12 June, 2011

The Self-Absorbed

The Self-absorbed is a tamer type of negative friend than the Risk-taker. Still, especially over the long haul, a friend who does not make the time to listen to you will eat away at your self-esteem. For you to feel good about yourself, and for your friendship to thrive, you have to be more than a sounding board. The Self-absorbed does not care; she listens to you only because she is waiting to speak.

Self-absorbed chatter is a way of covering up an inability to tolerate silence which some, especially those who have intimacy problems, may find excruciating. You may ask your friend to try to become more aware that she is talking non-stop, and about herself, when it's really a nervous habit designed to fill up the time and space. Could your friend learn to relax more? Enjoy silence? Learn how to ask questions so that you don't feel like a dumping ground?

Is this a trait your friend is aware of and choosing to ignore, or is she unaware of it but once aware of it, she will be capable of changing it? If change is not possible, is there enough that is positive about this friendship that you are willing to continue it even if it is decidedly lopsided?

Perhaps, in a gentle and non-offensive way, you could ask the Self-absorbed friend if she seems to notice that the give-and-take is unequal, that she shares more about her life than you get to share about yours.

With the Self-absorbed friend, you might want to plan an activity to share that minimizes this problem, such as playing tennis, going to the movies, or taking a class. You might want to carefully consider sitting next to the Self-Absorbed on a five-hour train ride or having lengthy meals together, just the two of you. As with the One-upper, whose profile revolves around excessive jealousy, involving more friends with the Self-absorbed might help to offset her nervousness as well as create some additional 'air times' that will even out the balance of power.

(source: Jan Yager
/photo copied from another website)



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