Dealing with Self-Centered Individuals: Effective Strategies

Dealing with Self-Centered Individuals: Effective Strategies


Life is a journey where we encounter a variety of individuals: kind, intelligent, crafty, and carefree. Among them, the most challenging are the self-centred ones.

These individuals are excessively focused on themselves, often standing out in a crowd as they boast about their accomplishments. Dealing with them can be quite difficult.

So, how should we handle such individuals? Should we avoid them or run away? Before answering that, let's explore why some people become so self-absorbed, disregarding everything else as insignificant.

What causes a person to be self-centered?

The roots of self-centeredness are often planted early in life, typically driven by feelings of pain and loneliness. When children experience social rejection or emotional neglect without learning how to cope, they may erect emotional walls and withdraw from others. While this behaviour may be perceived as arrogance and selfishness, it is often a coping mechanism developed in response to lifelong feelings of rejection and isolation.

Such individuals may believe that because they cannot rely on others, they must prioritize their own needs above all else. This mindset can lead to a cycle of self-absorption, potentially resulting in addiction and further isolation. However, there are various approaches to dealing with these individuals, including the possibility of confronting them about their self-centered behaviour in a way that encourages change.

1. Establish boundaries:

Egocentric individuals often fail to appreciate others and believe it's acceptable to mistreat them without facing repercussions. When such individuals attempt to assert dominance and coerce you into tasks or favours that you cannot or will not do, it's important to assert yourself.

  • In the early stages of a relationship, communicate that you will not be pressured into activities solely based on their preferences. Shared activities should be a mutual decision.

  • Establish boundaries by indicating that you will not always be available at their convenience. You have your own life, family, and friends, and your time is just as valuable as theirs.

2. Starve them of attention:

A self-centered individual often seeks attention above all else. Therefore, by withholding attention, you can regain control of the relationship.

  • When they confide in you about their problems, respond with a nonchalant "That's life, Move on," rather than giving them undue attention.

  • Gradually reduce the amount of attention you give them, and over time, they will likely realize and begin to withdraw on their own.

3. No more favors:

Self-centered individuals consistently rely on others for help but rarely offer assistance in return. It's crucial not to allow them to take advantage of you. Begin to assert yourself by refusing to constantly do favours for them. They need to recognize that your time is valuable and that reciprocity is essential in a healthy relationship.

4. Find better friends:

The world is expansive, and filled with diverse individuals. Instead of dwelling on the pain and anger caused by a selfish friend, use this as motivation to expand your social circle with more positive, caring, and supportive people.

  • Consider joining hobby groups, treks, or travel groups to meet individuals who share your interests.

  • Increase interactions with friends of friends you meet at mutual events to broaden your social network.

5. Switch the topic:

If your self-centered friend has been monopolizing the conversation with their problems, consider changing the topic.

Share details about your day or discuss your challenges, encouraging them to listen. If your friend remains fixated on their issues, you may need to be more assertive.

By redirecting the conversation, you not only provide yourself with relief from their constant complaints but also allow them to offer you support in return.

6. Identifying the problem:

Selfishness is often not an innate trait but can develop due to past experiences such as childhood trauma or negative interactions with other self-centered individuals.

  • Encourage them to discuss any significant incidents or experiences from their past.

  • Offer support by suggesting solutions or encouraging them to seek therapy. Counsellors can assist them in processing and coping with these past experiences.

7. Distance yourself from them:

Dealing with self-centered individuals can quickly become draining, as they often take advantage of your kindness without reciprocating. Such relationships tend to be one-sided, so it may be best to distance yourself from these people.

  • By creating some distance, these individuals may begin to reflect on the dynamics of their relationships, prompting them to reassess their behaviour.

  • Taking time away from them can also benefit you, allowing you to pursue your interests and activities without being burdened by their demands or issues.

8. End the relationship:

While it may seem drastic, if all other efforts fail, there may be little else to be done. Remaining in a relationship with selfish individuals can begin to take a toll on our mental health. Therefore, it is important to prioritize your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. If necessary, it may be best to end the friendship and part ways to preserve your health.

9. Don't fall to their level:

Dealing with the constant mind games of selfish individuals can be incredibly frustrating. It's important to recognize these situations and refrain from reacting impulsively. Don't allow them to provoke you. Remind yourself that you are a loving and kind person; it's their behaviour that is triggering your negative reactions and occasional loss of temper.

10. Increase the dose of self-love:

Investing excessive time in a relationship with a selfish friend can be draining. Instead, focus on self-care and activities that rejuvenate you, as your friend may not reciprocate your support when you need it.

  • Treat yourself to a spa day or a visit to the hairdresser for a makeover. This self-indulgence can uplift your spirits and enhance your self-confidence.

  • Fill your schedule with activities you genuinely enjoy. This allows you to honestly inform your selfish friend that your day is full, helping you create boundaries and potentially reduce time spent with them.

11. Let go:

Gradually start to disregard their behaviour and complaints. Act as though you're not paying attention and focus more on your own life. Minimize your interactions with them and decrease the frequency of your meetings. Over time, the relationship will naturally diminish.

12. Stand up for yourself:

When you sense any abusive behaviour arising, be prepared to assert yourself firmly. Selfish individuals often say or do things that harm others without realizing the impact of their actions. In such situations, it is essential to stand up for yourself. If necessary, remove yourself from the situation.

13. Don't feed their ego:

Limit the amount of praise you give them to genuine instances. When they say something incorrect or spread rumours, intervene and address their behaviour. Have a conversation with them about why such actions are harmful, and make it clear that you will not participate in such behavior.

14. Learn from experience:

Having encountered a self-centered individual, take this as a learning experience. Learn how to effectively manage or steer clear of such individuals in the future. Be vigilant for signs of self-obsession when meeting new people, ensuring you don't repeat the same pattern.

15. Call their behavior out:

When you sense that they are becoming excessive with their conversations and problems, gently bring them back. Explain to them how their behaviour impacts others, and ask them to refrain from going overboard.


Dealing with self-obsessed individuals can be challenging, but it's crucial not to let yourself be treated as a doormat. Stand firm, address their negative behavior, and offer support if they need help working through past traumas. If your efforts are ineffective, don't hesitate to walk away without feeling guilty.

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