Conversing with a self-absorbed person can be a draining interaction that can ultimately make you avoid him. Unfortunately, avoiding a self-absorbed person isn't always possible, especially if you have to work with this person or if he is your friend or relative. If you have to interact with a self-absorbed person regularly and these interactions are affecting you, there are things you can do to control the conversation.
Adopt a patient attitude when interacting with a self-absorbed person. If you have to interact with him on a regular basis, patience and self-control are essential to overcome his narcissistic personality.
Communicate your feelings in a nonconfrontational manner and in a private place where other people won't listen. Express your feelings by telling the person that conversations, just like relationships, go both ways. Release any negative emotions you've been bottling inside, which is a proactive way to constructively help her identify the areas where she tends to be self-absorbed. Be very polite and friendly when addressing this issue.
Establish boundaries to protect yourself from become overwhelmed. For instance, if he is being so self-absorbed that it is draining you, walk away from the conversation politely to protect your personal space. Also, set boundaries to the amount of time you spend with him. Determine what is your limit before this person starts to overwhelm you. Learn where your boundaries are, and set them accordingly.
Examine her behavior to better understand why she may be so narcissistic. Some people are self-absorbed because they are constantly looking for approval, compliments, attention or to be accepted. Give her a genuine compliment, and determine if this make the person relax more during your conversation.
Find opportunities to turn the conversation around to something that doesn't have to do with the self-absorbed person. For instance, divert the conversation by mentioning something you are both familiar with, such as homework or a work-related project.
Avoid conversing with him alone. Stay in groups so you can easily interact with others if need be and so all of your attention doesn't have to go to him.
Remind yourself that you are not in control of this person. However, you are in control of yourself and what you can do to keep her from affecting you negatively. Ultimately, stick to conversing with this person when necessary, get to the point so the conversation doesn't go elsewhere, and don't get caught up in her behavior to the point where you are losing your peace. We all have flaws, although some are harder to cope with.
- Saskatchewan Libraries; Strategies for Dealing With Self-Absorbed People; January 2003
- Secrets We Keep; Dealing With Self-Centered People; Dan Neuharth, Ph.D
- "Psychology Today"; Dealing With Difficult People; Nando Pelusi, PhD.; September 2006
- Think Simple Now; Dealing With Difficult People
- EC-Online; Are You Involved With a Narcissistic Person?; Thomas J. Schumacher, Psy.D, R-CSW
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