18 Common Behaviors of Selfish People

Some people think it’s an every man for himself type of world where success and the spotlight are everything. Selfish people often exhibit behaviors that prioritize their own needs and desires over those of others. Here are 18 common behaviors you will see in selfish people.

One-sided conversations

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Selfish people dominate discussions with their interests and disregard others’ contributions. These are the Tinder dates who babble on and on about how great they are without asking you a single question. When you get together with them after you’ve been going through a hard time, they will talk non-stop about their wins because it is all about them.

Lack of reciprocation

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They accept favors but rarely return them, acting defensively when asked to do so. They are the first to ask for help moving, but if you need a ride to the airport, they are not available and are probably a little annoyed that you asked them.

Disregard for others’ feelings

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They show no empathy for others’ suffering and may not care about the impact of their actions. These people usually call themselves brutally honest, which is the hall pass they give themselves for saying cruel things in the name of honesty. They will also always do what is best for them, no matter who could get hurt by their actions.


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They use manipulation tactics to get what they want from others. A to Zen Life says, “People who manipulate others are often also selfish. Manipulation is an attack on your mental and emotional well-being.” Manipulation is a blatant disregard for your mental well-being as long as they get what they want from you.


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They feel entitled to always get what they want, regardless of fairness or others’ needs. We hope this behavior ends in the terrible 2s when we are taught we don’t always get what we want, sharing is caring, and all those other things about the world not revolving around us. For some people, it carries on into adulthood.


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They are reluctant to share resources or time with others. They never shared their toys on the playground, and they don’t share what they have as adults. Even if they have more than enough, they feel people need to get their own, and there is no need for them to share what they have.


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They are never satisfied and always want more, even at others’ expense. They say it’s hard to get to the top without stepping on others, or maybe just selfish people think that. For selfish people, the desire for more will win out over anything, even core morals.

Avoiding responsibility

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They shirk responsibilities, especially when it involves contributing to others’ needs. Our Mindful Life gives the example, “A selfish person on a group project at school wants their name on the final presentation. But they have trouble finishing their parts.” They are the roommate who will never take the trash out or clean their eggshells out of the sink and claim it’s because they are “chill.”

“Me-first” mentality

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They prioritize their own needs in decision-making, often at the expense of others. This person only unpacks their personal stuff during a move; while you’re unpacking the kitchen, they’ve already got 80% of the walk-in closet filled with their belongings while your bags sit unopened. They usually justify this with “I have to look out for me; no one else will,” but the reality is that it’s just a self-centered mindset.

Lack of accountability

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They don’t admit fault and may blame others for their shortcomings. They are perfect, or even if they know they aren’t perfect, you’ll often hear, “That’s just the way I am; take it or leave it.” They will also blame their partners for not reminding them to do things they were supposed to do instead of owning the fact that they didn’t do them.


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They often self-promote and seek attention, disregarding others’ contributions. They will make sure everyone knows what they have accomplished, even if they didn’t do it all on their own. They won’t, on the other hand, acknowledge the help they received from others and help shine a light on them.


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They focus on acquiring wealth and power for themselves. Always having a fancy car and a big house and making sure their outfits are always designer can be signs of a selfish person. Psychology professor Dr. Tim Kasser says, “We know from research that materialism tends to be associated with treating others in more competitive, manipulative, and selfish ways, as well as with being less empathetic.”


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They are preoccupied with their own lives and problems, ignoring others. Some consider this “main character syndrome,” where they believe they are the center of everything and everyone else is a supporting cast in their story. To an extent, this is true of all of us; however, they never acknowledge anyone’s plot line outside of their own.

Resistance to criticism

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They don’t accept constructive criticism and may view it as a personal attack. Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D., says, “When criticized, narcissists show themselves woefully incapable of retaining any emotional poise, or receptivity.” This statement also applies to selfish people who often hold narcissistic traits; criticism, even when constructive, is a blow to their ego that they cannot handle.

Lack of concern for consequences

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They act impulsively without considering the impact of their actions. As long as they get what they want, the consequences are of no consequence. This is not even a means to justify the end type of situation; this is a “I got Sally fired so I could get a promotion” type of lack of concern.


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They can be rude or disrespectful to get what they want. Pay attention to how they treat the servers; this is a sure sign of how they treat people in general. If someone is rude to a server, it is because they find people beneath them. This type of unkindness is a sign of a selfish person.

Sense of superiority

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They believe they are better than others and deserve special treatment. This is the next step up from the server situation; watch how they treat your friends and other people around them. If they act like others are below them, beware of the selfish and narcissistic alarm that may be going off in your head.


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They seek to control situations and people to meet their needs, often violating boundaries. Abigail Brenner, M.D., wrote in Psychology Today, “Manipulative people are really not interested in anyone else except for getting them to unwillingly participate in their plans.”

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