How to Handle Annoying Behaviors of Self-Centered People
The Annoyance and Charm of the Self-Centered Personality
Encounters with Self-Centered People
Where do you encounter the most annoying behaviors of self-centered people?
How to Identify the Self-Absorbed People Who Annoy You
Self-centered people are easy to identify but difficult to handle. They love to talk, mainly about themselves, and they can be quite dismissive about the point of view of others.
Absorbed by their grandiosity, they look down on others with an air of superiority that is frequently displayed with a "holier than thou" attitude.
This type of person is also defined by others as being incredibly annoying. We have all dealt with them in our personal relationships, brief acquaintances, in the work place, and on the streets.
Below are some of the most annoying behaviors of self-centered, self-absorbed people. You may have encountered some or all of these behaviors.
Annoying Behaviors of Self-Centered People
- Driving as if they own the road, refusing to wait, yield, slow down, merge, or use signals
- Recklessly driving at high rates of speed without concern for the safety of others
- Engaging in road rage
- Leaning on a car horn when traffic cannot move
- Loudly threatening to call for a manager when things don't go their way
- Making trivial complaints about everything
- Turning any conversation into a story about what happened to them, regardless of the topic at hand
- Loudly verbalizing irritation while waiting in line
- Throwing a physical or emotional tantrum or verbal rant
- Minimizing or ignoring the emotions of others
- Arriving late and making an entrance that says, "I'm here!"
- Unapologetic about being wrong or hurtful
- Dominating group conversation with interruptions or interjections
- Argumentative and arrogant with a need to be right
- Overly critical of others
Most people are far too much occupied with themselves to be malicious.— Freidrich Nietzsche, "Human, All Too Human"
What is Self-Centeredness?
- The New American Webster Dictionary (1995) defines self-centeredness as "absorbed in oneself."
- Roget's Thesaurus (1985) lists self-centered as synonymous with the words, "egotistic" and "selfish."
- The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary (1986) defines self-centered as "independent of outside force or influence; self-sufficient" and "concerned solely with one's own desires, needs, or interests; selfish."
Note that all of these definitions seem to include the common element of "self standing alone," as if they all revolve around the individual, in his or her own world.
Self-Centered Attitudes are Difficult to Handle
Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts, as our problems and preoccupations loom larger. But when we focus on others, our world expands.— Daniel Goleman, "Source Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships"
Self-Centered Personality Begins with Parenting
Self-Centeredness and its Roots in Narcissism
What makes self-centered behaviors so annoying to others is that they indicate a total disregard for the other person's opinion, value, or existence.
It appears that it's uncomfortable for self-centered people to be attentive for more than five minutes before they draw attention back to themselves to make their point which they believe to be correct.
These behaviors may have their roots in certain behavioral or personality traits that influence how the self-centered person approaches his/her environment and interacts with others.
These traits loosely fall under the definition for Narcissistic Personality which may involve a cluster of traits or a clinical diagnosis of a personality disorder. This can produce behaviors that affect the individual's ability to have healthy social interactions and close personal relationships.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is said to possibly be a result of overly indulgent parenting styles. They include but are not limited to the following list of traits and characteristics:
- Excessive self-love
- Need for admiration and/or fame
- Lack of empathy or concern for others
- Unrealistic sense of entitlement
- Vanity and preoccupation with appearance
- Self-assured cockiness
Unfortunately, it is difficult to contend with a self-centered person whose behavior is most likely related to imbedded traits of their personality that may not easily change.
It is well-known in the field of psychology that most personality disorders are not easy to treat.
Therefore, we are left to maneuver around or tolerate the annoying behaviors of those with whom we interact in our personal lives, work settings, or in public.
But there has to be some way to successfully handle the annoying behaviors that accompany these traits. Below are some suggested approaches to handling some situations:
How to Handle Those Annoying Behaviors
- Ignore It - Remember, self-centered people thrive on attention. Let the road rager rage on, don't make eye-contact, focus on your own safe and defensive driving techniques, and keep your eyes on the road.
- Deflect It - After giving the self-centered person sufficient time to go on and on, change the subject by asking a direct question that has nothing to do with them.
- Validate It - Stroke the self-centered person's ego by validating his/her point of view; then offer your own. Remember, they just want to be acknowledged for being right.
- Let It Go - It's not worth the stress to go back and forth with someone who is driven by his ego. Pick your battles, state your case, stand up for yourself, and let it go.
- Avoid It - If possible, steer clear of annoying people and refrain from engagement. Put your time and energy into more positive people where you are more likely to have a productive experience.
Self-Absorbed in her Mirror
A Message to Self-Centered Absorbed People
I'm sure that some of you reading this are saying to yourselves, "Hmmm, sounds a bit like me - whatever!" Well, forgive me if I've touched a nerve by bringing attention to certain behaviors that people encounter frequently in their daily lives.
This article is not meant to insult you, label you, or imply that you're not a decent person, any more than the images of the people featured imply that they are definitively self-centered. We all deserve the same love and respect, regardless of our irritating behaviors.
But you must admit that you can be annoying at times and not easy to deal with. To some extent, aren't we all?
Hopefully, this article will spark introspection that leads to conversations about how all of us can take a closer look at how our behaviors affect the people closest to us, prompting us to make decisions to change for the better.
© 2013 Janis Leslie Evans