Some people are capable of turning every single conversation into a monologue about themselves. They always steal the spotlight, making it impossible for others to say a word. These individuals are called conversational narcissists, and they can be extremely difficult to handle.
How can you spot a conversational narcissist?
Conversational narcissists have no intention to keep the balance in the conversations they are involved in. Instead, they go out of their way to make it all about their persona. In their minds, the whole world revolves around them, and no one has the power to convince them otherwise.
As per Charles Derber, an American sociologist, conversational narcissists have a strong tendency to dominate discussions as they want to focus on themselves. In the book ‘The Pursuit of Attention: Power and Ego in Everyday Life,‘ he explains that these people are unable to stop talking about themselves, and they cannot stand sharing the attention with someone else.
Usually, these narcissistic beings tend to take charge of any conversation, regardless of its topic. This way, they make sure no one else gets the chance to express a different opinion or any opinion at all.
Initially, most of them appear easy-going and talkative. They are open to sharing details about their lives, and getting to know them is quite enjoyable. However, this expressive talkativeness soon turns into a toxic trait. Eventually, no matter what the subject is, they will always have control over the conversations they are involved in.
How to handle conversational narcissists?
In general, narcissists are self-absorbed creatures whose only goal in life is to take advantage of others as long as it serves them. The second someone stops being of use, they cut them off without any explanation. When it comes to conversational narcissists, this self-centeredness is highlighted in the way they handle discussions. With the rising of social media influencers, you are most probably affected by such individuals on a daily basis.
Here are 4 ways you can deal with conversational narcissists:
1. Be a good listener, but have your limits.
In some situations, the person you consider a conversational narcissist may be in a higher position in life. Therefore, listening to them could be something you cannot avoid. However, you can stop their nonsense with a simple trick. As soon as you realize the point of their monologue is to provoke your admiration towards their persona, interrupt them with a positive comment about them. They would definitely appreciate your words, and you will be free to leave the conversation. But if they continue bragging about themselves, you need to stop them before their toxicity starts affecting your mental health. For instance, you can tell them that you have work to do, and you may continue chatting later.
You need to let toxic people know that you don’t have time to listen to them boasting about their fake glory over and over again. To assert that, you must set healthy boundaries. Your energy is not a neverending entity, so you need to make sure you don’t waste it on people who add no value to your life. The best thing you can do is limit your interactions with narcissists as much as possible. And if you cannot do that, take your time to mentally prepare yourself before engaging in a conversation with such individuals.
3. Don’t expect a miracle.
As much as we wish they do, most people never change. So, don’t expect a conversational narcissist to magically turn into an empathetic human being. It’s not going to happen. Don’t demand anything from them because you will be left with nothing but unmet expectations. When you feel ready to put an end to your talk, be assertive about your decision and simply walk away.
4. If you can’t beat them, join them.
Perhaps the best way to handle a conversational narcissist is to beat them in their own game. By using reversed psychology, you can overpower them and shut them up once and for all. Turn the tables and start talking about yourself. Tell them all about your ambitions, struggles, dreams, and emotions. And if they try to interrupt your monologue, criticize them for being too insensitive and not letting you speak. This way, you will give them a taste of their own medicine, which will be a real game-changer.