Everyone can be selfish sometimes; we’re only human, after all. Unfortunately, some folks turn selfishness into an art. Everything is always about them, and they don’t seem to care about how their actions may affect the world around them.
Identifying Selfish People
The worst part is that these people get good at hiding their selfish ways until they rope you into relationships or friendships with them. They pretend to care until they get what they want, talk big games about how wonderful and helpful they are, and make others believe they genuinely want to help.
Too many of us have experience with this type of person, but the good news is that there are typically warning signs. While enjoying the R/askreddit community, I found a thread asking users to share the biggest red flags that someone is selfish.
Keep an eye out for these warning signs when you interact with a potential new friend. It may save you a ton of grief!
Talking About Themselves
A selfish person can’t comprehend that other people may have thoughts and ideas to share. They often talk about themselves non-stop, preventing anyone else from getting a word in.
“I know many people that will just not shut up about their day an entire call then just leave when you start talking about yours,” replied one user.
Others claimed talking about yourself a lot isn’t always a tell-tale sign of selfishness. Some said it could be a sign of ADHD or self-centeredness instead.
One Reddit user relayed a story about a girl with a hefty allowance (think in the thousands per month) who stole small bills from “friends” and simple items from places like Walmart whenever she got the chance.
No one should be stealing in general, but when you’re wealthy and feel the need to steal from your less-well-off friends for an extra few dollars, you’re a special kind of selfish.
One-uppers constantly interrupt others to butt in with their tales that are just a tiny bit better/worse/more impressive than what was being told.
You got 4 hours of sleep last night? They only got 3. You got into a car accident? So did they, but someone had to go to the hospital. You ran a 5K? They did a marathon.
“My favorite are the ones who are “more suffering than you,” responded one user, adding, “one-uppers comes in many shades.”
Rude to Wait Staff
You can tell a lot about a person by how they treat those they perceive as “lesser.” First, that they even perceive other humans as lesser is a red flag in the first place, but if they are rude to those providing them a service, it’s a sure bet they’re selfish.
Selfish people don’t see wait staff as people; they see them as servants required to cater to their every whim.
Loud Videos on the Phone
People who watch loud videos on their phones while in public have no respect for others around them. All that matters is their entertainment; they don’t care if their phone volume is disturbing others.
One Redditor shared a story of a bar patron who constantly watched loud TikTok while drinking at the bar. Other customers complained, so the bartenders finally told him to turn it out. He had no idea his loud videos were disturbing others.
Returning the Shopping Cart
One of the ultimate tests of selfishness is the “return the shopping cart” test. Most major grocery stores and department stores have massive parking lots with shopping cart holders scattered throughout. It takes ten seconds to walk your cart to the corral.
People who can’t be bothered to spend a few seconds returning their cart are the epitome of selfishness. Stray carts in lots can cause accidents and take up valuable parking real estate.
“This is my favourite armchair measure of good person,” shared one Redditor. “There is absolutely no benefit to you as the trolley returner, but there is loss to others if you don’t.”
Friends should want to help each other when they can. However, some learn that their friends are selfish users when they constantly take but refuse to help out when they have the ability.
“They gladly take any favours you do for them, but when asked if they could reciprocate once, they get defensive and or aggressive and act like you’re the selfish one for daring to expect something in return,” replied one user, saying this behavior is a hallmark of selfishness.
Every relationship should involve some give and take. “If you’re the only one giving, you’re being taken advantage of,” the user added.
Can’t Be Wrong
Selfish people can’t fathom that the world doesn’t revolve around them, so they think they can do no wrong.
Someone who can’t admit fault, accept responsibility for their mistakes, or always points their finger at others is likely selfish.
Many selfish people will go to great lengths to get what they want, including gaslighting their so-called friends.
They’ll misbehave but say you misheard them or tell you it’s not a big deal, they’ll make you feel like you’re wrong for questioning their selfish behavior, and they’ll pretend their worst behavior never happened.
These folks are trying to create a false representation of themselves and will bully anyone with something different to say.
Everything is About Them
Selfish people make everything about themselves. They’ll act like every bad thing in their circle is all about them, playing the victim to get sympathy points despite not being the person who’s truly affected by the problem.
“My wife’s family are like this,” stated one user. “My mother-in-law is seriously ill in hospital, and somehow they’ve made it all about them and how hard it is to support her.”
These folks also get mad at the affected party for not “being there for them.”
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Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.