Ever had someone in your workplace or peer circle that pulls everyone toward them? It’s not that they are the very best looking person or the most successful. It’s something else. Something that’s hard to pinpoint until you spend half an hour in the glow of their exciting life. Well, an exciting life according to them.
They are so deeply excited about their own activities, thoughts and feelings; they cultivate an air of interest all around them. These are wonderful people to have at a dinner party or to greet at their own book-signing. They are the sparkly shiny lights of social interaction. The ones who are the very best at the art of throwing fairy dust around those picked to be in the circle for the night. But be careful, the game with self-centered people is to stay focused on them, unless you want them to move on.
Here are some clues you may be dealing with a self-centered person and how to deal.
Self-centered people don’t RSVP. It’s that simple. The reason? Something better may come up! When you are playing the social world for your advancement, you can’t commit to anyone. That could tie you down when the better offer comes in. And it could, at any moment. It’s irrelevant if it’s a 6-seater dinner party or a monster birthday bash. The power of keeping things loose also guarantees a surprised ‘so glad you could make it!’ when they grace a party with their presence. And if they don’t get a greeting that rises above the others, what’s the point in showing up at all?
How to deal? Don’t get your hopes up. Really, don’t.
Waiting for the “How Are You?” could be a long wait. What they are doing is awesome. What you are doing is fine, really it is. You’ll know it’s fine because if you squeeze in a personal update they’ll nod for a moment. Then they’ll scan the room behind you because your time is pretty much over unless you can say something really fast to get the conversation back around to the important subject at hand – their greatness. So keep a file in your head of their accomplishments, great fashion choices and TV appearances. Those are approved subjects for you to talk about, at least until someone better comes along.
How to deal? Enjoy their stories and keep yours for someone who cares.
Fill their needs
Get ready to hand over your expertise, connections and time.If a self-centered person deems you worthy of a fleeting friendship, get your wallet out. And your list of contacts. Oh, and could you walk their dog? It’s small and yappy and actually needs to be carried while you walk around the block. They have tickets to a show, with someone else, but it’s so great to have a friend like you. Friendship is one way in their world. What other way could it be? Expect to pick up the tab. And introduce them to contacts you’ve established. And favors will be required, which you have plenty of time to deliver because you have so much less to do than them.
How to deal? When you are ready to let them go, just assert a boundary. Works every time.
Why we love ’em
All snarky aside, self-centered people – the best of the bunch – are charming, funny and in the moment. They do something that helps other people relax; they claim the spotlight. Groups shift and change until roles fall into place. And knowing who is going to be the ‘fabulous’ one gives everyone else permission to simultaneously judge and delight in them. Why do we care who they are dating? Because we actually love them. Admit it! You invited them to your party because you hoped they would come. You talk to them because you’re interested. And having resources for them to exploit gives you a feeling of being in the light.
To keep from getting resentful of their self-involvement, save your quality relationships for people who really care about you and your well-being. And when you need a little drama at the dinner party, save a hopeful seat for your self-centered friend.