How to Not Be Self-Centered in a Relationship

Fixating on yourself isn't healthy for your relationship.
... Hemera Technologies/ Images

Well-adjusted individuals with healthy egos usually enjoy positive relationships. But low self-esteem or too much self-confidence can lead to being self-centered and selfish -- not desirable personality traits in a partner. The best relationships happen when both partners show they care about each other as much as they do about themselves. They are able to to preserve their own well-being without becoming self-centered and ignoring the needs of others.

1 Increasing Awareness

If you suspect you might be self-centered, it's time for some serious self-examination. Make a conscious effort to log how much time you spend thinking about yourself. When engaged in conversation, note how much time you spend talking about yourself rather than listening to others. Invite objective feedback from your partner and your other friends to discover whether they feel you are self-centered.

2 Acknowledging the Problem

Let your partner know you're aware you've been self-absorbed and that you want to change. Ask for help. If you've made yourself the center of every conversation, acknowledge how unpleasant this has been for your partner and vow to correct the way you interact with others. Expressing a sincere desire for change can help you accomplish it. Deepak Chopra, M.D., in his article, "The Secret to Personal Change," explains how increasing your awareness in the midst of change can help you accomplish your goal.

3 Learning to Listen

Self-centered people tend to turn all topics of conversation toward themselves. For example, if a friend expresses frustration about her boss, the self-centered individual is likely to launch into details about his own difficulties at work. To avoid doing this, make a game of practicing active listening. Reflect back to your partner what was just said. Ask questions that show you paid attention. Make sure you're saying "you" more often than "I."

4 Enhancing Your Empathy

Learn more about the preferences of others so you can relate better to them. Read up on subjects that your partner cares about. According to psychologist Roya Rand, self-centered people don't tolerate points of view different from their own, so make an extra effort to explore alternate opinions and understand the reasoning behind them. The more you know about the interests of others, the better equipped you'll be to understand what they're talking about and to appreciate their views.

Freddie Silver started writing newsletters for the Toronto District School Board in 1997. Her areas of expertise include staff management and professional development. She holds a master's degree in psychology from the University of Toronto and is currently pursuing her PhD at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, focusing on emotions and professional relationships.