On the surface it may seem like your annoying, self-obsessed roommate is nothing short of a narcissist, but you can't be sure unless you take the time to know her as an individual. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to show her that she cares and is interested in her as a person for her to gain a true sense of self. You might get the results you want -- a slightly more altruistic roommate.
Dealing with an annoying roommate begins with patience. Patience is a way to find emotional freedom through the practice of waiting, watching and knowing when to act, writes Judith Orloff, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA, on the "Psychology Today" website. Practice patience by listening to your roommate for a couple of weeks before saying anything. Some females are inadvertently chattier when they get to know someone new and it may be a normal part of their process when getting accustomed to a roommate. If she continues with the egocentric conversations after a couple of weeks, that's when you'll want to speak up.
Potential Underlying Issues
Your roommate might not be aware of how she affects people around her when she's talking about herself, and perhaps she's thoughtless, not realizing how often she does it. Your roommate could be struggling with her identity or have self-esteem issues and is compensating by talking herself up as a way of coping. In a "Psych Central" article, psychotherapist Richard Zwolinski explains his view that self-centered behaviors often associated with personality disorders aren’t necessarily the result of strong egos. Zwolinski says the self is actually quite weak and the second that person feels threatened, confused, hurtful, unhelpful or self-defeating, coping behaviors arise.
Communication: Getting to Know Her
The best way to get passed the issue of your roommate's self-absorbed talking is to open up the lines of communication and thus, establish a friendship. Once you've done this, you'll feel more comfortable speaking candidly to address the issue in a nonjudgmental manner. Make an effort of truly listening to your roommate and show some interest by asking about her family, friends, likes or dislikes. Then, share some background information about yourself. By sharing information about yourself, you're conditioning your roommate to perceive you as an extension of her "self" and slowly teaching her to incorporate others in conversation.
Each time your roommate starts overdoing the self-centered conversation -- for example, you're sharing a story about your life and she starts talking about herself -- kindly remind her that she interrupted you. For example, you might say, "I know you may not realize it, but you interrupted me. This makes me feel like you don't care about me or what I'm saying." If she continues, let her know how her actions affect you by saying something like, "Please don't interrupt me while I'm talking, you come off a bit rude and inconsiderate when you do that." Change doesn't happen overnight or at all in some cases, but you can control your own feelings and behaviors, so focus on ensuring your own peace and happiness.
- Thinkstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images