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7 Signs of Selfish People (and How to Deal with Them)

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By nature, people are selfish to a certain degree. Selfishness is an innate quality that can help people survive and thrive, even in times of hardship. In general, we are taught not to be selfish people and to maintain a healthy balance between giving and taking.

However, we know that not everyone has the same upbringing or is raised the same way.

That said, when the balance between selfishness and selflessness is skewed significantly towards selfish behaviors, it becomes harmful to both the selfish person and those around them.

Selfish people only care about themselves and their own needs, and they are not interested in the needs of others. This can cause a lot of problems in personal and professional relationships.

Here are seven signs that someone is selfish, as well as tips on how to deal with them. If you are dealing with someone like this, you might also find this blog post on toxic people to be helpful, as selfish people can be quite toxic.

A creature looking in the mirror next to a quote about selfish people

Signs of Selfish People

1. One-Sided Effort

Selfish people want others to make all the efforts in the relationship but contribute none themselves.

For instance, they would complain about why you haven’t called them for a while but never take the time to pick up the phone and dial you themselves.

When they need help with things or an ear to vent, they expect you to be there for them, but when it comes to your turn, they are nowhere to be found – and they have a laundry list of excuse after excuse as to why they don’t have time for you.

A one-sided effort is often a sign that someone is selfish.

If you find yourself in a relationship where you are the only one making the effort, it is time to talk with your partner.

Let them know how you feel and see if they are willing to make some changes.

If not, then it might be time to reevaluate the relationship and ask yourself if it’s worth maintaining and what’s in for you in the long run.

2. Lack of Empathy

Selfish people are not interested in others’ well-being or feelings, for they lack empathy. They see things from their perspective but cannot put themselves in others’ shoes.

If you find yourself in a situation where someone is not interested in hearing you out but only wants to talk about themselves or how they feel, or that interrupts you or talks over you in order to steer the conversation back to themselves, it might be a sign that this person is selfish.

A selfish person who lacks empathy might not hesitate to hurt others if it means getting what they want. They will often lie or cheat to advance their objectives. Watch out for these types of people; they are capable of great destruction – and feel next to no guilt!

Sentimental people can often fall prey to this kind of person; find out if you might be this personality type by reading this blog post.

“Some people create their own storms and then get upset when it rains.”

3. They are controlling

Selfish people have narcissistic tendencies. When they realize you are no longer interested in a one-sided relationship, they might try to manipulate or control you and steer the relationship in the direction they want it to go.

If you are in a relationship with a selfish person, it is essential to communicate your needs and boundaries clearly. You might need to be assertive and set limits on what you will tolerate from them.

It is also important that you take care of yourself emotionally and mentally so that you are not as affected by their selfish behavior.

4. Manipulative

People who manipulate others are often also selfish. Manipulation is an attack on your mental and emotional well-being.

If someone is manipulating you, they might try to control your behavior or emotions by making you feel guilty, ashamed, or afraid.

Manipulation can be a very subtle form of abuse, and it can be hard to spot if you are not aware of what to look for. If you think someone might be manipulating you, look for these signs:

  • They are over-the-top nice from the getgo.
  • Their actions don’t match their words.
  • They make you feel guilty all the time.
  • They know how to push your buttons (and enjoy doing it).
  • They lie to your face.

5. They are materialistic

Selfish people value material possessions over people. They might be obsessed with status symbols, money, or power. If they can’t have something, they might try to take it from someone else.

These selfish and materialistic people dislike others who have more, not just money or things, but happiness, love, or success. They will try to bring you down to make themselves feel better.

If you’re around someone who is always trying to one-up you or put you down, they might be selfish and materialistic.

Look for these signs and you can find out all of the characteristics of materialistic people in this blog post.

  • They are never happy for you and your accomplishments.
  • They always need to one-up you.
  • Your success makes them feel inferior.
  • They buy fancy or expensive stuff and brag about the things they have.
  • They measure success by the amount of money one has.

6. Self-Centered

Selfish people are always the center of attention. They love to talk about themselves and their accomplishments. If you’re around someone who is always talking about themselves, they might be selfish.

Look for these signs:

  • They love to talk about themselves.
  • They always want to be the center of attention.
  • All conversations revolve around them.
  • You feel like you can’t get a word in edgewise.

7. They are cheap with others

Selfish people don’t reciprocate. Have you ever found yourself paying for everything when around certain people?

In a healthy relationship, people would take turns paying for things or splitting the bill. However, selfish people will skimp or try to avoid paying their fair share.

When the waiter brings the bill, you won’t see them grabbing for their wallet, but pretending they don’t see it, or they might suddenly head for the bathroom.

Look for these signs:

  • They don’t take turns paying for things.
  • If they have to pay, they would choose the cheapest place, but when you offer to pay order the most expensive things off the menu.
  • They give cheap presents without much thought behind them.
  • They complain to you to have no money to make you feel guilty, but then have always the newest gadgets and wear designer cloth (setting you up to pay every time)

When you are going out with selfish people, don’t be too quick to offer to pay for them. Instead, ask to split the bill. See how long they will stick around.

Ways to deal with selfish people

A woman feeling sad after a fight with the selfish person she is in love with.

1. Spend less time with them

Be stingy and don’t waste too much time on selfish people.

The best way to deal with selfish people is to spend less time with them. This is because selfish people are often toxic to your well-being. Why would you invest in a relationship that is completely one-sided?

If you have to spend time with selfish people, try to limit your interactions and stay positive. Additionally, set boundaries and stick to them.

For example, some boundaries you could set are:

  • When they call you up to talk, let them know you are busy and only have a few minutes to talk, i.e., 10 or 15 minutes.
  • When you can get out of it going out with them, let them know in advance that you have to be home at a specific time.
  • If they owe you money, give them a date to pay off, or else you will take them to court.

2. Reduce the attention they crave

Selfish people love attention, and it’s all about them. So, the more attention you give them, the more they get their way. The key is to remove your attention and watch and see how they react.

If they try to switch topics back to them, let them know you still want to continue talking.

Or if they engage in attention-seeking behaviors, it’s okay to just walk away and remove yourself from the situation. You can’t be involved in the drama if you aren’t there.

3. Distance yourself

When you realize that the relationship doesn’t lead anywhere or you can’t go on like that, the best thing to do is distance yourself. Hanging on can be harmful.

Selfish people will try to suck you into their world, and you’re caught in their web before you know it.

Hence, the best way to deal with selfish people is to distance yourself from them. This doesn’t mean you have to go radio silence with them entirely, but perhaps to cool down the relationship to a level you no longer are bothered by it.

RELATED POST: 20 Things to Let Go of for a Happier Life Right Now

4. Find better people to hang out with

Humans need social interaction to stay mentally and physically healthy. However, selfish people aren’t the only ones out there.

There are kind, genuine, and positive people, and you deserve to surround yourself with them. These are the kind of people who make your life better and your days brighter!

Of course, it’s not always easy to find these types of people, but they’re worth it. When you do find them, treat them well and nurture those relationships.

Don’t take shortcuts out of desperation or loneliness – who you hang out with will define who you are in the long run.

Instead, use the time to get to know and be comfortable with yourself when you are alone – it’s the foundation to a happy life.

READ MORE: Top 20 Be Yourself Quotes to Embrace the Skin You’re In

5. Don’t be afraid to say “NO”

When you constantly say “yes” to someone out of guilt, fear, or other negative emotions, it’s no longer a balanced or mutually respectful relationship.

Instead, you are neglecting your own needs or self-respect.

Setting boundaries is an essential part of healthy relationships. It ensures its mutually beneficial and respectful. When the line is crossed, don’t be afraid to say “NO.” People will start to see you as an equal and not a pushover.

There is no value in a relationship when you play doormat.

RELATED POST: 100 Things to Say “No” to for a Happier Life

6. Reduce your urge to people-please

If you find yourself constantly in the company of selfish people, you might want to look inward for answers as well.

The selfish behavior of others is certainly not your fault, but if you strive to please others too much to the detriment of your personal welfare, you will encourage them to keep asking.

You may be tying your value to what you give or do for others. Instead, try to ask for what you need – you might be surprised at the attention and generosity returned to you when you are authentic and honest

Final Thoughts on the selfish person

Selfish people are immature and self-centered people. They are everywhere, and you need to know how to deal with them when encountering one.

Be honest with yourself and them. Make sure you set boundaries and are not afraid to say “NO” when it’s crossed.

You don’t need to put up with selfishness; you can walk away.

Are you dealing with a selfish person in your life? Do you have any other tips on how to deal with selfish people? Feel free to share them with us in the comments below!


  1. selfish people don’t like to be confronted and questioned on their behaviour. Be strong and stand your ground, they will either show their true colours and discard you or break at the seams. Trust your intuition and be willing to forgive if they concede

  2. I need help as I find myself giving minimal effort to my family.
    I tend to always put myself first. I lack empathy and never think of other people. I am 50 years old and have not changed. I am guarded and cheap. Please offer some thoughts.

  3. If the person has been confronted many times but doesn’t change; walk away. Some of these people will never change and they will always just degrade you for trying to be there for them. They don’t respect you so you should never put up with their abuse.

  4. Good article! I recognize my younger (selfish) behavior and am made aware of my willingness to be taken in by selfish people. Boundaries with selfish people are the ultimate armor.

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