The funny thing about self-absorbed people is they often are not even aware of their disposition. But, they are recognized by their traits.

We go through this world encountering all sorts of people. And we question many parts of their personality, finding some of these traits rather strange.

For instance, self-absorbed people are often mistaken for those with narcissistic disorders, and they aren’t the same thing. That’s right, you know that neighbor you always call a narcissist, yeah, they might just be a little self-absorbed. You must understand the differences between the two.

What divides the narcissist from the self-absorbed person?

It can quite difficult to tell the difference between those who are self-centered and those who suffer from a narcissistic disorder. But mind you, there is a divide.

While there are many similarities, a narcissist doesn’t usually feel much empathy, while a self-absorbed individual still feels bad when they’ve recognized their irritating quirks. The self-absorbed also actually listen a little during conversations, even though they do love to talk about themselves.

And finally, the narcissist is okay with breaking boundaries and rules like cheating or lying, while someone who is absorbed in themselves still keeps a moral compass.

Habits of self-absorbed people

Okay, here we go. Let’s focus on the real traits of this self-focused personality type. Although they are different from the narcissist, they still have a few traits and habits that seem toxic to others. In truth, there truly is a bit of toxicity in the way they act.

First off, however, we should examine the traits without harsh judgment.

1. Entitlement

I must admit, I can be self-absorbed, and this is why I recognize this habit. It’s called entitlement. You see, I did go through many terribly traumatic events in my younger years, and I sometimes feel so entitled because of this.

If you’re self-centered, you will feel this entitlement. Often, you will think about all the things you deserve out of life and how unfair life is for not giving you these things. You might see yourself as a righteous person who has proven your worth in this entitlement.

Watch out! It’s easy to fall into this mindset.

2. Opinionated

Yes, opinions are important, but self-absorbed people consider their opinions more important than others. Do you often catch yourself pressing your beliefs and morals on other people? If so, this could be deeper than just what you “think is right”.

You could be much too deep in yourself, not really taking into consideration what others think about certain subjects. It’s a loud sign when you have such strong opinions that exclude other beliefs.

3. Rule setters

Those who think a little too much about themselves also set some harsh rules for others.

Let’s say you think your friends should contact you a certain amount of time every week and they don’t do this. Well, it’s pretty obvious that you will get angry and try to make hard set rules on spending time together. It’s also obvious that your friends probably will not like this idea.

Self-centered people set many rules, and the funny thing is, they don’t abide by those same standards.

4. Interrupters

Do you know someone who always interrupts you when you’re talking, then starts talking about something revolving around themselves? If so, you know an extremely self-absorbed person.

Let me venture out to ask you this. Are you that person who just cannot sit still until you interrupt your friend’s story just to talk about you? If you do this, yes, you listen to what they have to say, but you are usually working out the details of your own story while they talk.

It’s a nasty little habit, and more people are prone to this than you might think.

5. Favors and help

People who focus almost entirely on themselves will ask for more help than they give. Have you ever noticed how many times you ask to borrow money and never pay it back? Do you ever try to get favors from friends and never say yes when they ask you for help?

Well, if this describes you, selfishness could be your problem. And where there’s selfishness, there is full focus on self.

6. Secretly insecure

It’s sad to see someone who is trying desperately to cover their insecurities. That’s because they usually strive to cover it with an inflated ego. They also display self-centered attributes.

If you’ve been through trauma in the past, I am sure insecurity has plagued you for years. However, trying to cover it with a larger-than-life self-image is just a temporary fix. Eventually, that balloon will deflate and you’ll be plagued with that low self-esteem once more. Are you recognizing the correlation between the two?

Can we stop being self-absorbed people?

The truth is, YES, we can stop being so focused on ourselves. First, we need to just slow down and notice others. Maybe things in the past were bad for us, and we’re just trying double hard to build our self-esteem.

I get that, and I did that too. But, in order to stop being so “about me”, it’s best to focus on helping others, listening better instead of rehearsing what you will say, and especially stop interrupting people when they talk.

Learning to stop these habits and mindsets might not be easy at first, but the benefits will change your life. You will have more friends because people will want to be around again – probably because you’re now a good listener. They will also love you for being so helpful and kind.

So, let’s make it a goal to work on our self-absorbed behavior, and always strive toward betterment.

We got this!



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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Carol

    Thank you for this wonderful article. I did not realize how self absorbed I am. I plan to shut my mouth and only to what people around are saying. I hope I never interrupt another person ever again. Carol

    1. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.


      Don’t be too hard on yourself. We all get excited and accidentally interrupt people. It doesn’t mean we’re always being self-absorbed. You can just work on yourself a little at a time. It’s too much pressure to try and change in drastic ways all at once. You will always be on the road to improvement. That’s the whole idea. We’re all so imperfect.

  2. Earth

    For the past two years, I’ve been trying to do the same things mentioned above. Once in a while, my control slips. It has made me more conscious though. It’s just that my insecurity rises up a notch every time I notice someone side-eyeing me in disgust. I’m working in that too.

    1. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.


      It’s difficult to find a balance in those areas. When you have low self-esteem, you don’t see yourself as the good person that you are. You’re too critical. When you try to have better self-esteem, you are sometimes called self-absorbed. I remember going through that and feeling so frustrated because it was as if I couldn’t do anything right. I tried to like myself and I was self-absorbed, I tried to bring it down a notch and I didn’t appreciate myself as I should. At every corner, I was criticized. Do you know what I learned by all that? You cannot please everyone, so you strive to build and work on yourself regardless of what others think. In your heart, you know which direction you’re going. Sometimes good friends may be able to give you good advice, but the ultimate person you should be concerned with is yourself. This is not to be selfish. It’s meant to say: no other human knows your heart better than you.

  3. John Scott Ridgway

    Thank you for this astute article. I am an artist, who always rather attributed these traits you describe to my commitment to my work. I was very dedicated until I began working with the military as a consultant, propagandist in situations where my words drew blood. This abruptly humbled me, and took me away I think from some of the self-absorption. Loving a patient and caring woman, very empathy filled, has taught me a lot of what a thoughtful person is like, and the benefits. I also did suffer from early trauma, and later PTSD, and chronic pain, which led to a lot self-absorption. I do know people change. I PREFER the truth about myself, because I am very scientific in most of my thinking, and have always had to strive for self improvement, to get sober after being addicted to the drugs they gave me during a year of morphine in a hospital. I did try to do a lot of volunteer work, but it was meant to keep me sober.

    Thank you for the epiphany of a sorts your article incites in me. Take care and be safe..

  4. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

    Thank you for reading, John

    We all become self-absorbed at some point in our lives. I guess some of us grow up this way. After my first divorce, I became self-absorbed and didn’t even know it. I was learning to like myself, enjoying my new life alone, and suddenly someone said, “You’re so self-absorbed”. OH, I was so wounded and angry. I denied it, but I think now, I became accidentally self-absorbed because I was so happy to be free from an abusive relationship. So, it’s like many things, there are thin lines.

    I wish you well, and you be safe as well. We just gotta keep trying, huh

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