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Is this becoming more common?

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or have I just been unlucky? I have had at least 3 friendships which have foundered on these shores in the last few years. Psychology Today refers to this phenomenon as "inadvertent narcissism".



Well before narcissism became a term used widely in the public vernacular, University of Iowa Communication Studies professor Anita Vangelisti (now at the University of Texas) and colleagues (1990) conducted an insightful study into what they termed “conversational narcissism.” According to these authors, “conversational narcissism is typified by an extreme self-focusing in a conversation, to the exclusion of appropriate concerns for the other”


The following are the four categories along with examples of the most frequent forms of each that the research team developed:



  1. One-upping the other’s disclosure
  2. Questions that demonstrate superior knowledge
  3. Putting others down


  1. Shift responses that refocus the attention on the self
  2. “I” statements
  3. Longer time of talking
  4. Exhibitionism
  5. Exaggerated hand/body motions
  6. Exaggerated facial expressions
  7. Loud tone of voice
  8. Touching the other

Interpersonal relationships:

  1. Glazing over when the other person talks
  2. Looking over the other person’s shoulder (as if listening to another conversation)
  3. Poor listening
  4. Not asking questions of the other person

The main things I find difficult when trying to interact with others in a way that makes you feel they are interested in you as well as wanting to talk about themselves, are the last 4 - ie someone who gives you the impression they are just waiting for you to finish so they can recommence their monologue. Louder and longer talking, also. Lack of asking you ANY personal questions whatsoever. And if you've had a headache, they've had a brain tumour kind of thing.

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In general, my mother took no interest in my life. Hence, I never saw an individual's desire to only speak of themselves as aberrant behavior until I saw a guy friend do it. His parents insulted him 24/7, so I sort of felt bad for him and let him chatter on. I find that these posts you make are quite enlightening. I never thought to analyze myself or things that I let go, and these posts allow me to learn many things. I am probably quite tolerant of people, as I dislike feeling that anyone would go through what I did as a child. In the same way, people who are this narcissistic are simply not equipped to be friends on equal terms. I have ditched people like this along the way, mostly because it becomes exhausting to hear their version of life, as it differs with every conversation. Moreover, I think that you (meaning @Morrigan ) are worth a great deal more and have such an interesting life. If no one is willing to listen, bye.
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@Anna - I have probably spent my whole adult life analysing my own and others' behaviour, as a way of coming to terms with the past, mainly. I find that in the last decade I have become a lot less tolerant of this kind of behaviour as described above - I would just rather be enjoying my own company than spend time with someone who behaves in this manner. It now makes me very impatient indeed. I do think that the maybe people have become more self centred in that the old courtesies of behaviour and conversation are not observed any longer. Maybe I'm just getting old.

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