Life Challenge: How To Deal With People Who Talk Only About Themselves

Life Challenge: How To Deal With People Who Talk Only About Themselves

Do you feel like someone forgets about your existence while talking with you? Do you feel that your kindness and empathy are abused? Do you feel like a pillow to cry? You can remedy it with a few checked techniques! Check them out!

Some people seem to know nothing about you since they talk mostly about themselves. They don’t ask how are you doing. And if occasionally they do, they rather don’t wait for the answer. It’s a rhetorical question. By courtesy. Even if they let you talk, they quickly interrupt you. It’s hard to call it a conversation since it revolves only around them. It’s a form of a monologue they’re having with or without you. This is their default operational mode.

They seem to be totally uninterested in you, but they still keep in touch with you. You feel that this friendship is always about them and for them. You feel like you play an insignificant role as someone who’s there just for the background. Sometimes, you wonder whether it’s part of a game or they really see nobody, but them.

What’s the reason people talk only about themselves?

Usually, there are three reasons:

1. It stems from low self-esteem which triggers a need to emphasize their own value. A need for exclusive attention. A need to validate their feelings. It originates from subconscious insecurity. A fear that they may disappear in case they don’t stress out sufficiently their presence.

2. Some people feel the urge to share their sufferings with the whole world. But don’t be confused. They don’t want your help or your advice either. Their only purpose is to be listened up. Their only purpose is to feel temporary relief. They need an ear. Your compassion serves them as a vent to clear out negative emotions. They feel like their problems are more important than the rest. That’s why they don’t bother to ask about your feelings.

3. Other people seek the acknowledgment for every single achievement or adventure they’ve been involved in. They need a group of fans to be constantly applauded. They don’t consider the talk as a give-and-take relation. They see themselves as the primary object everything should relate to. They like to show off. They like to stand in the first line.

When you realize how much it affects your wellbeing, you might want to separate yourself from such a person. Unfortunately, sometimes, walking away or ending the relationship is not an option. Then, try to apply one or more of the below techniques.

Avoid nodding

If someone overuses your willingness to help and permanently dominates the conversation without including you, change the approach. Stop nodding. Stop sharing your advice. Stop trying to fix problems. Stop offering solutions. They rarely seem suitable for your interlocutor. They encourage your interlocutor to convince you why they won’t work. You may expect that every attempt to help will be discarded by Yes, but…

Remember that you need neither to rationalize nor justify someone’s way of being. You don’t need to overanalyze someone’s life. You don’t need to sacrifice yourself for the sake of being perceived as a good buddy. Think about your time and mental energy. Do you really want to become dependent emotionally on someone’s issues? Do you really want it to emotionally drag you down?

Avoid disagreeing

When dealing with overtalkative people, no reaction is the best reaction. Disagreeing might produce an additional overload of information. Proving a point often becomes a matter of honor for people who are entirely concentrated on themselves. In such a case, you can forget that your arguments will be heard.

Remember that you’re never required to listen to something that’s of no use for you. Disengage from any monologue that is irrelevant from your perspective. Put your mind to something else. Get yourself busy with another activity. It’ll let the person know that continuing the disquisition is pointless.

Choose topics of common interest

The more you refer to someone’s personal experience, the more you’re guaranteed to remain a passive listener. Drive the talk to the topics where you can be an active partner of the discussion. Where you have a lot to say. It’ll balance the scale of your interactions. It’ll give you more control over the discussion. You can try as follows:

  • Can we change the topic?
  • Can we talk about…?
  • Can I tell you about…?

Ask targeted questions

Asking open-ended general questions is a no go. They encourage the person to talk more and more, but not necessarily about you. Ask targeted questions which relate to you:

  • Do you think that I should do it?
  • Would you do it if you were in my shoes?
  • Am I right believing that…?

This way, you reorient the conversation to the point where your interlocutor is confronted with a necessity to acknowledge your presence.

Be straight forward

In extreme cases, you’re obliged to face reality and bring matters to a head. However, saying “You’re interested only in yourself” or “You talk only about yourself” might be perceived as desperation or paradoxically as egocentrism. Play it smart. Try to use inoffensive statements like:

  • I feel like I have no room to fully express my thoughts
  • I don’t feel like my life interests you
  • I’d like you to give me a chance to participate more in our conversations.

How do you deal with people who talk only about themselves?

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2 thoughts on “Life Challenge: How To Deal With People Who Talk Only About Themselves”

  • I was curious to read your reasons for why people talk about themselves so much. I have to agree that my experience proves similar to yours. While there are people who need to vent now and then, others fall under the first and third reason. I find that 1 and 3 often go hand in hand.

    You’re “no reaction” tip is golden. At times, I enjoy when people talk about themselves because that means that I don’t have to talk about myself. If whatever they’re saying is repetitive and not interesting, I might drift away, which gives me some time to “breathe.” Sometimes whatever they’re saying can serve as a solid base for a new story, which I like.

    There’s this one person I met a year or so ago who seemed… intelligent and helpful. Unfortunately, when I tried to engage in a conversation, they turned to be… the type of person who thinks they know best and refuse to listen to others. And it’s not that I necessarily disagreed, but I wanted to contribute to the conversation. When I consistently hear: “No, no, no,” then… yep, I switch off. No matter how smart you are, I want to converse with you. Otherwise, I can go home and watch a smart video/ read an article.

    When people come to me for advice, no matter how knowledgeable I am on the subject, I want to listen to what they have to say. I want to incorporate their thoughts and experiences into what I’m saying.

    • This is also my observation that people push for being heard when they don’t feel heard at all. Also, the more they lack self-appreciation, the more they look for it in other people. I realized that I stopped talking mostly about myself and I started to get curious more about people when I got into valuing myself. So a feeling of insecurity is surely an important key factor in this process.

      As far as “no reaction” is concerned, it helped me numerous times to escape pointless discussions where the person clearly was not interested in any other point of view.

      When I meet people like the one you mentioned, I wonder: “If you’re so sure being right in this matter, why do you try to prove it in my eyes? Why do you bother?”. It’s like people try to convince themselves, not me. In such a case, I’d also prefer to go home and watch a smart video instead of wasting my time.

      Do people often come to you to ask for your advice?

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