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10 Great Ways to Deal with Selfish People

10 Great Ways to Deal with Selfish People

Everyone is selfish to a certain extent. While normal levels of self-love, self-value and self-confidence are important for people to function well, there is a line between these characteristics and being a little too self-absorbed, arrogant or just plain narcissistic.

For example, some people are always trying to make others believe that their own world is the better one, while others will always cut you short and try to air their grievances when you wish to air yours. Yet others can talk for hours about themselves, making you feel like you are of lesser importance.

These selfish people love the idea of all for one—only when that one is them. They will dislike and devalue you if you don’t buy into their misplaced “superiority.”

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If you’ve met someone very selfish or perhaps have a friend or partner who’s selfish, here are some concrete ways you can deal with them.

1. Accept that they have no regard for others.

The first piece of advice for dealing with selfish people is to be real with yourself. Accept that the self-centered person might never consider your needs first. As much as this friend or lover means to you, know that they have no regard for others’ feelings or welfare. They can have moments of generosity and charm, but for the most part, they simply lack the skill or willingness to be thoughtful and considerate. This knowledge will give you a clear understanding of where you stand in the relationship.

2. Give yourself the attention you deserve.

Selfish people are emotional pirates. They crave for your attention, but don’t give you any. To avoid being wrung dry of emotions, give yourself the attention you’ve been giving the emotional pirate. For example, if there is any discomfort in your physical appearance, head to the barber or boutique and improve it. This is called meeting your own needs, and it’s a great way to boost your ego and pirate-proof your life. Ignoring your needs to pour attention and energy into a self-absorbed person isn’t virtuous. It only sets you up for being emotionally drained and hurt.

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3. Stay true to yourself—don’t stoop to their level.

Selfish people can push your buttons and make you feel like pulling out their hair—don’t do it. Don’t play into their game or engage in behavior that is beneath you. Just be true to yourself. It’s difficult to be kind to a self-centered person who is brutish or unkind to you, but becoming like them doesn’t help things. Alleviate any feeling of anger you may have towards them by focusing on the person you are and resolving to continue being that considerate and loving person that you know you are.

4. Remind them that the world does not revolve around them.

A self-absorbed person may be so caught up in herself that she forgets to consider your thoughts or feelings. She might just need a little reminder that the world does not revolve around her. Speak up and tell her as much without coming across as if you are attacking her. For example, instead of throwing a tantrum and screaming, “You never listen to me; you always make everything about you,” try saying,”I really need to talk to someone about something bothering me. Would you be willing to listen to me?”

5. Starve them of the attention they crave.

This is a powerful strategy to deal with extremely selfish people who refuse to regard others. The trick is to be civil but never offer the attention the self-absorbed person craves. It works by limiting your words to bland, noncommittal comments with them. For example, instead of saying, “You poor thing, he did that to you?” say, “Yeah, that’s life.” It will baffle and throw them off balance for a while. Remember, attention is your treasure. If you don’t give it to them, they will most likely scamper away.

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6. Bring up topics that interest you.

Whatever interests you—carpentry, cooking, politics, you name it—bring it up in conversations with a self-absorbed person instead of pouring all your attention onto the topics he brings up. For example, if he says, “You won’t believe what my girlfriend said to me!” reply with something like, “Hey, do you know how much Bill Cosby is worth?” The more random the topic you bring up and the more unrelated to the selfish person’s topic, the better. Keep focusing on your real interests no matter what, and watch him try to escape from you when he realizes you’re not interested in his self-centered stories.

7. Stop doing favors for them.

Selfish people always ask for favors, but they squirm out of helping you when you need their help. That’s just how they operate. While it is important to be tolerant and give a selfish friend or partner a chance to change, it is also important not to enable their selfishness—especially if it ends up hurting you. So, when a selfish person asks you for too many favors don’t give in and let her walk all over you. Assert yourself and make it clear that you don’t appreciate being made to feel as if you are not important or as if you are of a lower status. If you get into a position where you have to defend your stand, make it short and to the point since selfish people are not the best listeners and may not even listen to you anyway.

8. Limit the time you spend together.

Once you realize that someone is too selfish and self-absorbed, it is high time you stayed away from them. Limit your time together as much as possible. If you used to have coffee dates every evening, space the dates farther and farther apart, and stop calling and replying to all their messages. You may be met with a myriad of reactions from disinterest to tantrums and anger, but hold firm. Your time is better off spent alone than with overwhelmingly selfish people.

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9. Actively seek better friends.

Recall the pain, agony, hurt and exhaustion of giving intense emotional energy to selfish, inconsiderate people and decide no more. Refuse to allow yourself to get attached to such friends. Instead, seek new friends who pay as much attention to you as you do to them. You can make new friends by going out more and interacting with new people at social events, religious places of worship and volunteer centers. Once you have new, better friendsyou can entertain yourselves with tales of the selfish person who pillaged your energy and plundered your emotions for a while—or not.

10. End the relationship.

If the selfish person you are dealing with does not seem capable of changing, he may be more than just self-centered and selfish—he may be a narcissist. Narcissists are not only selfish and self-absorbed, but also lack feelings of sympathy and purposely use others. They are harder to deal with than the average selfish person. In this case, you can try asking them to get professional help, but if that doesn’t work cut all links with them and end the relationship outright. Life is too short to be bogged down by selfish people and tied down in toxic relationships that suck the energy and happiness out of you.

Featured photo credit: Ed Yourdon via flickr.com

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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