Spotting Selfishness: 24 Telltale Signs That Someone Lacks Empathy

Navigating social interactions can be tricky, especially when dealing with people who seem to always put themselves first. Here are the top 24 signs, according to a recent online survey, that someone might be more self-centered than empathetic.

They Don’t Share, But Happily Take

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You know the type. They show up at a potluck with empty hands but leave with full Tupperware. It’s all take and no give. Honestly, it’s like a red flag for selfish behavior. You’ve got to wonder, if they’re like this with food, what else might they be taking advantage of?

Constant Complaining

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Ever had a friend who just complains non-stop? It’s like they don’t even hear you. Conversations with them can get real quiet when you stop feeding into their negativity. It’s a clear sign of someone who’s more into their problems than anything else in the world.


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Some folks make mountains out of molehills, especially when it comes to their problems. They’re quick to downplay your issues but expect you to treat theirs like a Shakespearean tragedy. It’s exhausting, right? Drama seems to follow them like a shadow.


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Bragging constantly is a big no-no. It’s like they’re trying to sell you on how great they are, and frankly, it gets old fast. These are often the folks who’ll leave you in the lurch when you need them most. They’re too caught up in their own story to care about yours.

Emotional One-upmanship

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We all know someone who always has to “win”, even if it’s about having the worst day. It’s like a bizarre competition where empathy doesn’t stand a chance. They’re the ones who would turn a conversation about your struggles into a spotlight on their minor inconveniences.

No Regrets

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A person who lacks empathy often doesn’t feel bad about the impact of their actions. They’re the ones making you apologize for being upset by what they did. It’s like they have a blind spot when it comes to understanding how they affect others.


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Narcissism and selfishness go hand in hand. If someone never admits they’re wrong or can’t accept any responsibility, you might be dealing with a narcissist. It’s all about them, all the time.

Being Socially Unaware

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You probably know someone who just seems to be in their own bubble, completely oblivious to the world around them. It’s like they’re walking through life with blinders on, unaware of how their actions impact others. They might come off as aloof, or worse, uncaring. And when you try to point out their role in a situation, they just can’t see it.

Selective Memory

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.Then there’s the issue of selective memory, which is a classic sign of self-centeredness. It’s fascinating, really, how some people only recall the favors they’ve done for others but draw a blank when it comes to remembering the help they’ve received.

No Reciprocation

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It’s like some people have a take-take-take mentality without ever giving back. You might find yourself always being the one offering help or support, but when the tables are turned, they’re nowhere to be found. It’s like pulling teeth to get them to return a favor, and when they do, it’s often grudgingly or with a sense of being inconvenienced.

Only Talking About Themselves

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Ever been trapped in a conversation where the other person does all the talking? It’s just about them, their day, their life. You try to chip in, and suddenly, they have to go. It’s frustrating, isn’t it? Like you’re just a sounding board for their monologue.

Making Someone Else’s Suffering Their Problem

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Some people have a knack for making everything about themselves. Even when someone else is going through a tough time, they somehow find a way to center their own feelings. It’s like they can’t help but hijack the spotlight, no matter the circumstance.

Good At Steering A Conversation

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You start sharing something personal, and before you know it, the conversation has swung back to them. It’s like they have this talent for redirecting the focus onto themselves, no matter the topic. It leaves you wondering if they were ever really listening to you.


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It’s startling how some can be so insensitive. They make requests or suggestions that are completely oblivious to your feelings or situations. Like asking to dig up your pet for a project without a second thought about how that might affect you. It’s a clear lack of empathy.

Never Apologizing

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If you’ve spent hours with someone and never heard them apologize, that’s a red flag. Not apologizing means not acknowledging the impact of their actions. It’s a sign of emotional immaturity and a self-centered mindset.

No Conversation Skills

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Conversations with them feel like monologues. You barely get a word in, and when you do, it’s just a segue back into their story. It’s like you’re an extra in the movie of their life, where they’re the star, the director, and the scriptwriter.

They’re Annoyed When You Accept Things

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Ever known someone who offers things but gets upset when you accept? It’s a bizarre game where they expect you to play along with their script of polite refusals. Accepting their offer seems to throw them off, revealing a selfish streak.

Always The Victim

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No matter the situation, they’re always the victim. Their narrative centers around their suffering, often overshadowing others’ problems. It’s impossible to have a genuine, supportive conversation because it’s always about their woes.

Not Returning Shopping Carts

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It’s a small act, but not returning shopping carts speaks volumes. It shows a lack of consideration for others and an attitude of indifference towards communal spaces. It’s a tiny window into how they view their responsibilities towards others.

Rudeness To Waitstaff

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How someone treats waitstaff can be very telling. Being rude or dismissive to service workers shows a lack of empathy and respect. It reveals how they treat people when they think there are no consequences for their actions.

Devices On Loud

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People blasting videos or music in public places, especially in quiet settings, are displaying a lack of awareness and consideration for others. It’s as if they’re in their own world, oblivious to how they’re invading the communal auditory space.


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Greediness goes beyond just wanting more. It’s about taking what isn’t theirs, even when they don’t need it. Like stealing small amounts of money despite having plenty, it shows a disregard for others and an insatiable desire for more.


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There’s a level of audacity in being shameless. Like the person who admits to wrongdoings as if they’re normal behavior, justifying their actions with flimsy excuses. It shows a lack of remorse and a failure to understand the impact of their actions.

Their Children Owe Them Everything

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Some parents act as if their children owe them for being brought into the world. This mindset disregards the child’s autonomy and views them as an extension of the parent’s will. It’s a possessive attitude, not one of unconditional love.


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