The Characteristics of a Selfish Person

Did you know that selfishness can be justified in some cases? Being a person who manages themselves, can set boundaries, and is careful about how they spend their time is a good thing. It's all about moderation.
The Characteristics of a Selfish Person

Last update: 11 June, 2022

Can you recognize a selfish person when you’re in front of them? Do you ever suspect you might be the one who is?

Self-centered people’s characteristic traits are easy to spot. Maintaining relationships is often complicated for these people, but there are actually some advantages to being selfish.

Jacinto Benavente, a Spanish dramatist used to say that people should be a little greedy with their own needs to better the world around them. Today’s article will tell you how how to recognize a selfish person and explore when it’s more than acceptable to be so.

What’s selfishness?

Let’s start by defining it, The Merriam-Webster defines selfishness as “concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself: seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others.”

Selfish people don’t only not like to share but want everything for themselves. You can imagine the many conflicts in their relationships. This is because sharing and generosity are the basis for cooperating with others.

Funny but we can only perceive selfishness in others. In fact, most people justify their own selfish attitudes while complaining about the self-centeredness of others.

Read about How to Distance Yourself from Toxic People

The traits of a selfish person

Now you know a little more about what selfishness is so you probably already know how to identify a selfish person. Check out some of the most significant ones below, see if a certain someone comes to mind after you read them.

A greedy person.
A selfish person will be significantly attached to money and thus, greedy as well.

A selfish person always tries to take advantage of others

Selfish people don’t mind trampling on those around them to get what they want whether it’s spending less or taking advantage of a situation to move up in their job. In the end, the only thing that matters to them is themselves, their own feelings.

They never share

A selfish person only shares when they have no choice and don’t like it at all. It’s rare for them to lend anything and will always find an excuse not to.

A selfish person is an expert manipulator

Manipulation is a serious problem and relationships with a selfish person usually end badly. This is because they only think of themselves and mainly use others.

They lack empathy

A selfish person doesn’t care about others because they lack empathy. Thus, they’re the opposite of humble and are actually convinced that the world revolves around them. Their self-importance makes them believe others are lucky to do things for them.

A selfish person is distrustful of others

This trait is kind of funny. Selfish people lack empathy and use others for their own benefit and thus, are, quite distrustful. It may just be an excuse to justify their actions, though.

Are there any advantages to being a selfish person?

There are advantages to being a selfish person and you should only think about yourself in certain situations. Indeed, there are times when you must prioritize your own feelings and make decisions based on them.

Let’s look at some examples:

  • It helps set boundaries, as some don’t know these exist and don’t even realize they may be taking advantage of others. Being selfish in these cases will keep it from happening.
  • Respecting your own priorities is healthy. In fact, things will end badly if you don’t. You must always take care of yourself first.
  • You’ll work better, be more confident at work, and even reach leadership positions when your selfishness is healthy. This is because you won’t be afraid to ask for a promotion if you deserve it. You’ll also transmit your confidence to the rest of your colleagues.
  • Taking care of your body and mind and prioritizing your needs doesn’t make you a bad person. Quite the opposite! There is such a thing as healthy selfishness.
A person setting boundaries.
Learning to say “no” is part of positive selfishness management.

Managing selfishness

As you can see, certain amounts of selfishness can be positive and even healthy.

In fact, feeling at ease and having peace of mind can lead to better relationships and professional fulfillment. Balance is key though, it’s ok to be a little bit selfish, just make sure it doesn’t get out of hand.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Almeida, T. D., & Dourado, L. M. (2018). Consideraciones sobre el amor, los celos y el egoísmo: una revisión integrativa de la literatura brasileña. Boletim-Academia Paulista De Psicologia38(95), 179-190.
  • Lluch Llopis, Ú. (2020). Una aproximación a la ética de Schopenhauer. Las nociones de egoísmo y compasión.
  • Pinilla-Rodríguez, D., & Sánchez-Recio, P. (2020). El egoísmo en el pensamiento de Thomas Hobbes. Interpretación y racionalidad cooperativa. Cinta de moebio, (69), 241-254.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.