To stay balanced when spending time with a self-absorbed friend, create healthy energy boundaries.
It’s challenging to have a friend who is self-absorbed. Self-centered people need to be the center of attention; they dominate conversations with their latest drama or escapades, sucking the energy out of everyone around them. If the friend has a negative attitude and is no fun to be with, it may be time to let the friendship go. But if they are charming, joyful and the two of you have a strong bond, you might want to explore the following ways to stay balanced when spending time with them.
How to Stay Balanced with a Self-Absorbed Friend
Stay centered within your self. Don’t focus all of your attention and energy on your friend; keep some of it for yourself. Center within yourself and create healthy energy boundaries by being aware of your own breathing, sensations, emotions and thoughts while listening to your friend. This will help you stay balanced and not feel as depleted.
Turn the conversation around. Interject in the dialogue to bring it back to yourself from time to time; don’t let them control the conversation. Share your own stories and if they interrupt, politely ask them to wait until you’ve finished.
Choose when and where. Set clear boundaries around how you want to spend time with your friend. Agree to get together when you feel strong and uplifted, not when you’re tired or unwell. And suggest places and activities that energize you so you’ll feel less drained by their self-absorption. Know what your boundaries are
Tease them with amusement. If your self-absorbed friend has a habit of interrupting everyone else’s story to add their own, joke with them about how they do this. Humor makes it easier for people to see their own foibles.
Have a heart to heart. If you’re really triggered by their self-centered behavior, but you want to keep the friendship, talk to them about it. Avoid judgment and blame and instead communicate from the heart and soul. Let them know how much you appreciate the friendship. Be clear and specific as you share your feelings; what behaviors affect you, and what is the result? Do you feel unheard, unimportant, drained? This discussion may spark a personal growth opportunity for them.
I hope these suggestions help. You also might enjoy reading Dealing with People Who Drain Your Energy.
Do you have any questions or additional ideas for how to stay balanced when spending time with a self-absorbed friend? Please comment below.