In today’s world with individualism on the rise, you can spot a narcissist in every second person around you. No, I’m not talking the narcissistic disorder; narcissism has now become just another personality trait. It takes a form of conversational narcissism when in a conversation keep on focusing themselves, boosting or changing the topic of the conversation towards themselves.
Because it is their own self that matters the most to them. Now you can draw a better picture of conversational narcissists and must be able to spot them around you.
Let us get through the details of conversational narcissism, how to get rid of it, and how to avoid such people.
Before moving on, let us look at a conversation between two friends.
Jazz: Hey Zoe. Where have you been? I’ve really been missing you. Let’s sit somewhere. I have to share something with you.
Zoe: Ah, I’ve been enjoying my holiday. You know the beach was amazing and the restaurants just cannot tell you. Well, you go on.
Jazz: Great. Actually, I’ve lost my job. I thought if I’d share it with you and we could discuss something about it.
Zoe: Hmm. You know, I also lost a job last year. It was a hard time till I got a new one but you know what was the last job about. It was terrible. You know what happened one day…
After a few minutes
Zoe: And yes the current job is satisfactory but…
Now can you think of any such experience or people around you?
What is happening in this conversation?
One of the friends seems so self-centered and completely absorbed in her own self. She is ignoring what her friend has to say and showing a complete lack of empathy. All she has to say is her own stories, boasting and redirecting the focus of the conversation to herself.
These are exactly the properties of a conversational narcissist. You will find them exaggerating their attributes demanding admiration and constantly conversing without concerning others.
7 Attributes that a Conversational Narcissist Can Have
Here are some attributes which can make it easy to spot people with narcissism around you.
Autonomy: Feeling a sense of independence over the general manners of conversation.
Entitlement: Considering that they have a right to talk about themselves no matter even if it is on others’ expense.
Exhibitionism: A trait of showing off or boasting over small things.
Exploitation: A trend of using others for fulfilling their own self-esteem without taking into account their concerns.
Self Sufficiency: Again, considering oneself an, all in all, an autonomous figure.
Superiority: Having traits of grandiosity like thinking of oneself as superior to others.
Vanity: Being in self-love or having great pride in one own self.
Not only this, but you can also identify narcissism from the style of a speaker too. You often see such people speaking loudly, communicating exaggeratedly through hands and body movements and becoming glassy when others are speaking.
What are the Types of Conversational Narcissism?
Every time your friends conversing with you is not really exchanging views or listening to you. It can be just a way of talking about them, a way to satisfy their inflated self-esteem and of course, a way to conversational narcissism.
Read strategies below to see how.
The types of the conversational narcissists are marked by the strategies that a narcissist would use to draw all the attention towards themselves or to ignore others speaking.
The first strategy is the shift response.
In this strategy, the person does not completely change the topic of conversation but finds something about themselves in that topic.
So starting from talking about themselves, they gradually change the topic too.
They might include some words showing that the other person is a part of the conversation but won’t let them talk themselves.
Let us fit this into real-life situations. Suppose that you are telling a friend that you’ve been through a really tough time and your friend replies like this; ‘Oh, I am completely aware of how it feels. I have also been through it a few months ago’.
Now, this was of course not to empathize with you but just to get a chance to start a conversation about him.
The second type is passive responses.
Using this strategy, the person will make you feel like yes he is responding and you will keep on speaking. But actually the response will not be encouraging enough and he will be taking the least interest. This way there can be a chance to change the conversation towards him.
Let us look at how this type of conversation happens. Suppose you told your friend the same thing as in the previous example. Your friend will respond like ‘Mmmm hmmm’ or ‘Nice (with least interest)’.
There is always a reason that you often feel annoyed and exhausted after conversing with some people.
The reason can be that you did not have a healthy conversation which you really needed.
Thus, you should sort out whether your conversation with someone is going to be a healthy one, or is it just a form of narcissistic conversation.
And you should be assertive enough to say no to any unhealthy conversation.
Conversational Narcissism and How to Spot It?
Before moving on to the current societal scenarios which have led more and more people to show narcissistic tendencies, let us go through what childhood treatment can lead to such traits.
There are a few conditions of parenting that will result is the development of narcissistic personality traits.
- The child is given conditional love and praise. Parents only treat their child well when he/she brings some awards or A+ grade.
- Over criticizing and devaluing the child. Reprimanding child for small mistakes, especially while praising the other child.
- Overvaluing and exaggerating about the child’s credentials. Parents brag about their child before everyone.
- Being a narcissistic parent. Such parents demand their children to obey them and listen to whatever it is. A child’s value is nothing and everything is his/her parents.
This shows how overvaluing and undervaluing someone while they are in their developmental age can result in personality issues.
A lot of people develop narcissistic personality traits after passing through such treatment while a few can become victims of this disorder too.
Not just the treatment in childhood is responsible. We will have to look at the social situations which
- Inflate self-esteem of individuals
- Make them starve for appreciation
- Make them-self centered
A major role is played by the rise of individualism. Because individual values have taken privilege over collective values.
Let us not say it a curse, but there is something which it has given rise to. Look around yourselves; you will see everyone busy in their own races, fighting for their needs and competing for getting more. When people live their lives in such a social set up, the sense of cooperation vanishes and competition takes place.
This makes people self-centered. Anything that matters to anyone is one’s own self. Exactly, that is the behavior that is translated into their conversations.
Another factor that plays a very important role is the excessive usage of social media platforms.
People share their views, feelings, or pictures in the form of statuses or stories. Like-minded people or friends, we can say, praise them through comments and likes, etc.
Doing this at multiple social media platforms multiple times a day makes people habitual to the appreciation that they keep getting.
Moreover, the selfie culture has made everyone to never let go even a single moment without a selfie which gets posted in seconds. All this response and attention from these sites inflate people’s self-esteem. They become pretentious and amplify their attributes.
Thus, when sitting in casual conversations, such people starve for that appreciation and attention.
And this trait reflects in their conversation.
How Can You Stop Conversational Narcissism in your Behavior?
It is not something to be denied that you can be a narcissist too. If you find the aforementioned traits and habits in yourself then now is the time that you try to eliminate them.
As this is not considered a desirable social trait, people with narcissist tendencies perform low on social interactions.
People often show such behavior when they are not aware of it. Moreover, often people do it subconsciously i.e. they are not conscious that they have such tendencies.
So it is no wonder that you can also be one of those people.
Now when you are aware of what traits make a conversational narcissist, some of the tips are shared to get rid of it.
- By having a belief that you can be wrong. Everything is prone to criticism and everyone has a different point of view of different things. So instead of having a strict point of you, think flexibly and of all the possibilities.
- By giving other’s opinion a due space. Everyone thinks in their own frame of reference, so everyone has a different opinion. When in a conversation, you must consider others opinions as important as yours. Because they have an equal right to speak So you should give others an equal space.
- By listening to others. If you really want to say goodbye to your conversational narcissism, you should develop a habit of listening to others. Not only this, you should try to understand and respond appropriately to what they have to tell you.
- By having this in mind that others can be sensitive regarding themselves too. When you keep on speaking, making others feel that they do not matter, you really hurt their feelings. So it is necessary that you take care of their presence and give them importance.
- By change attention-getting to attention-giving behavior. You should give that attention to others that you think you deserve. This will help maintaining a better balance in yur conversation with others.
Not only that you can save yourself from a reprehensible personality trait, these steps can help you become a charismatic conversationalist. Moreover, you can make people love to talk to you and listen to you. What you have to do is to encourage your fellows to speak their hearts out. You can give them encouraging and supportive statements and make them feel that you are here for them. Let them talk completely and then you can start talking about yourself.
How to avoid Conversational Narcissists?
If you want to spend quality time with your friends, it is very important that you spot out conversational narcissists among them and avoid them as much as possible. Because if you don’t you will end up spending an exhausting and dull day.
Here are some tips that will help you avoid such people and engage in better and healthier relationships.
- Identify the narcissist. You need to have a complete understanding of what are the habits of a narcissist. So that you can identify a narcissist among your peers.
- Give them the least attention. Once you have pointed out them, make sure that it is not your headache to listen to their never-ending stories. Ignore them completely until they know that you are not their target.
- Be assertive. Narcissistic people are not easy to get rid of. They will keep coming back because all they need is someone who can listen to them. So be assertive in telling them that you are not available for them.
- Be articulate. You should be expressive enough to tell others how do you feel around them and that they should know their boundaries. If still they keep coming back, you should take further steps.
- Avoid being where they are. If possible, you should try to avoid going to any such place where they are present or indulge in any of their conversations. Because you cannot get annoyed by verbally stopping them again and again.
- Indulge in healthy relationships. You should have conversations with those people whom you think valuable and who give you equal importance. You can find support in such people and share your problems with them for a better solution.
Keep one thing in mind that you are responsible for helping others until it does not cost your peace and mental health.
Give yourself some value so that others value you.