I seem to attract self-centered people as friends. I tend to be a very good listener and polite (even when I don’t feel like it) because I know what it’s like to not be heard. Growing up with a mother with some degree of narcissism has a lot to do with that.
For instance, I have a co-worker who basically verbally vomits at me every morning. I hate to sound so crass but it is what it is. She clearly looks disinterested when she isn’t the center of attention, with me or anyone else. It’s annoying. One would never guess she’s actually 32yo. If you call her out on her behavior, she cries or otherwise loses her grip. I’ve never called her out but have felt like it. However, others have and the results are not pretty.
Another example is email. I know a couple people who will initiate email with me and in the past I have replied. Now I just don’t feel like it. Reason being is they will type out a long email describing a situation or wondering what to do about a problem. After I reply, nothing…..I may not write a response as long as theirs but I do respond in a normal fashion. It makes me end up feeling like my co-worker’s behavior tends to, like a sounding board or just the wall…as though the person (me) doesn’t matter, just that they are talking.
I know I’m not perfect either but this self-centeredness issue irks me more and more. It’s not as though I want the conversation to be about me, not at all. But it’s pretty easy to spot those who don’t pay attention, are always thinking of the next thing they are going to say, or are clearly bored when the spotlight’s not on them.
Any ideas on how to deal with this kind of thing, especially when it’s a co-worker? I don’t want to alienate her as we do work together. I don’t think my she’s a narcissist, but who knows, I’m not a psychiatrist either. But extreme self-centeredness, even if it isn’t related to narcissism somehow, does seem to reek a bit.