered. 

8) They care more about superficial qualities

Self-centered people often create the image of themselves they want the world to see.

This means that they want their associations to reflect the kind of person they think they are. 

In choosing friends, this could mean that they want to get in with the popular crowd.

In job seeking, they aim for prestigious or high-paying jobs, while not necessarily having the skills to back it up.

In choosing partners, they base their criteria solely on attractiveness, and not compatibility or character.

If someone displays these behaviors, they’re really self-centered.

Dealing with self-centered people

If there’s a self-centered person in your life, how should you handle them? Below are three tips from Ken Alexander, M.Ed.

  • Don’t take it personally. Taking to heart whatever a self-centered person says or does allows them to manipulate you. Set your limits.
  • Setting boundaries. These will help you distance yourself when interacting with that person becomes emotionally draining
  • Seek positive interactions instead. Dealing with a self-centered person doesn’t promote a healthy mental and emotional state. Why waste your time on somebody who couldn’t care less about what you want and need?

The bottom line

Truth be told, there’s nothing really wrong with being a little self-centered. In fact, sometimes it’s a good thing. It helps us take care of ourselves emotionally or psychologically.

With a strong ego, we’re better equipped to deal with stress and learn how to put internal conflicts to bed before they result in more anxiety.

But when that self-centeredness intrudes upon others’ well-being and boundaries, it becomes a problem.

With this list, you can spot if someone displays these behaviors, they’re really self-centered.

Picture of Louise Logarta

Louise Logarta

Louise Nichole Logarta is a content writer by profession, with experience crafting feature articles, editorials, and news articles. She has been published in noted Philippine broadsheets Philippine Daily Inquirer and The Manila Times. Topics of interest she likes writing about include relationships, current affairs, health, and pop culture. Travel, journal notebooks, fiction books, and iced coffee are some of the things she enjoys.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.