Have you talked to friends or family who always make every conversation about themselves? Whether you are talking about penguins in Antarctica or natural disasters, they will have a way to shift the conversation to be about themselves.
Did you have a hard day at work? Theirs was even much harder.
Did you get a promotion at work? They, too, just landed a new job.
If the conversation seems to be over 80% about them, you probably are dealing with a conversational narcissist.
Who Is a Conversational Narcissist?
A conversational narcissist always turns any conversation around and makes it about themselves. If the conversation is steered from them, they are no longer interested and would step away from it. In a fast-paced world, a conversational narcissist may come out as someone eager to get their points across quickly without trying to make any genuine connections.
However, they may do this so tactfully it may take you ages to realize what kind of person you are dealing with. They, too, are maybe doing it unconsciously. They may not know how they are conversing with people around. And if you are not familiar with the signs of conversational narcissism, you will not spot them, and sometimes you may even blame yourself.
Signs of a Conversational Narcissist
Some psychologists note that someone can exude signs of a narcissist without being one. And they also note that it is more common than people know. We discuss the signs of a conversational narcissist below. If you spot these in a person, you can take steps and set healthy boundaries to protect yourself. We, however, recommend that you leave everything else, including diagnosis, to psychologists.
This is true because conversational narcissism in a person is often intertwined with other mental problems such as anxiety, so you want to leave every other thing to professionals.
Now, let us get straight into signs that you are dealing with a conversational narcissist.
#1: One-sided Conversations
A conversational narcissist cannot seem to move away from an agenda around them. You will realize that a conversation with them appears to be more of a monologue or a soliloquy. And, they seem not to notice that the conversation is no longer a dialogue. They make the conversation a monologue and will continue regardless. They will not let you chip in your thoughts.
#2: They Interrupt a Lot
Interrupting when someone is speaking has always been wrong. However, doing it once or twice in a conversation is pardonable. If someone is constantly interrupting people in conversation, something is questionable.
And why do they keep interrupting? At first, if a conversational narcissist interrupts you, it may come out as if they are being resourceful or being helpful. However, if you look at it, after several interruptions, you will realize that they interrupt only to steer the conversation towards themselves.
#3: They Cannot Stop Talking
Narcissists are often seeking approval and favor from other people. With this, they will always talk to win people. And their conversations end up sounding more like lectures than conversations. They will keep going on and on. And sometimes, the discussion aims to show how smart, unique, or very knowledgeable they are.
However, you want to differentiate this from a chatty and extroverted person. A talkative person would most likely recognize that they speak a lot. And, they talk more to contribute to the subject at hand. A conversational narcissist would unconsciously hijack the conversation and turn it around to make it about themselves or something that favors them.
#4: They Are Not Interested in Talking About Anything Else
For the conversational narcissist to stay engaged in the conversation, they have to be the one talking. If you are talking, you have to be talking about them. Anything out of this, you will quickly realize that they are distracted, uncomfortable, bored, contemptuous, and visibly uninterested. The world has to revolve around them, or they are out.
#5: Know It All
Do you know anyone that keeps trying to prove that they are right? They could be a conversational narcissist. And, if they receive any form of opposition, they will argue and keep pushing even if it is much easier and logical to let go. The conversational narcissist has to appear like an expert in any conversation. And, they have a strong urge to correct people, even try to win their opinions. It is an arrogant pattern that they will exude in every conversation.
However, you need to know that some people are chatty and know-it-all regarding emotive subjects. If they only appear as experts when talking about, say, cars or books, they could just be passionate about it. If they appear to be experts in every conversation, it is questionable.
#6: Constant Self-praise
A conversational narcissist would repeatedly talk about their achievements. Don’t get it wrong; there is nothing wrong with talking about one’s achievement. However, if the person keeps praising themselves without being prompted, they are probably looking to gain the favor of an audience. Their urge to keep praising themselves is because they suffer from a superiority complex.
#7: Giving Unsolicited Advice
Sometimes, people just want to speak out about what they are feeling. However, if you do it to a conversational narcissist, you will realize that they offer unsolicited advice. And, the advice is not only unasked for; it is often self-serving and sometimes actively destructive.
This is because they were not actively listening at first. They will therefore give unasked advice to showboat and not try to help.
#8: Manipulating The Conversation
A conversational narcissist likes to take the lead in conversations. And they use that position to steer the conversation to serve their agenda and look like they have been through it all. If you have done something, they have done it twice. And, you will find yourself wondering how you got to that point in a conversation with no connection to the initial agenda.
Every conversation has to be something transactional-like from which they can benefit.
Being stuck or even speaking to a conversational narcissist can be lonely. You will never get a chance to express yourself or even get your thoughts out of your system. It is even more frustrating as they keep shutting you down.
If you find yourself talking to a conversational narcissist, first, do not take it personally. You can, however, choose to empathetically express what you feel towards their self-centered attitude. If it does not work, you are better off limiting your exposure to them. It is better to take time and find someone you can have a dialogue with rather than receiving constant monologues from the narcissist.