09 May 5 Ways to Deal with Friends Who Only Talk About Themselves
We all need a sounding board from time to time. Partners and friends to gripe to (and about). But what do you do when one of your friends hogs focus and only talks about themselves?
We all have that one friend who seems to dominate every conversation with their own stories, opinions and problems. They rarely ask about your life, listen to what you have to say or show interest in anything other than themselves. You may feel frustrated, annoyed or even hurt by their self-centered behavior. How can you deal with these sorts of people without losing your patience—or your friendship?
Here are some tips to help you manage the self-centered folks in your life.
You don’t have to listen to your friend’s endless monologues every time they call or text you. You can politely tell them that you have other things to do, that you’re not in the mood to chat or that you’ll get back to them later.
You can also limit the time you spend with them or avoid certain topics that trigger their self-absorption.
By setting boundaries, you’re respecting your own needs and time, and also sending a message to your friend that you’re not their personal therapist or audience.
Express your feelings
Sometimes, your friend may not realize how their behavior affects you or others. They may be so caught up in their own world that they don’t notice the cues that you’re bored, annoyed or hurt by their lack of attention. You can try to express your feelings to them in a calm and respectful way.
For example, try saying something like
I feel like you don’t really care about what I have to say
I wish you would ask me more questions about my life
You can also give them specific examples of when they ignored you or interrupted you.
By expressing your feelings, you’re giving your friend a chance to understand your perspective and change their behavior.
Sometimes, your friend may not respond well to your feedback or boundaries. They may get defensive, angry or dismissive of your feelings. They may accuse you of being selfish, jealous or ungrateful. They may try to guilt-trip you into listening to them or giving them what they want.
In such cases, you need to be assertive and stand up for yourself. Try saying:
I’m sorry you feel that way, but I have a right to my own feelings and opinions
I care about you, but I can’t always give you what you need
You can also repeat your boundaries or end the conversation if they become too aggressive or abusive.
Dealing with friends who only talk about themselves can be draining and stressful. You may feel lonely, resentful or depressed by their lack of reciprocity and empathy. You may also doubt yourself and wonder if you’re a good friend or not.
That’s why it’s important to seek support from other people who can validate your feelings and offer you comfort and advice. You can talk to other friends, family members, counselors or therapists who can help you cope with the situation and give you a different perspective.
Finally, you may need to reevaluate the friendship and decide if it’s worth keeping or not.
Some friends who only talk about themselves may change their behavior if they realize how it affects you and others. They may apologize, listen more, ask more questions and show more interest in your life. They may also have other qualities that make them good friends, such as being loyal, supportive or fun.
In such cases, you may decide to continue the friendship and work on improving it.
However, some friends who only talk about themselves may not change their behavior at all. They may continue to be self-centered, insensitive and demanding. They may also have other negative traits that make them bad friends, such as being dishonest, manipulative or toxic. In such cases, you may decide to end the friendship and move on with your life.