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To think that the vast majority of people are self centred?

29 replies

officermendez · 05/07/2015 20:08

I have had a very difficult time lately with various things and it has really dawned on me just how self centred most people I know are.

In my experience, most people just want to talk about themselves, don't listen to others, and run a mile if they have to give even a miniscule amount of sympathy or support to anyone.

So many people that I speak to do things such as talk incessantly about themselves and then if someone else speaks they glaze over, or start fiddling with their phone. So rude!

AIBU to think most people are like this?

OP posts:

HaleMary · 05/07/2015 20:11

I think that everyone is self-centred, in the sense of being most focused on their own life, and that this is primarily a good thing. Show me someone who's over-invested in others, or who claims to 'live for my children', and I will show you someone more than a little screwed-up.

But what you are describing is rude, gauche and lacking in empathy. No, that's not normal behaviour for friends.


HaleMary · 05/07/2015 20:13

Sorry you've had a tough time, OP. Also, though, can I clarify exactly who you are talking to? Expectations will obviously be different if it's a stranger at the bus stop or your closest friends.


officermendez · 05/07/2015 20:17

Most people I come across tbh.

Close friends, casual friends, acquaintances, strangers...

Everyone just wants to tell 'their' story and never wants to listen to anyone else (not that I tell strangers about my problems/life story, but even in small talk no one listens)

OP posts:

Teabagbeforemilk · 05/07/2015 20:17

Personally I think too many people aren't selfish enough. alot of people i know (mainly the women I know) spend all their time running around looking after everyone else never taking time for themseleves putting everyone else first. Then burning out

I don't find most of my friends don't listen etc. It sounds like you have rubbish friends.

I am sorry you are having a tough time OP


ladyflower23 · 05/07/2015 20:20

I do know some people like this but the majority of people I kno Can hold a two way convo. Sorry this has not been your experience Flowers


DoraGora · 05/07/2015 20:21

You can try to talk about topics instead of personal baggage. It's entirely possible that some people can't have a decent conversation about art, architecture, politics religion or history, too true. But, then again, it's never too late to make new friends.


officermendez · 05/07/2015 20:24

I find though that even with topics people just want to say what they have to say and state their opinion and then that's that.

OP posts:

Nettletheelf · 05/07/2015 20:29

I try not to think about this sort of thing because it makes me feel sad.

You are (I'm afraid) correct that many people behave like this.

I think that behaviour of the type you quote can be ascribed to people behaving like children. For example:

I am the centre of the universe and I only want to talk about ME, ME, ME!

You might want to talk about something that isn't of immediate importance to ME, but instead of listening I'll fiddle with my phone in case anybody has mentioned ME in a tweet or a Facebook post. Me, me, me!

You might be suffering but I don't want to give any time or thought to it, because it might mean that I have to think about somebody other than ME and might not be able to do exactly as I wish whenever I want.

I behaved badly towards you but I don't want to face up to the consequences of my own behaviour, so I'll just rewrite events to suit ME and avoid you.

I don't want to hear anything about ME that isn't overwhelmingly positive, ever, so dare to say anything about ME that might be construed as criticism and I'll accuse you of bullying me. Me, me, me! Slight me and I'll have my revenge.

I don't see why I should pay tax. I'm sure that I put in more than I take out. I should pay less and other people should pay more and use less. I'm not sharing my toys and sweeties.

This is why it's important to find good friends, and hang on to them! That, plus looking at examples of truly selfless people, will keep you sane.


eggyface · 05/07/2015 21:20

Sorry, I started reading this but there wasn't enough about me in it, so I zoned out.Grin


EggOnTheFloor · 05/07/2015 21:26

Nah I don't think that's true at all, not with real friends. With friends who aren't as close as you think - it's very likely.

I had a real wobble recently, good friends made tea, offered a shoulder to cry and were really there for me.

A couple of not so close friends obviously did back off as they could see me struggling. Oh well, their loss.

Equally with good/close friends I have given up time and helped them in whatever way they needed at that time, whether that be tea and sympathy or practical day to day help.

Are you okay OP? Is there something bothering you that you need to offload? Mums net is invaluable for that, if you want to chat.


SurlyCue · 05/07/2015 21:30

Well its human (and every species actually) nature to be self focussed, its how we prioritise ourselves in order for survival, so yes, ultimately everyone is or should be somewhat self centred. However i dont find it they way you describe. I think maybe it is the people you know? Perhaps where you are from there is a tendancy towards this type of personality?


Noideaatall · 05/07/2015 21:31

I agree with you. It's been my experience too. It does make me very sad though, as Nettle said.


StarsInTheNightSky · 05/07/2015 21:33

I don't think that's the case with everyone, personally I certainly don't want to talk about myself, but I don't want to talk about anyone else either. That's not being selfish, I've just got a lot going on in my life at the minute (primarily severe ill health) and I've turned all my energy (what little there is these days) to my family. I probably seem very self centered to anyone who doesn't know what's going on.
As pp said, mumsnet is here for you to offload, but hope you're OK x.


AngelinaCongleton · 05/07/2015 21:38

Yip, I have a few of these types in my life. People who haven't asked you one question in an entire meet up until they realise you are leaving and just tAke take take in the conversation. It's such a relief when you can have a 2 way chat with more balanced folk as you start to think wtf is wrong with you that you are surrounded by them. Some people just can't get enough of themselves and I think others may be lonely.


StarsInTheNightSky · 05/07/2015 21:38

Oh, I was also going to say, is it possible that you're expecting to much of people? I mean this in the nicest possible way, it really might not be that people are being unsympathetic. The only person I talk to about the crap stuff is DH. I wouldn't expect anyone else to listen to my problems, you never know what others are going through. Do you have a supportive DH/DP?


StarsInTheNightSky · 05/07/2015 21:39

*too, not to


BestZebbie · 05/07/2015 21:44

It isn't that odd that you find that 'most' people don't want to offer sympathy and emotional (or even practical) support to you, because 'most' people aren't going to be in your inner closest circle of friends and family.

Giving support is quite draining, people only tend to invest in other people's misery if they have a stake in that person or believe it is a good bet that the person would give as much back to them if/when roles got reversed in the future.

Changing the subject or deflecting ('oh, I had that!') or detaching a bit from the conversation (going on a phone) are all pretty classic 'I don't want to anger you but I don't want to be involved in where this is going' responses.


2rebecca · 05/07/2015 21:55

I agree with others that most people are the centre of their own worlds (although as a parent your kids can become more central but in a healthy relationship they should be less so as they get older.
If you are finding everyone self centred and not wanting to listen to you then perhaps some of the problem lies with you. Support has to be 2 way and I've found the amount of sympathy you get often depends on the amount you give.
I wouldn't consider someone who just wanted to talk about themselves and never listen to me a close friend.
I'd stop discussing the crap stuff with friends and colleagues and discuss other aspects of life that don't require people to be sympathetic. Consider seeing your GP to see what help is available locally if you feel you need someone to listen to you.
Reconsider who your friends are as well, but check you aren't the friend who is always moaning and unhappy in the relationship. A friend should be someone who enhances your life.


Theycallmemellowjello · 05/07/2015 22:21

I don't agree that this is the case. I think most people are doing the best try can and that it's natural and usual to take an interest in others. But obviously people's 'people skills' and ability to say the right thug varies. I'm sorry op but the fact that you find everyone is the same makes me think that you might have unrealistic expectations. Have you considered consulting a therapist to talk through problems? There is a limit to how much emotional energy people can give out though.


Sleepybeanbump · 07/07/2015 07:30

Op I'm with you. It constantly amazes me how many people I meet who launch into their entire life story / incredibly long and detailed accounts of personal events within a few minutes of meeting them. And never ask questions in return. Or whose only response to information about your own life is to be bossy and tell you what you should do.

So many people are amazingly self centred and also amazingly lacking in basic politeness and conversation skills. Awful combination.

I think a lot of people think being able to hold the floor and tell a story is the be all and end all of social skills. A lot of people seem to have no concept that a large part - in my opinion the only part- is being able to sustain an equal polite to-and-fro which requires a lot of asking and listening and expression of interest.

I do this (easy as I don't like talking about myself at length and am a natural listener and curious about other people). Sadly many people I meet just take as an open invitation to grandstand for hours.


Cherryblossomsinspring · 07/07/2015 07:38

I prioritise my DH, my kids, my parents and my friends at times when it is important that I do so. I simply shoot the breeze with people who don't fall into those categories so in relation to them I guess I am self centred. Although I believe if they had a problem I'd notice and try to help. I don't know, we are all self centred at times and depending on a variety of factors, not self centred at other times.


Sleepybeanbump · 07/07/2015 07:45

Op I was also going to add- my experiences range from randoms I meet once, to casual acquaintances, to 'friends'. It took me a very long to realise that I was extremely bad at choosing friends. I let them choose me. Which meant I ended up with a bunch of very dominant self centred personalities who wanted me as an audience.

Do you think that your choice of friends in other respects might be what's causing you to end up with a disproportionate amount of self centred people around you?

Sorry you're going through a bad time.


RaskolnikovsGarret · 07/07/2015 07:55

Completely agree OP. Whenever I meet certain mothers, I leave knowing the entire life histories of their children. They barely acknowledge that I actually have two myself. When I speak to anyone, i always try to make them/their views feel important. Rarely reciprocated.


FaFoutis · 07/07/2015 08:02

I think most people lack social skills. How to have a conversation should be taught at school.


Scoobydoo8 · 07/07/2015 08:11

That's why we have counseling - because ordinary peeps are just interested in themselves. If you want someone to listen and empathise you have to pay for it!

It's an important thing to learn imo. It also means that the only person who will notice your big nose/ ugly teeth/ thin hair or any other defect in the looks dept is you - or someone who is obsessed with THEIR big nose/ ugly teeth etc and want to do a comparison to themselves to make them feel better.

I think that talking about yourself is boring to anyone else (except maybe your DM and even then not always - what you need to do is talk about something interesting - your interests, hobby, local gossip (see second paragraph above for the reasons for this), what's in the news.

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