How to Communicate With the Self-Absorbed

Understand why a self-absorbed person is the way he is so you know how to communicate with him.
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A self-absorbed person can talk for hours about himself, making you feel like you are of lesser importance. It can be hard to stay interested, keep patient or even get your point across. There are a few things to keep in mind when communicating with someone who is like this.

1 Be Patient and Compassionate

As frustrating as it can be to talk to someone who is full of himself, try to be as patient as possible. If you have to interact with someone who is self-absorbed, it is important to understand what may have led them to become that way. In "How to Deal With Self-Centered People" on the Huffington Post, Roya R. Rad, who has a doctorate in clinical psychology, suggests being compassionate toward self-absorbed friends, because they are most likely insecure and use their self-centeredness to ensure they don't get hurt. Understanding why they are like this may help you resist rolling your eyes while they center the conversation around themselves.

2 Voice Your Needs

A self-absorbed friend may be so caught up in herself that she forgets to care about you. She might just need a little reminder that the world does not revolve around her. In counselor Kathy Radina's blog post "Is the Self-Centered Person in Your Life Driving You Nuts?" she encourages voicing your needs. Give the person a chance to change by letting her know that you need her to be selfless for a while. When doing this, do not make it seem as if you are attacking her. Focus on your own needs. Instead of saying, "You never listen to me; you always make everything about you," try saying, "I really need to talk about something. I would like for someone to listen to me; would you be able to do that?"

3 Stand Up For Yourself

While it is important to be tolerant and give self-absorbed people chances, it is also important not to enable their selfishness -- especially if it ends up hurting you. A self-absorbed person convinces himself and others that he is superior, Rad says. When the self-absorbed person asks you for excessive favors, or treats you as if you are not important, don't let him walk all over you. Assert yourself and make your boundaries clear. You might find that he may not bother listening to you because he has built up a wall of protection in the form of arrogance, Rad says. In this case, it is best to keep any defense arguments short.

4 Don't Feed Their Ego

Self-centered people may enjoy flattery, but don't give in to their need for attention. If you sense that she is digging for a compliment, don't give her one if you do not genuinely mean it. Self-centered people use their charm to get friends who will fuel their egos, according to Rad. Don't let yourself be used in this way.

5 Beyond Self-Absorbed

If the person you are dealing with does not seem to be able to change, she may be more than just self-centered -- she may be a narcissist. Narcissists are not only self-absorbed, they purposely use people and lack feelings of sympathy. In this case, it is almost impossible for them to change and it may be harder to communicate with them than the average selfish person. Radina suggests getting expert advice or help when dealing with a narcissist.

Sarah Casimong is a Vancouver-based writer with a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She writes articles on relationships, entertainment and health. Her work can be found in the "Vancouver Observer", "Her Campus" and "Cave Magazine".