Are You A Conversational Narcissist? These Are The Signs

You might think there’s no way you’re a conversational narcissist—a person who dominates conversations and makes every interaction about them— but you might be surprised to find out you are. Do any of these 13 signs apply to you?

  1. You relate too hard. When someone tells you that they hurt their wrist, won a competition, or experienced the worst traffic on the way home, you’re quick to tell them, “I know how you feel!” before launching into what your experience with that same thing was like. Although you might think that doing this helps people feel better, it can actually backfire. By jumping in with your stories, you’re taking away their chance to express what they’re feeling.
  2. You’re a spotlight grabber. You might think that you’re not someone who wants to be the center of attention, but if you’re always trying to share your experiences and get yourself heard instead of listening to other people, then you’re too busy jumping for attention. And no, saying “Sorry to interrupt but this is really important!” isn’t acceptable unless there’s an emergency.
  3. You’re a conversational one-upper. You might even take grabbing the spotlight to another level by trying to one-up people. For instance, if your friend has bronchitis and you say, “Well, I had pneumonia once and it was 10 times worse!” It’s like your stories are the only interesting and important ones in the room. Yikes.
  4. You’re competitive. You feel crappy when someone else makes an amazing joke or offers real support to a friend. You want to be great with your words, but chill out a bit— conversations aren’t a competition, FFS.
  5. You’re a fast talker. You never stop during a conversation to take a breather and listen to what others have to say. It’s like you’re rapping on stage. Woah, calm down. You’re not running out of a burning building. You’re in a calm, relaxed setting. If you’re talking too fast, you’re making it hard for people to share in your enthusiasm and you’re exhausting them, TBH.
  6. You’re bringing drama to the table. When you open your mouth to contribute to a conversation, do you find that you tend to want to speak about your dramas? You might not be doing it as a way to get more attention, but it’s like you’re flashing newspaper headlines. “Did you know what happened to me?” is immediately intriguing. But just make sure you’re not always turning conversations into a negative, narcissistic light.
  7. You think you’re listening, but you’re not. While someone’s talking, you’re impatiently waiting to jump into the conversation. You’re dying to be able to throw yourself into the chat and that’s all you can think about. You’re not even listening to what they have to say! We’ve all been guilty of this, but if you do it too often, you’re a conversational narc.
  8. You give shift responses instead of support responses. You can tell if you’re a narc by asking a BFF if you give others a shift response or a support response. A shift response is when you keep shifting attention from others to yourself during conversation. So, if your friend says she wants to buy a new dress, you’ll say that you’re also looking for one or explain the amazing one you just bought the other day. Total narc response. A support response, on the other hand, is when you show the person you’re listening to them and you ask follow-up questions. How it plays out with the dress scenario is that you might say, “Oh, what kind of dress do you want to buy?” See how it makes it about the person instead of you?
  9. People breathe heavily around you. You could be a conversational narc without even noticing. That’s why it’s a good idea to check how people react when you speak. Do you notice their breathing more, such as because they’re sighing in exasperation or they’re taking deeper breaths? If they do these things when you’re talking, maybe the problem is that you’ve made the conversation all about you or you’ve interrupted them again, which has angered and exhausted them.
  10. People tend to fall silent. Another red flag that you’re dominating the conversation is if people become silent when you start talking about yourself. They don’t contribute to the conversation, probably because it’s more of a soliloquy, and it’s like they’re just waiting for you to finish. Yikes. If people aren’t communicating with you, make sure you’re not guilty of not giving them a chance to.
  11. You enjoy talking about yourself. Who doesn’t? A Harvard study found that we enjoy talking about ourselves because it boosts activity in the reward center of the brain—the same area where rewards like sex and food create a pleasure response. Yup, it feels good. But in the same way that you can’t be drinking all the pink champagne at a bachelorette party even though it’s delicious, you need to limit how much you talk about yourself. Make the info you give others count instead of boring them to death with TMI.
  12. You’re all about pleasing people. It’s strange but true: sometimes the people who want to please others the most are actually the biggest conversational narcissists. This is because they’re so busy trying to be liked for what they say that they don’t realize they’re actually coming across as self-absorbed. Do you crave attention and love when talking to your friends or colleagues? If you’re entering a conversation with that goal in mind, it’s easy to become a conversational narc. You’re so busy trying to say what you think people want to hear or to win their approval that you’re not really engaging with them.
  13. You have restless voice syndrome. You usually interrupt people before they’re finished speaking. It’s not because you’re rude—you just know what your friend’s about to say so you can jump in! No harm done, right? Wrong! If you’re always trying to be heard, you’re going to be ignored by those who wish you’d listen more. Fact.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.