Am I Selfish?: 21 Signs & What’s Positive About It (2024)

We all tend to be selfish sometimes. 

But if you’re constantly selfish till it has become a major part of your character, that’s another story. 

If you need honest answers to “Am I selfish,” read on to learn signs you are plus much more!

Signs You Are Selfish

You don’t need to have all the signs to know you’re generally selfish. However, if a couple of these signs sound like you, it’s time to accept this sour truth. And move forward to learn more about it.

Let’s get started already!

1. It’s Mostly About You In Conversations

A conversation should have a nearly 50/50 balance of talk among participants. But if you’re the one taking the space in most talks you have in your day-to-day life, you’re probably selfish.

It’s hard to sit and listen to others talk if you’re selfish. You’d always want to talk about what you like, what you’ve discovered, how someone or something bothers you, and so forth. Statements like “What about you” or “What do you think” would be alien to you.

If this sounds like you then you’re more selfish than you think.

2. You Force Your Preferences On Others

Selfish people put their preferences above those of others, thinking they’re the best.

Whether it’s watching movies they like, ordering food they enjoy, or hanging out with people they like only, being around a selfish person leaves you with only their preferences to choose from.

If this sounds like you, then it’s fair to be called selfish.

3. You Ask Favors From Others But Aren’t Willing To Give Them Yourself

Asking favors from others isn’t bad since we all need assistance from time to time. But it becomes selfish when you repeatedly turn down favor requests from others yet you enjoy it from them.

While you might be excused when you’re not  in a position to return a favor sometimes, it becomes inexcusable if you’re always “not in a position.” If you dig deep enough, you’ll realize you’re usually not willing.

And that makes you a selfish person.

4. You Break Promises At Your Convenience

Do you go back on your word every time you feel uncomfortable about fulfilling your promise? Then you might just be another selfish person.

To be a promise-keeper isn’t easy. Whilst you might make seemingly perfect plans to fulfill your promise, obstacles may come up that you have to go out of your way to get past them. This is what separates the selfless from the selfish. 

Of course, we’re all imperfect and might miss out on our promises sometimes. But if it becomes a habit, it would be described as consistent selfish behavior. 

5. You’re Habitually Manipulative

Do you twist the truth to get what you want? If you constantly manipulate people into doing whatever you want, then you’re selfish.

You might guilt trip, gaslight, and use any emotionally unhealthy psychological strategy to get things done your way. 

  • Maybe you ensure your partner is always the one to apologize during arguments. 
  • Or perhaps you’re willing to guilt-trip people in your life often to handle your responsibilities.

If manipulation is a tool you use often, you’re probably a selfish person.

Am I Selfish
Image by Sammy-Sander from Pixabay

6. Many People In Your Life Have Accused You Of Selfishness

Maybe you’ve asked for feedback in the past. Or perhaps too many have exclaimed how selfish you are. Or maybe that’s what brought you here wondering in the first place.

When many conclude a particular character about us, it often is true.

But keep in mind that it all depends on the context. If the many you’ve been getting feedback from are haters who don’t know you well online, you might need further evidence from people who deeply know you. 

But if all your exes along with some of your coworkers/friends/ kids have accused you of selfishness, it probably is true.

7. You Punish People For Not Getting What You Want

If a selfish person doesn’t find a way to manipulate people to get what they want, they mostly ensure they punish them.

If you are selfish, you’ll habitually use punishing tactics like silent treatment along with other revenge strategies to show your disapproval. 

8. You Think Your Needs Are Above Other People’s Needs

Picture the spoilt brat who throws tantrums when they don’t get the expensive gift they want despite the financial crisis in the family. Now think of the subtle ways you inconsiderately push for your needs to be met despite the unfavorable circumstances for others.

If you’re selfish, fulfilling your needs and wants are by far more important than compromising to meet other people’s needs.

9. You Always Focus On How You Can Win In Every Situation

While taking every opportunity seriously to create profit for yourself isn’t bad, being consumed by such a desire can reveal how selfish you are.

Having a winning mindset for yourself and others also is a better way to go.

10. You Don’t Mind Hurting Others To Get Ahead

In a quality selfish quiz, you’ll find questions like, “Do you mind stepping over others to get ahead?” If your answer is “yes” then you might just be a selfish person.

Selfish people can do anything to achieve something they really want for themselves – even if that “anything” includes others getting hurt in the process.

While you might cover it up with the concept of survival is for the fittest, keep in mind that the truly fittest manage to get a solution that doesn’t put others in jeopardy.

Related:  Selfish People Traits and What to Learn From Them

11. You Rarely Give Anything For Free

If you’re a selfish person, this is one way to know it for sure: that you give but with an ulterior motive. Where you know you’ll get praise, respect, favor, or whatever you want, there you’ll give.

But you rarely or never give where you know you won’t get anything in return.

This type of calculative giving is common among selfish individuals. It also manifests when you get resentful over not receiving the results of giving you envisioned. 

As dark as it seems, it’s not something to hold you down. You only need to master the art of generosity.

12. You Hold Back On Knowledge So Others Don’t Get Ahead Of You

Whatever the setting, if you keep quiet about knowledge others need, you might as well be called a selfish person.

Maybe you think others would replace your position in a company, friends circle, or family. Maybe you’re afraid of having no edge over others.

Whatever the case, holding anything you have, including knowledge, makes you selfish. But once you discover that you gain knowledge by sharing knowledge, you’ll stop holding back.

13. You Don’t Like Teamwork

If you don’t like sharing knowledge and skills because of selfishness, you’ll have no desire no teamwork. After all, teams prioritize cooperation, something selfish people prefer not.

Therefore, if you’ve been asking yourself, “Am I selfish for wanting to do things alone,” this sign proves it all.

14. You Believe You’re Always Right

Self-centered people are so self-absorbed that they always think that their perspective of the world is the right perspective. It doesn’t matter what topic it is, a selfish person knows it all – or at least, whatever they know is all correct.

You’re Always Right
Photo by Jopwell from Pexels

So if you commonly:

  • Disagree with people strongly
  • Reject other people’s points of view –

You might just be a selfish person.

15. You Rarely Reschedule For Someone Else

Do people meet a sure “No” when they request a reschedule from you? Are you commonly rigid with your plans with others? If your answer is “mostly yes” then it probably is true that you’re selfish.

Rescheduling even when convenient to us is a generous act of patience with others. But most selfish people don’t ascribe to this thinking.

16. You Cancel Plans Whenever Convenient To You

It is not just about rescheduling. Selfishness can manifest also in your unreliability in fulfilling plans with others. 

It shows how inconsiderate you are of other people’s feelings and compromises when you carelessly choose to cancel mutual plans.

It’s like everyone else has to be reliable but not you. That whenever anything comes up in your life (even if it’s not that important), everything and everyone else doesn’t matter. They have to suck it up and accept your decisions.

17. You’re A Control Freak

Selfish people tend to be controlling of their own lives and those of others. This they do because they can’t take into consideration the needs, beliefs, and preferences of others.

To them, the world needs to conform to their standards so they can be comfortable. All this is the behavior of very self-absorbed people. And if you have this behavior, that makes you a selfish person.

Learn more Insights – Selfish vs Self-Centered vs Sel

18. You Like Being The Only One At The Top

Many selfish people are afraid of being inferior. The thought of being of any less authority than the top is so terrifying that they strive to be the ones dominating conversations, the only person with certain advantages, the only ones leading a charmed life, and so forth.

This drives them to not give compliments, celebrate, or give much good to others in the hopes that they’ll be the only ones holding great benefits.

If this sounds like you, then you may be sad to know you’re deeply selfish. 

19. You Don’t Reciprocate Effort In Relationships

Adult relationships need to have around 50-50 effort balance in showing love.

Reciprocate Effort In Relationships
Image by CoxinhaFotos from Pixabay

For instance, if you’re best friends with someone, you need to make an effort to show that you love them by:

  • Inviting them in activities they’re likely to enjoy
  • Offering money or any other kind of support as much as you are able
  • Taking care of them when sick or whatever hard time they’re going through
  • Being willing to listen to them and showing empathy

Of course, if you’re in a relationship with a selfish person, the above essential efforts to maintain the friendship won’t be from them. It’ll be as if you’re the only one who likes them, playing the wing woman or man in their lives, and many other inconsistencies which make the relationship imbalanced.

If when honest with yourself you realize you feature this sign, then you’re subtly selfish.

20. You Break Any Rule That You Aren’t Comfortable With

I’m all about self-expression but not all of it is about self-care. Some of it is selfishness in disguise.

While self-expression won’t objectively hurt others, selfishness would hurt others. If it’s a no-smoking zone full of people and you choose to smoke there nonetheless, you wouldn’t be expressing yourself but being selfish.

Think of the ways you’re careless about rules simply because it’s not convenient for you. You might just realize how selfish you are.

21. You Habitually Have Acquitances But No Real Friends

Many people claim to have no close friends because of many reasons. Some even wear it as a badge of honor learning from the way they almost brag about it.

But the truth is mostly that they’re selfish, keeping people at arm’s length and that’s why they remain acquaintances. After all, having close friends would mean being generous with time, money, and other benefits of a friendly society.

But of course, if you’re a selfish person, you’d want none of that. It’s too scary. 

What’s Positive About Being Selfish?

Although the word selfish from its innovation has been a word connoting excessive self-seeking behavior, many have turned it into a form of self-care. 

But in truth, there’s nothing positive about selfishness. Let’s call selfishness for what it is (a vice) – not confusing it with self-care (a virtue). In fact, Psychology Today states, “Selfishness is considered the emblem of narcissism and hence shunned.”

So you don’t have to conform to people’s justifications of what’s bad behavior.

But with the kind of healthy self-focus known as self-care, you can:

  • Enjoy thriving well-being: When you’re aware of your needs, you can take care of them more so you can have the energy and resources to take care of others as well
  • Have better relationships: While you won’t hold back benefits, you wouldn’t be taken advantage of either since you’ve set healthy boundaries
  • Be a better leader: A leader with a heightened self-awareness knows how to take care of themselves so they can take care of others with a balance of cooperative collaboration
  • You’ll be happier: While making time to enjoy yourself in activities you love, you can relate much better with others having satisfaction and joy in your life.
  • You’ll be more confident: Since you know your worth and what you bring to the table, you can easily gain success by assertively sharing your ideas. For instance, it’s not selfish to pitch your idea during a meeting when it’s your time to talk.

You see? The above benefits of self-care have been wrongly touted by many people as selfish advantages. But now you know it’s about self-care.

What Causes A Person To Be Selfish?

A person becomes selfish due to mental health problems such as the narcissistic personality disorder which causes one to be excessively self-absorbed to the extent of disregard for other people’s needs. This can be learned since childhood or developed along in life through emotionally-packed events.

How Do I Stop Being So Selfish? What To Do When You Realize You Are Selfish

Here’s how to deal with selfishness:

  • Practice putting yourself in other people’s shoes to become more considerate of their needs
  • Get out of the “I want” vicious cycle and start asking yourself “What do I really need?”
  • Practice modesty in how you think of yourself not as the most important person but merely a human playing their part in this vast world
  • Celebrate others
  • Consider criticism and change for the better
  • Practice more gratitude instead of constantly fretting over what you don’t have
  • Help others whenever you can just because they need the help
  • Practice being a better listener
  • Dial down on talking about yourself
  • Get interested to know others
  • Get into volunteering
  • Share the knowledge you have
  • Collaborate with others
  • Spend time with generous people

Am I Selfish For Wanting To Be Alone

It’s not selfish to want to be alone so you can gain self-awareness and also enjoy yourself in solitude. However, if you want solitude for long stretches till you shut out people, it might be a mental health problem you need to know about. In all cases, you need to know your intentions for wanting to be alone so that you can achieve the balance you need and also spot any mental health issues you might be experiencing.

Am I Selfish In My Relationship

If you show some of the above signs you’re selfish in a relationship, it’s probably because you are. In a nutshell, if you don’t try to meet the needs of your partner to the best of your ability but focus on your own needs and wants above everything, then you’re probablyy selfish.

Selfish Behavior Examples

Here are examples of ways you can be selfish:

  • You cancel plans with others for no important reason
  • You manipulate others to do what you want despite it harming them
  • You force others to watch movies you like because you want to watch them
  • You interrupt others when talking and even go on to talk about yourself
  • You promise someone something and they anticipate it only to not show up without a valid reason
  • You don’t help people who need your help even though you have more than enough

Why Am I So Selfish And Lazy

You’re selfish and lazy because you tolerated recklessness in life to the point it became your lifestyle. For some, it starts in childhood because their parents didn’t mold them to be responsible humans. For others, it starts in a certain pivotal moment of freedom or trauma where one starts being careless about life until it becomes too destructive in everyday life.

However, you can change this by starting practicing ways of becoming the responsible person you want to be. You can check out ways to stop being selfish above plus this resource on overcoming laziness and practicing the strategies recommended.

How Do I Know If I’m Self-Centered? What Counts As Being Selfish?

  1. It’s Mostly About You In Conversations
  2. Many People In Your Life Have Accused You Of Selfishness
  3. You Ask Favors From Others But Aren’t Willing To Give Them Yourself
  4. You Break Promises At Your Convenience
  5. You’re Habitually Manipulative
  6. You Force Your Preferences On Others
  7. You Punish People For Not Getting What You Want
  8. You Think Your Needs Are Above Other People’s Needs
  9. You Always Focus On How You Can Win In Every Situation
  10. You Don’t Mind Hurting Others To Get Ahead
  11. You Rarely Give Anything For Free
  12. You Hold Back On Knowledge So Others Don’t Get Ahead Of You
  13. You Don’t Like Teamwork
  14. You Believe You’re Always Right
  15. You Rarely Reschedule For Someone Else
  16. You Cancel Plans Whenever Convenient To You
  17. You’re A Control Freak
  18. You Like Being The Only One At The Top
  19. You Don’t Reciprocate Effort In Relationships
  20. You Break Any Rule That You Aren’t Comfortable With
  21. You Habitually Have Acquitances But No Real Friends

Final Word

If you’ve been asking yourself “Am I selfish,” then I believe you now have your answer. 

To sum it all up, you’re selfish if you reveal most if not all of the above signs you’re a person who excessively seeks to fulfill his own interests with little to no regard for the needs of others.

But just like any other behavior, you can change that as well through the insights we provide within this piece and the rest of the site.

And before you go, if you like this article, share it with others to help us reach more people!

About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.