Selfish people: 10 things they do and how to deal with them

We’ve all had that encounter with someone whose world seems to revolve solely around them. It can be tough, draining, and downright infuriating. But how do we recognize these selfish individuals and handle them effectively?

Hold onto your patience, because we’re about to delve into 10 things selfish people always do and how to deal with it. 

This might just be the enlightenment you need. 

1. They always put their needs first

As an empathetic human being, I tend to consider the feelings and needs of others.

But when dealing with a selfish person, I’ve noticed that they always prioritize their interests over everyone else’s. It’s as if they are the sun, and we are all just planets revolving around them.

Whether it’s deciding where to eat, what movie to watch, or whose feelings matter in a dispute, they always seem to have a knack for making sure their preferences come out on top.

It can be exhausting and demoralizing, but remember, it’s not about you – it’s about them and their lack of consideration for others.

So how do we deal with this? A good starting point is by setting boundaries and standing up for your own needs.

It’s okay to put yourself first sometimes too. 

2. They lack empathy

One characteristic I’ve observed in selfish people is their lack of empathy. It’s like they’re wearing blinders, focused only on their own emotions and experiences, with little regard for those of others.

They struggle to put themselves in another person’s shoes or to understand how their actions might impact someone else.

This lack of empathy can make interactions with them challenging and often leaves you feeling unheard and undervalued.

So, how do we handle this? One strategy is to try and communicate how their actions make you feel.

If they care about the relationship, they should be willing to listen and adjust their behavior.

If they continue to disregard your feelings, it may be time to reconsider the role they play in your life.

Your feelings and experiences are just as important and should be respected.

3. They can be incredibly charming

When I think of selfish people, charm isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. But surprisingly, I’ve found that they can often be incredibly charismatic.

They use their charm as a tool to get what they want. They know how to make people feel special and appreciated, but it’s usually with an ulterior motive – a means to an end.

This can make it difficult to recognize their selfish tendencies at first.

Dealing with this tricky trait requires vigilance. Enjoy the charm, but stay aware.

If you notice that the charm only surfaces when they need something or their actions don’t match their sweet words, it might be time to take a step back and reassess the relationship.

4. They rarely show genuine gratitude

In my experience with selfish individuals, I’ve observed a significant lack of genuine gratitude. Sure, they might say ‘thank you’ when it’s expected of them, but you can often tell it’s not heartfelt.

They tend to take things for granted, failing to appreciate the effort or thoughtfulness behind an act of kindness. This can leave you feeling underappreciated and taken advantage of.

So, how should we deal with this? It’s important not to let their lack of appreciation diminish your own kindness or generosity.

Continue being your gracious self. If their lack of gratitude continues to bother you, it may be worth having a conversation about it with them.

Sometimes, people aren’t aware of their shortcomings until they’re pointed out.

5. They are often defensive

Another trait I’ve noticed in selfish people is their tendency to become defensive very quickly.

Any hint of criticism or suggestion that they might be in the wrong can lead to an immediate defensive response, often coupled with blame-shifting.

They’re quick to protect their ego and rarely take responsibility for their actions, which can make resolving conflicts or misunderstandings with them quite challenging.

So how do we handle this? Approaching them in a non-confrontational way can help. Use “I” statements instead of “you” statements to express how you feel.

For example, say “I felt upset when…” rather than “You made me feel…”. This can help prevent them from feeling attacked and hopefully open up a more productive conversation.

6. They have a hard time sharing

Selfish individuals seem to struggle with the basic concept of sharing, something we all learned in kindergarten. Whether it’s material possessions, time, or even emotional support, they often find it difficult to share these with others.

This can be particularly evident in situations where resources are limited. They typically want the biggest piece of the pie and are not concerned about whether everyone else gets a fair share.

So how do we deal with this? It’s important to assert that sharing is a two-way street.

If you find that you’re always the one giving and they’re always the one taking, it may be time to have a conversation about equality and reciprocity in your relationship.

7. They struggle with genuine connections

Deep down, we all long for meaningful, genuine connections with others. However, for selfish individuals, this can prove to be a real struggle.

Their preoccupation with their own needs and desires often creates a barrier that prevents them from forming truly heartfelt connections.

This can lead to loneliness, not just for those around them, but for the selfish individuals themselves.

As humans, we thrive on mutual exchange of care and understanding, and when that’s missing, it can leave a void.

So how do we navigate this? It’s important to remember that selfishness often masks deeper issues.

Try to show understanding and patience. Encourage open communication and express your desire for a deeper connection.

Change takes time, but understanding is the first step towards it.

8. They can be emotionally draining

Let’s face it, being around selfish people can be emotionally draining.

Their constant need for attention and validation, their inability to empathize with others, and their disregard for anyone else’s needs can leave you feeling exhausted and undervalued.

You may find yourself constantly needing to cater to their demands, constantly walking on eggshells to avoid conflict, or constantly feeling like you’re not good enough because your needs and feelings are always secondary.

So how do we cope with this? The first step is to recognize the negative impact they’re having on your emotional well-being.

It’s okay to take a step back, set boundaries, or even distance yourself entirely if necessary. Your mental health should always be a priority.

9. They are resistant to change

Something I’ve often observed in selfish individuals is their resistance to change. They are comfortable in their ways, primarily because their habits and behaviors serve their interests well.

Whether it’s changing their plans, adapting to new circumstances, or altering their behavior to accommodate others, they often resist. This rigidity can stifle growth and create tension in relationships.

So how do we deal with this? Openly communicate your concerns and express the need for flexibility.

If they care about your relationship, they should be willing to make some adjustments.

Remember, though, you can’t force someone to change – they have to want it themselves.

10. They often lack self-awareness

In my experiences with selfish people, I’ve found that they often lack self-awareness.

They fail to see how their actions impact others, or they may even believe they’re acting in a completely reasonable manner.

This lack of insight can make it difficult for them to understand why their behavior might be problematic.

So how do we handle this?

Tactful honesty can be a good approach. Constructive feedback, delivered in a caring and supportive way, can help them realize their behaviors are not as reasonable as they think.

However, remember to guard your own emotional wellbeing during these conversations – it’s important to communicate, but not at the expense of your own peace of mind.

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Picture of Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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