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Selfish Friends: 6 Ways to Spot Them Before You Get Hurt

Selfish Friends: 6 Ways to Spot Them Before You Get Hurt

If you like self-torture, then find and keep selfish friends around you. In fact, if you love wasting a ton of time, if you’re looking for the biggest source of social demotivation and remorse, then stick with selfish friends. Having them is like pouring love and emotional investment in a black hole and expecting it to love you back.

If you want to live a great social life, then stay away from these folks. The hardest thing about them is that they know how to hide themselves in nice and interesting personalities. This article is about to show you how to spot them before you invest yourself in friendships that will hurt and disappoint you. Here are the six signs you’re dealing with a take-all selfish friend…

Sign #1 – They Think They Deserve Special Treatment

The selfish friend, the one you don’t wanna get involved with, thinks he or she is special. They think that they deserve to be treated in a special way, and will ask for favors, big and small, even if you’re just starting to get to know them.

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Sign #2 – For Him, You’re A Detail

After you do him a favor, the selfish friend barely says thank you, and if he does, it doesn’t sound sincere. Try and ask him for a favor, though, and see him brush it off and never follow through with it. He or she can give you an evasive answer like “ok, I’ll call you later about this”, but it never happens. Sometimes, they just act like you never asked for anything.

Sign #3 – Shady Plans

The selfish person can cancel a meeting with you at the last minute, giving you fake excuses, and rarely saying “I’m sorry”, because he thinks he’s too special to apologies  When you suggest that you meet with him, he carefully thinks of all the other choices he has, and if he has nothing “better” to do, he’ll meet you. He usually calls when he’s bored and has no other plans.

The selfish person decides where he wants to go, then finds people to go with him. That’s fine, but, he’ll suggest it to many people, and it seems that it doesn’t matter to him who goes with him. In other words, he hangs out with you to avoid being alone, not because he likes you.

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Sign #4 – You Never Meet His Friends

The selfish person talks about his other friends but never introduces you to any of them and always comes alone. He gives you the impression of knowing lots of people, but when you listen to the stories he tells, you find out that it’s all superficial. He’s always hanging out with people he barely knows, and you rarely find him with close buddies, but you always hear him talk about the relationships he has with powerful people, it never ends.

If you want to laugh, ask him if he could introduce you to so and so: He’ll give you the stupidest excuses why that can’t happen “now”, but maybe a “little bit later.” It actually never happens, but it’s funny to see him try to evade your request.

Sign #5 – To Him, You’re Boring

He never takes the time to understand what’s special or interesting about you. To him, conversation is just a means of gaining more power. He sure looks like he’s listening, but in reality, he’s just waiting for you to shut up so he can take control of the conversation, again. For example, when you say stuff like “Oh! Hey, you know what I just read in USA Today,… etc,” he says stuff like “Yea, of course!”, or “I know that but, here’s what’s really interesting…” With sentences like that, he just downplays anything you say as banal, and common knowledge.

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This will even happen if you talk about a brand new science discovery. If you want to test them, tell them about a new scientific study, and give him the results in reverse. If he says “I know…”, then you’re dealing with a sucker.

Sign #6 – He Covers His “Black Hole” Personality

The selfish person knows that if he acts like himself right away, he would never make friends. Instead, he starts by acting like a very polite cordial person. At first, he’s interested in getting to know you, and listens carefully to you. Then, he gradually starts to withdraw, and only shows up when he needs something.

He usually brings lots of conversation to the table, and always has something to say. He does that to imply an open minded, interesting, and interested personality, but you can sense that he’s not really interested in any of those subjects; he just uses them as a cover for an empty take-everything-I-can personality. It’s like a black hole—you can’t expect to get love from a person who can only take.

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BONUS-TIP – The Most Dangerous Trick In His Bag

The most dangerous trick in the selfish person’s bag is the confusion he tries to create in your mind. He tries to get you to doubt your value as a friend. He wants you to think you’re not cool enough, and need to try harder. This is a pseudo-rejection that the selfish person gives you in small doses.

My advice to you is to never fall for this. As you start to detect the selfish signs, move on, and find a giving person; someone who is willing to invest some of their time to make new friends. Cut the suckers out—they do more harm than good.

Meet The Right Friends For You

If you want to learn how to meet great people, make conversation, and build friendships with them, I recommend you get on my Free Social Skills Newsletter.

In it, I’ll show you the best techniques and strategies for meeting and making friends. I’ll also share with you new tips for having amazing conversations, that instantly make people want to get to know you.

See you there.
– Paul Sanders

More by this author

Paul Sanders

A communication expert who tries to help people improve their social skills and make friends anywhere.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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