person pointing at themselves
Chantel Brink
Chantel Brink
January 22, 2024 ·  6 min read

14 things selfish people always do

Selfish people have no idea that they’re selfish. Ironic right? In their mind, they’re just putting themselves first – that’s a good thing to do. The problem is, they value their own happiness above the people around them.

Walking over people is not a good trait and According to F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W. from Psychology Today, “Being concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself; Having no regard for the needs or feelings of others.” Whereas relationships require give and take without record-keeping, selfish people sap the love and respect you affectionately offer with little return value.

It can be difficult to spot a selfish person. They blend well and are masters of hiding their less desirable side. “Books have been written about narcissism, “Generation Me,” even “healthy” selfishness. But when someone you have to deal with regularly is consistently self-involved and self-centered, they can make your life miserable,” says Barth about dealing with selfish people.

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Art Markman, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Texas, told SELF, “When we call someone selfish (as a trait), we mean that they consistently put their own goals ahead of those of other people.”

He also noted that in more extreme cases, you see what is called a “Dark Triad” which includes high levels of narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism. “People high on these traits tend to be quite selfish and manipulative,” he explains. The best way to guard yourself against them is to learn to spot the warning signs early on, before you end up left in a spin.

Selfish people are master manipulators

They never question their own motives. “Controllers, abusers, and manipulative people don’t question themselves. They don’t ask themselves if the problem is them. They always say the problem is someone else.” says emotional healing expert Darlene Ouimet. Selfish people seek to control and will resort to emotional blackmail when their tactics don’t work.

Selfish people are always scheming against you

Especially true with narcissists, “Manipulative people are really not interested in you except as a vehicle to allow them to gain control so that you become an unwilling participant in their plans.” says Abigail Brenner M.D. from Psychology Today. They sometimes hint at possible future events with fear, covering themselves well enough so that when things crash, they end up reminding you that they “told you so”.

Selfish people don’t care about others

Selfish people generally neglect the needs of others around them. If you share your emotions with them, they pick at the weak spots and bring out your deepest guilt and use it against you.

Some notable phrases you’ll see a selfish person use are “If you really loved me, you’d never question me” or “I couldn’t take that job. I wouldn’t want to be away from my kids so much.” Look familiar?

This is when you really need to focus on your own health and well-being and take back control. Put yourself first – you owe this to yourself.

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Selfish people are conceited

Unsatisfied with only being put first, they dig even deeper. They need to put you down in the process, making the things you say seem irrelevant and ignoring your needs.

“If someone is both totally self-involved and uncaring about anyone else, they are not likely to be very responsive to you in any way other than evaluating how you meet their needs.” Barth mentioned.

Selfish people struggle with sharing

You may know someone you suspect is selfish, but you have your doubts – they may come across as being caring as well. I’ll tell you this now, it’s all a lie.

Being sharing is not a trait they find themselves familiar with and they will always expect something in return. They seek praise for their actions – let their gestures go unnoticed and avoid praising them as this will just reaffirm their actions.

Read: Easy Life Changes That Instantly Make You a Better Person

Selfish people prioritize their goals over yours

When we call someone selfish (as a trait), we mean that they consistently put their own goals ahead of those of other people,” says Art Markman, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Texas and author of Brain Briefs.

They need other people because without them, they lose leverage and this is why they have no issue violating boundaries to get what they want. They expect others to serve them, so tread carefully and don’t offer up whatever it is they want.

Selfish people show no vulnerability

Selfish people would never do anything without expectations attached. They live by the motto of “What’s in it for me?”

They work hard on safeguarding themselves against vulnerability as they are terrified of showing others their weaknesses which is why they avoid helping others in any way possible.

Selfish people hate constructive criticism

Their huge egos would never allow them to accept any form of criticism, especially the positive kind. Being egocentric by nature, they get annoyed and sometimes even enraged by others offering any form of feedback. They see this as an attempt at their demise and defend their bad actions by refusing to accept responsibility.

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Selfish people are entitled

Selfish people are self-centered and expect rewards for very little effort. Their reasoning? They deserve it. “They believe they should be perfect, you should be perfect, events should happen exactly as expected, and life should play out precisely as they envision it. This is an excruciatingly impossible demand, which results in the narcissist feeling dissatisfied and miserable much of the time.” says Margalis Fjelstad, PhD.

Selfish people ignore those who disagree with them

Have you ever had someone constantly talk over you? Selfish people don’t engage in conversation, they talk about themselves.

If you disagree with anything they say, they make you the enemy and immediately let go of any respect they may have initially had for you. Criticism helps you grow, but selfish people expect you to do it for them.

Read: 7 Things You Should Never Apologize For

Selfish people thrive on criticizing others

Nothing in this world is easier than judging others while ignoring their own shortfalls. “They believe they are better than other people, and usually, the variables that are self-enhanced are related to “power and status,” says Rhonda Freeman Ph.D. about their idea that they are just better than anyone else.

Selfish people overvalue their achievements

Selfish people lack humility which is a necessary human virtue that allows us to develop and grow. They seek out ways to boost their own achievements and you simply cannot change their mind. “Indisputable evidence of their inaccurate, overly inflated self-assessment does not change the self-view of someone high in narcissism,” says Rhonda Freeman Ph.D.

Selfish people fear failure

Public humiliation is probably their biggest fear. Selfish people run from failure and when they fail, they will blame whoever they can get their hands on to avoid embarrassment. But when it comes to others’ failures – they jump at the opportunity drop the catchphrase “you should’ve seen that coming.

Selfish people are dominating

Selfish people want to win. No matter the cost. They are recognized by only calling when they need you, only joining in on ventures that they feel they can extract value from the situation and they will masterfully wrap you around their demanding fingers which rapidly becomes hard to break free from. This is why many victims of selfish people lose confidence in themselves.

Dan Neuharth says that “Narcissists distort the truth through disinformation, oversimplifying, ridiculing and sowing doubt. Narcissists can be incredibly skilled at using classic elements of thought-control and brainwashing.”

Dealing with a selfish person

You need to remind yourself that selfish people run when you no longer serve their purpose, so make sure to safeguard yourself from their plot by holding on to your own personality. Reinforce your assertiveness and you’ll find they disappear swiftly.

Keep Reading: What You See First Could Say A Lot About The Way Others See You


  1. Selfish people: 14 things they do and how to deal with them.” Hack Spirit. Jude Paler.
  2. 10 Ways To Assess and React To a Selfish Individual.” Psych Central. Tamara Hill.
  3. “Am I a Selfish Person? I Set Out to Find Out” SELF.
  4. “4 Ways to Deal With Selfish People” Psychology Today.
  5. “9 Classic Strategies of Manipulative People” Psychology Today.
  6. “15 Signs You’re Dealing With A Narcissist, From A Therapist” Mind Body Green.