18 Habits That Indicate You’re a Selfish Person

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By Jonathan Trent

While it’s important to prioritize your own needs, there’s a delicate balance between respecting yourself and being a selfish person. Many people don’t even realize their behavior is selfish. If you recognize any of the following 18 habits, you might be a selfish person.

You Use Charm or Manipulation to Get What You Want

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Selfish people can often use manipulation and charm to get what they want – they aren’t just stone-faced. Manipulative tactics can include guilt-tripping or gaslighting to take advantage of other people’s vulnerabilities. This is often done to achieve your own desires.

You Lack Empathy

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Psych Central explains that empathy is a “fundamental part” of building social connections. When you lack empathy, you likely focus on yourself. You might find it very difficult to understand how other people are feeling. You’re unwilling to consider another perspective, and you care little about how your actions affect others.

You Always Put Yourself First

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This is selfishness 101. You constantly prioritize your own needs and wants over other people’s. It’s very rare that you make any compromises that might disrupt what you want. Not only that, you expect others to cater to your whims without feeling as though you need to reciprocate.

You Disregard Other People’s Boundaries

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If you’re refusing to respect other people’s boundaries, it shows that you only care about what you personally want. Disregarding any requests for privacy or personal space means you don’t care about what others ask of you. You might also pressure people into doing things they don’t want to do.

You Can Be Generous, But It’s Conditional

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Selfish people can be generous people, too – but only when it suits them. You might be generous with your time, actions, or even with buying gifts if you aim to get something in return. It’s rare you’ll do something nice for another person if it doesn’t serve you in some way.

Lack of Accountability

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If you’re a selfish person, you aren’t going to admit your own mistakes. According to Psychology Today, “refusing to apologize often reflects efforts to protect a fragile sense of self”. Why should you apologize when your actions have led to you getting what you want? 

Dominating Conversations

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Selfish people will always look to steer conversations back around to themselves. They’re likely to interrupt others in order to put themselves back in the spotlight. It’s likely you’re never listening to others, only waiting for your turn to speak.

Lack of Reciprocity in Relationships

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In relationships, whether platonic or romantic, you often take more than you give. This could be emotionally, physically, or with material possessions. Not only that, you’ll likely show little appreciation for the other person’s efforts, even if they’re the only ones keeping the relationship afloat.

Difficulty Accepting Constructive Criticism

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If anyone criticizes you, you’re likely to react defensively or even aggressively. You have your own idea of self-image in your head, and if anybody gives you feedback that doesn’t align with this, then you don’t want it. You refuse to accept that you have any areas for improvement.

Exploiting Others’ Resources

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Your focus might often be on personal gain, which means you’re ready to exploit the possessions or connections of other people to get it. This could include borrowing money without the intention of paying it back. Or only being friends with someone to gain access to a contact they have.

Disregarding Social Norms or Etiquette

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Certain social norms or expected etiquette will require you to act differently or consider others’ feelings. A selfish person is unlikely to change their normal behavior to suit any norms or expectations. This can lead to offending or inconveniencing others, which you’ll likely feel little remorse for.

Frequent Flakiness or Unreliability

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You’re often someone who cancels plans at the last minute, with little regard for how this might impact others. Canceling plans is something you’ll likely do regularly if it suits your whim. You might also often make promises or commitments that you have no intention to keep.

Lack of Support for the Success of Others

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You might often feel jealous about the accomplishments of others – so much so that you rarely support them in the first place. You might take it one step further by undermining their achievements. However, Forbes explains that this resentment can hold you back from your own great potential.

You Have a Tendency to Dominate Group Activities

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Selfish people will have their own preferred way of doing things. This is why it’s likely they dominate group activities by trying to have things done their way. You’ll also likely ignore other people’s suggestions. If the group succeeds, it’s thanks to you. If the group fails, it’s not your fault.

Using Other People

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You view your relationships or interactions solely based on what you can get out of them. Exploiting and using others is a common pastime of selfish people. You only spare the time to interact if it’s a means to an end rather than caring about their wellbeing.

You’ll Put Other People Down to Lift Yourself Up

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Selfish people might only focus on themselves, but they still want validation from others. It’s likely that you’ll find ways to put other people down in order to make yourself look more successful. Online, you might post things that showcase your own success but make others feel bad.

Difficulty Maintaining Long-Term Relationships

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Many selfish people struggle to keep friends or romantic relationships over time. This is because they use people for personal gain and because their selfishness puts a strain on others. According to USA Today, a common result of selfishness is that it creates an “unhealthy one-sided” dynamic.

There’s No Compromise in Decision-Making

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No compromise in decision-making means it’s your way or the highway. You will always insist on things being done how you want, and you refuse to negotiate. It’s common for selfish people to make decisions without even consulting others or asking for their consent.

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