It can be really difficult to recognize if and when you or someone else is being selfish. Usually, when a person starts questioning themselves and asking, Am I selfish? it means that they have been selfish for a while now (and are completely unaware of it).
Also, we often see our significant others in better lights than they actually are. We are vulnerable to selfish partners because we love them so much, and sometimes we can’t think clearly.
If you think that you (or someone close to you) might be selfish, below, you’ll find the signs of selfishness that all selfish people have in common. But before that, let’s first define what selfish behavior really is.
What Are Selfish Behaviors?
Basically, selfish behavior means being concerned exclusively for oneself, one’s own needs, pleasure, advantage, etc. As the word implies, selfishness is the opposite of selflessness (altruism).
Being selfish means not worrying about how other people will feel about our decisions, words, and actions. That is why selfish people often make impulsive decisions and avoid dealing with the consequences afterward.
Note that selfishness is not the same thing as self-care. Practicing self-care means putting yourself first for the sake of your well-being but also being considerate, empathic, and willing to compromise with others.
Selfish behavior can be connected and/or caused by addictions, control-freak behavior, narcissism, and insecurities in a relationship. In a nutshell, every version of selfishness is based on neglecting the wants and needs of others, which can be seen in the following signs of selfish individuals.
Am I Selfish? 10 Traits Of Selfish People
Inability or unwillingness to compromise, manipulative behavior, and lack of effort are the main traits of selfish individuals. Sometimes, these traits are clearly visible, while other times, things are not that simple.
Detecting selfish inclinations is the first step to dealing with them and improving your relationships with other people. With that said, below, you’ll find selfish traits explained in detail:
1. Everything has to be under their conditions
Being slightly selfish isn’t always a bad thing (especially when we’re talking about the need to have some “me time”). However, it can become a problem when someone becomes demanding and thinks only about their own interests.
Selfish people always give the impression that it’s their way or the highway. By doing that, they’re taking advantage of others. Friendship or any type of relationship without compromise can never work.
Here’s an example of a selfish act in a relationship:
One partner always makes decisions for both of them regarding the places they go and things they do. They ignore their partner’s ideas or don’t even want to listen to what they have to say.
Being ignored in a relationship is a huge red flag regardless of its background. In other words, being with a selfish person who constantly imposes their selfish ways on their partner is a recipe for an unhappy and unhealthy relationship.
2. They are control freaks
Selfish individuals have this need to be in control of everything (especially when it comes to romantic relationships). They don’t allow others to express their opinions, make decisions, and so on. Why?
Because they love being in control of their own life, their partner’s life, and basically everyone else’s life. By doing that, selfish people damage their loved one’s mental health.
If we’re going to look at it from a psychological point of view, being a control freak is often closely connected with deep trust issues.
For example, if someone has been cheated on before (or hurt by others in any other way), they will become cautious about who they trust in the future.
This overly precautious behavior can turn into legit control-freak behavior. So, that’s when they become selfish, not because they want to hurt the other person, but because they want to protect themselves.
3. Manipulation is their favorite hobby
These types of people (read: selfish people) are capable of manipulating not only random people but also their best friends, close friends, and even family members. They are self-involved, compulsive liars, and uncaring of others both on social media and in real life.
Their need for manipulation is based on their goal-oriented behavior and getting what they want at any cost.
Dr. Nina Brown, in Psychology Today, explains this in the following way:
“Very self-absorbed people are clear in their minds as to what they want or need whether this occurs in the moment or longer term. It is not necessary for them to articulate their wants or needs so that others understand their goal or objective, and indeed, if asked, they may not be able to do so or want to verbalize this. However, their behavior is goal-directed, and their focus and actions are on getting what they want regardless of the cost to or the discomfort of anyone else.“
So, be honest with yourself when trying to answer the question, “Am I selfish?” Do you see any similarities (manipulative tendencies) in your behavior? Do you prioritize your goals over other people’s happiness and well-being?
4. They seldom (or never) put in the effort
As the word implies, selfishness means being solely focused on yourself and getting things with minimal to no effort. Selfish individuals want it ALL, and they want it NOW. They don’t care about the possible consequences or how their actions affect other people.
I know this very well because I’ve been in a relationship with a selfish person, resulting in me experiencing severe relationship anxiety and developing an ambivalent attachment style.
So, I have a few things to share with you to help you understand it better:
• When someone doesn’t put in the effort to make things work, that’s an obvious sign they’re not interested or engaged in a relationship.
• That kind of attitude tells you they probably don’t have serious plans for the future.
• If only one side is investing time, energy, and even money, you know there is something wrong.
• Behavior like this is a clear sign that the person you’re dating is immature, irresponsible, and selfish.
If you’re with a selfish person, and they don’t bother giving you their best, why should you? This is something I should’ve asked myself a long time ago, but I guess it’s never too late.
5. They hate teamwork
Selfish people don’t understand the need to compromise and be a part of a team. Teamwork means listening and validating other people’s desires and ideas, which is something selfish individuals aren’t ready to do.
Instead, they desire to be solely focused on themselves and achieving their goals. Given that teamwork is an essential part of every relationship, people who aren’t team players will have difficulty establishing a healthy relationship with their partners.
Whenever you ask yourself, Am I selfish? think about whether you’re a team player or more of an independent player ignorant of other people’s needs, goals, and wishes.
If you hate teamwork, there must be a reason you’re not fond of it. Do you think that the only right way is your way, and being a part of the team would not allow you to implement that? Well, think about it.
6. Selfish people never apologize
Selfish individuals never apologize because they lack self-awareness. They are not even aware of their selfish actions because, in their minds, they’re doing the right thing. Here’s what I’ve learned about dealing with selfish people who never apologize:
• If you try talking to them about it, they’ll grab the focus and leave you wondering why you even bothered approaching them in the first place.
• They will also call you out on being sensitive.
• If someone is not able to admit their mistakes or doesn’t even see them, you might be dealing with a very egoistic or narcissistic person. This type of selfish behavior is always a red flag.
Does this sound familiar to you? Do you find it difficult to apologize when you hurt someone or make a mistake? Do you always think that you’re right and others should apologize to you instead?
If the answer is yes to all of the above questions, then you know the answer to the main question Am I selfish? is a straightforward yes.
Keep in mind that we all make mistakes, but apologizing after we’ve said or done something hurtful or offensive should be a rule.
7. They are not generous or giving at all
A selfish kind of person protects their own self-interests, which means generosity and selflessness aren’t in their vocabulary. Focus on yourself without feeling guilty is their motto. Don’t get me wrong.
There’s nothing wrong with focusing on yourself, but if that’s the only thing you’re focused on, you might have a problem with self-centered personality traits (bad selfishness).
This also includes being selfish in bed, where you expect your partner to do all the work and focuses on satisfying your needs. The principle of giving and receiving is not something we should take for granted.
If you realize that you have a problem with giving, think about the psychology behind it:
Do you have difficulty putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, empathizing with them, and focusing on their happiness?
Are you self-oriented, aka solely focused on taking everything you can without giving anything in return?
If receiving is the only thing that can make you happy and giving makes you feel miserable, then you know you have selfish tendencies.
8. Most communication from them is negative or neutral
Selfish people use sweet words just in case they need something from you. Most of their communication is negative or neutral because they don’t feel like they need to make you feel better.
If you are dealing with someone who almost always only tells you negative things and blames you for everything, that can be a sign of verbal and emotional abuse. There should be no room for judgments and constant criticism in a healthy relationship.
Selfish people never shy away from talking behind your back, either. They don’t really care about how this will make other people feel as long as they’re “having fun” while gossiping.
They don’t understand the consequences of negative communication because they seldom think about it. They’re primarily concerned with how they feel at the moment and not about how their choice of words impacts others.
If you can relate to any of this, then you should definitely re-evaluate your behavior.
9. They never value other people’s time
Am I selfish? Well, selfishness can manifest in many different forms, and one of them is disrespecting other people’s time. A selfish person doesn’t bother showing up on time or valuing other people’s time in other circumstances.
Also, they think other people are obliged to be there for them whenever they need them. The problem here is that they aren’t ready to give the same treatment in return.
If you ask me, time is the most valuable currency because you can never get any of it back. I wish I knew this before I let a selfish person play with my feelings, made me wait, and sent mixed signals.
If you’re doing the same thing to others, then I’ll repeat: It’s time to re-evaluate your behavior and start practicing selflessness.
10. Nothing you ever do is enough for them
Selfish people don’t recognize the hard work someone is putting into a relationship. Even though you’re exhausted from giving so much of yourself, they never appreciate it because it’s never enough for them.
Selfish partners (a selfish wife or a selfish husband) will always require more than their partners can give, even though they don’t try at all.
If someone never expresses gratitude for nice things you do all the time, then you’re dealing with a very selfish individual who is always only about satisfying their needs. So, one of the biggest life-changing decisions would be to protect yourself from them.
However, if you belong to the selfish crew and constantly require more from those close to you, stop for a moment and think about the validity of your selfish actions.
Am I selfish? If you’ve just realized that you might have selfish tendencies, and you’re feeling uncomfortable, know what you feel is real. Allow yourself to accept it and be willing to work on improving your behavior.
Understand that selfish behavior will never bring you anything good because it’s not based on positive feelings and healthy intentions like selflessness.
Also, keep in mind that relationships aren’t one-way streets. They need to be built with mutual respect and hard work. Realizing that you or your partner are a selfish person and finding ways to make it right will help you create a healthy union. Good luck!