Egocentric, Egotistical or Narcissistic: What’s the Difference?

egocentric narcissistic

Everyone is a little egocentric. Experts say that being a little egocentric is healthy. Well-adjusted human beings learn to manage it when they become adults.

Consequently, some people show more self-centeredness than others. You may have a friend who’s more self-interested than most. How would you know if he or she is just that or has crossed the line to become a narcissist? Before getting answers to this question, you’d first have to understand the difference between egoism, egocentrism, and narcissism.

What is Egotistical Behavior?

A good start to unveiling the differences between the three characteristics is to have a closer look at each. The first of them is egotism.

Defining features of egotistical behavior are a tendency to talk about oneself all the time and a lack of humility. It also shows itself in other ways.

1. Winning an argument

First of all, it means wanting to win in a debate all the time. Egotists seldom acknowledge their mistakes or defer to another person. They’ll become cranky when someone proves that they’re more knowledgeable than they are.

2. Caring too much about others’ opinions

Having concern for the feelings and thoughts of others is always a good thing. That said, egotists give worrying about them a negative spin. They fret about others not seeing them in a positive light all the time. Being first on everyone’s’ minds is a top priority

3. Reliving the past

Another behavioral trait of egotists is to relive the past. They love to hang on to their moments of glory. If they succeeded in a talent show or got promoted, you’ll hear about it over and over.

4. Feeling offended by criticism

Also, criticism tends to hurt egotists quickly. They believe that they are superior to others, so it’s never wise to challenge that idea when speaking to one.

6. Feeling possessive

And then, egotists are jealous of their possessions. They dislike people touching their belongings. Egotists would dislike others talking too much to their significant others.

5. Feeling separate from everyone else

Because of their superiority complexes, people who are egoistic sometimes feel like something sets them apart from everyone else.

Narcissism: Egotistical and More

So you’ve discovered that your friend is unusually egocentric. With jargon flooding our vocabulary, how would you know if he or she is narcissistic, or just egotistical? People often use the two words interchangeably. Perhaps understanding the traits of a narcissist will help you spot the difference between the two types of behaviors.

It’s also good to note that diagnosing a narcissist is difficult because the line between these characteristics is blurry. Researchers conducted a survey by asking ‘To what extent would you agree with the question, ‘I am a narcissist?‘ The study showed that people fell along a spectrum of narcissism, but it couldn’t qualify as a diagnostic tool.

First of all, narcissists fantasize and have a sense of grandeur. They obsess over their brilliance, power, or their images. And they don’t have anything to gloat about most of the time. Conversely, egotists may not have these fantasies, though they are self-important.

Egotists feel superior. Narcissists take it a step further and are preoccupied with themselves. While egotists want people to admire them, narcissists have an excessive need for others to praise them. They shower themselves with affection and expect others to do the same.

Furthermore, narcissists love to show off. Egotists don’t necessarily like to do the same. They may have a sense of shame, unlike narcissists. While some egotists prefer low-key behavior, narcissists must have everyone know about themselves and their good qualities.

While narcissists take advantage of others, egotists may not. A person with a big ego may think that he or she is a cut above the rest but may not necessarily step on toes because of misconceived superiority.

When is a person egocentric?

What then, is egocentric? Everyone is self-centered at times. It refers to a limited worldview, with a person focusing only on his needs. An egocentric person may become obsessed with them.

Egocentric people often show a lack of empathy for others. They cannot see things from a different point of view than their own.

Another feature of this behavior the ‘imaginary audience.’ Egocentric people often imagine how friends would react to them. A classic example is musically minded teens with a fascination for rock stars. They often see themselves playing guitar in front of a large crowd.

Also, egocentric people tend to prejudge what people are thinking and are often wrong. They’ll go to a restaurant assuming that it’s the right place to meet because you always go there. You’ll need to make meeting times and places clear when you make arrangements with them. Being egocentric can cause people to make awkward social errors.

How does this differ from egotism and narcissism? Egocentric people don’t necessarily have inflated egos. Though they focus on their needs and actions, they may not manipulate others, or have grand visions of themselves. They may stay put in their world but aren’t always arrogant.

What’s the difference between egotism, egocentric behavior, and narcissism?

So, what’s the difference between narcissism, egocentric behavior, and egotism?

Being egotistical means having an idea that one is better than everyone else. An egotist may not resort to manipulation or fantasize. They may not have grand visions.

Narcissists go a step further and fantasize about being in positions of grandeur or authority. Also, a narcissist may resort to psychological tricks to get what he or she wants. All narcissists are egotists, while not all egotists are narcissists.

Being egocentric is concentrating on self-fulfilling behavior. An egocentric person may not necessarily have a massive ego. He or she may not have grand visions either, though he or she is rather self-centered.

In all, egocentric, egotistical and narcissistic behaviors are similar. A person may display the ‘self’ (ego) to different degrees.

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Michelle L.

Michelle L.

Michelle is a freelance writer who loves all things about life. She has a broad range of interests that include literature, history, philosophy, human relationships, and psychology. When she is not busy writing her heart out, you will find her tinkering jazz tunes on her piano. She loves anything that helps her to grow as a person, including her pet terriers, Misty and Cloudy.





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Egocentric, Egotistical or Narcissistic: What's the Difference?