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Conversational Narcissist: What Makes One, 25 Signs & Ways to Handle Them

If you dominate a conversation, you’re probably a conversational narcissist. Since a conversation takes two, try and close your mouth once in a while.

conversational narcissist

There are some people in this world that are harder to deal with than others. If you find that you have to spend a lot of time with these people, it can drive you slightly crazy. You’ll definitely feel that way if you have to spend a decent chunk of time with a conversational narcissist.

If every conversation you have suddenly turns to them and they’re not interested in anything you have to say, you might just be dealing with this type of person. Frustrating? Yes.

But how do you know if you might be a conversational narcissist? Maybe you deflect the conversation to yourself out of nervousness or lack of things to say. Either way, learning what you’re doing can give you awareness and help you change your habits.

[Read: What types of narcissism should you be on the lookout for?]

What is a conversational narcissist?

First thing first, what is a conversational narcissist? This is someone who isn’t so great with conversations. They turn everything in the chat around to them, and if it’s not about them, they’ll somehow insert themselves into the conversation and make it so.

Don’t try to get a word in edgeways because it won’t work!

You might hear the word ‘narcissist’ and panic. If you feel that you might be someone who loves to hog the conversational limelight, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a full-blown narcissist who no one wants to be around.

These types of narcissists aren’t usually as bad as the others. However, learning how to spot the conversational narcissist signs and change your behavior means you’re more likely to make and keep friends. [Read: What causes narcissism? The facts and theories to read a narcissist]

Types of conversational narcissism

While conversational narcissism is pretty much talking about yourself and not being interested in talking about anything else, there are two main types to explore.

An active conversational narcissist shifts any conversation their way. They might utter a few words or sentences to make it sound like they’re interested in what you’re saying, but it won’t be long before the chat is about them.

For example, if someone tells you that they’re looking to buy a house, you’ll tell them that’s great and then talk about how you’re looking too. You won’t think about asking any further questions about their situation. [Read: 45 happy ways to keep a conversation going and be a lot of fun to talk to]

On the other hand, a passive conversational narcissist doesn’t even bother to hold a conversation that’s about anything other than themselves. They’re great with “uh-huh,” “hmm,” and “ahh” but that’s where it ends.

For example, someone might tell you about a great restaurant they went to last week and you just make noncommittal noises as they add more and more detail. You appear uninterested. But then, you see a chink of opportunity to talk about a restaurant you enjoy, and you take over the conversation. [Read: How to make small talk and talk to anyone without feeling awkward]

Conversational narcissist signs

If you think that you might be a conversational narcissist, it’s important to spot the signs before deciding for sure. Then, if you feel like you’re agreeing with many of them, you can start to change your behavior by actively listening to other people and asking them questions.

Remember, it’s not all about you!

The main conversational narcissist signs include:

1. People avoid talking to you

If you always dominate the conversation, at some point, people tire of listening to you drone on.

Too nice to say anything, they avoid talking to you because it feels more like a storytelling session than the give and take of a conversation. [Read: Why don’t people like you? The 20 most common reasons]

2. You look back at the conversation and you can’t think of anything they said

When you are a conversational narcissist, then you aren’t really paying attention to what people are saying.

You are just waiting for your minute to jump in and steal their thunder. You might be listening to the words, but only to find a relationship that brings the conversation back to awesome you.

3. When someone starts talking, you already try to relate it to something in your life

You constantly go through your mental category of similar stories so you can bring it back where it belongs – on you. [Read: How to be an adult: 15 mature ways to grow up and behave like one]

4. You say things like, “you think that’s bad… “

You have a list of intro phrases that break up what anyone has to say so that it can be all about you. Like a comic leads into their skit, you transition to dominate the conversation and make it about something much better – you.

5. You are bored with what other people have to say

If you sit in your chair while people are talking thinking, “Man, is this boring, when are they going to stop?” then you aren’t someone who really wants the give and take of a conversation. You are more about the give. [Read: 19 ways to be a much better listener in a relationship and read their mind]

6. You always have a “better” story

Whatever someone says, you think your story is one level better. Like a competition, you constantly try to one-up someone.

Even if you have told the same story about a thousand times, you hold people hostage to hear it again. Whatever they have done, you have done better. Whatever crazy thing they did, you have done something crazier.

That makes you a conversational narcissist. [Read: People who talk too much]

7. You think people don’t have anything to say, but you just don’t let them

If you leave every conversation thinking that everyone else is shallow, then there is a good likelihood it wasn’t that they didn’t have anything to say. You probably didn’t give them so much as a second to get more than ten words in edgewise.

If everyone else says nothing and you feel like it is your job to fill in the gaps, you create them for your own good.

8. You feel like you entertained the audience all night

Guess what? You didn’t. If you feel like every night you “killed it” when you were in a group of people, then you’re a conversational narcissist. A conversation isn’t the same as a lecture group.

It isn’t your job to entertain people. It is your job to talk and listen. You’re missing the listening portion. [Read: How to make people like you: 35 tips to charm absolutely anyone]

9. You raise your voice to break in when someone is mid-story

If you are in a group of people who aren’t listening, then you demand they do by talking super loud. Not just to get your point across, but to get the floor back.

Talking loud and being obnoxious isn’t buying you any friends nor will it keep people wanting to be around you. Hush up and listen once in a while.

10. You worry you were a little too forthcoming

If you leave most of your conversations feeling like maybe you said too much or went too far, then guess what? You did.

You know you dominate the conversation by talking about anything, whether it is too personal or not. It is all about getting attention and keeping people listening. [Read: Proper social etiquette: Rules that redefine modern manners]

11. You’re too quick to disclose everything about yourself

If you never stop and think “maybe I shouldn’t say ____,” then you say way too much. Probably because you think people want to know every inch of your life. The truth is they probably don’t. You make them uncomfortable by showing your conversational narcissism.

12. You have a tendency to hang out with uninteresting people

You choose people who intentionally don’t have much to say so that you dominate the conversation.

You believe the people who have something to bring to the table are just time wasters and breaking in on your “talk time.” You go out with people to hear yourself talk, not to listen to people drone on and on about themselves.

Again, it’s all “me.” [Read: How to be more interesting – 21 tricks to go from boring to lovable]

13. When your stories get old, you move along

When you see the glaze go over the crowd, you move on to the next group of victims to tell the same set of stories. You start it with “you think that is bad… ” and wear it out all over again.

14. Your text history is all you, with odd patches of their lines

Some people are not just conversational narcissists but also social media and texting narcissists.

If you have a chat or text session with someone with 20 lines for every one of their one lines, then you dominate the conversation. They probably aren’t even reading your words, hence the completely superficial responses. [Read: Selfishness in relationships: 15 tips to do the right thing]

15. People know everything about you, but you don’t really know much about them

If everyone knows your life story, but you have no idea who they are, and you have been friends for years, then the chances are that you are a conversational narcissist.

You use people to be your therapist but you aren’t into being someone else’s counsel. Nothing they have to say is important enough to tune in for very long, so you know nothing about them. [Read: 23 secret signs of narcissism people overlook until it’s too late]

16. You feel awkward

You’re likely feeling awkward when you’re having conversations because you’re hogging it all and you can tell that other people want to get away. You’re picking up on their vibes.

They’re probably trying their best to be polite and to nod along with your stories, but one of the biggest conversational narcissist signs is that you’re just not feeling that connection. It’s no wonder!

17. You’re constantly thinking of your next line

While they’re talking, you’re not paying attention. Instead, you’re constantly trying to think of the next thing to say.

Dominating the conversation in this way doesn’t give them any chance to put forward anything of note, and then, you feel they’re boring and terrible conversationalists.

It’s not even a conversation anymore; it’s a series of stories that you’re telling. [Read: Why is talking to people so hard?]

18. You use a lot of filler phrases

If you find yourself saying things like, “do you know what I mean,” “you know,” or, “at the end of the day …” then you’re filling the blank spaces while you try to think of something else to say. You’re not giving anyone else a chance to get a word in.

19. You don’t ask questions

One of the ways a back-and-forth conversation is possible is by asking questions. You ask a question, they answer, you listen, you ask another, you listen, you add something about yourself, then you listen to their side.

You know the drill. But if you’re a conversational narcissist, you don’t do this. [Read: 73 red flag narcissism signs and traits of a narcissist to read them like a book]

How to respond to a conversational narcissist

Of course, it might not be that you’re a conversational narcissist, but that you’re dealing with one. It’s frustrating and it makes you wonder why you bother even trying to talk to them.

So, how should you respond to them?

1. Acknowledge and listen, then move the conversation on

If you don’t acknowledge what a conversational narcissist is saying, they’ll just try and say it more. So, make sure you acknowledge them and listen to what they’re saying, and then change the subject and try and turn it around a little.

[Read: How to speak clearly – Your how-to-guide to speaking successfully]

2. Prepare beforehand

If you know you’re going to have to talk to this person, do some thinking beforehand. How are you going to approach the conversation to try and keep it away from them?

Or, how long are you going to give yourself to talk to them before deciding you’re busy and need to go?

3. Set boundaries

If this person is going on and on about themselves, you need to set boundaries to tell you when enough is enough. Set a time limit and know when you’ve heard enough and want to change the subject.

Don’t just stand there for hours listening to them talk about their own lives. [Read: How to set boundaries – the crucial steps to feel more in control]

4. Respond with empathetic confrontation

The word ‘confrontation’ might be misleading here. What you need to do is show that you’re listening and that you understand but be firm in your desire to change the subject.

Say something like, “oh that’s terrible, that must have been really upsetting for you. Do you know, I heard about …” and then try to turn the conversation in another direction.

5. Don’t take it personally

It’s annoying and you’re fed up with always listening to them, but don’t take the whole thing to heart. It’s a part of their personality and unless they’re keen to change it, there’s not a whole lot you can do.

It’s not something you’ve done to cause the situation. [Read: Tips for setting boundaries with difficult people]

6. Always have an exit strategy

In the end, you’ve got to know how to get away. So make sure you have a plan on what to say to get away from the conversation so you can breathe!

What to do if you are a conversational narcissist

Noticing the conversational narcissist signs in yourself doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a narcissist. It just means that you aren’t very good at the give and take in a conversation. And that’s something you can change.

Be more aware of what you’re saying and doing when you’re talking to people. Force yourself to stop talking and listen. Then, ask questions and try to be genuinely interested in what they’ve got to say.

It will take time and practice, but you’ll eventually break free from your conversational narcissist ways.

[Read: Ways to be a better listener in your relationship]

If these conversational narcissist signs relate to you, just hush for a bit and think about listening to what other people have to say. You never know, their stories might actually be as entertaining as yours.

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...