Naturally, most human beings love to talk about themselves. It is a pleasurable experience to tell others our interests, hobbies, and what we had for lunch. What if we find ourselves turning every conversation into another story about us?
What Is A Conversational Narcissist?
Sociologist, Charles Derber, coined the term Conversational Narcissist to describe a person who has the tendency to shift the focus of each discussion to themselves. Oftentimes, when people do not know what to say, they resort to bringing up the most comfortable topic they know: themselves.
Conversational narcissism is not always self-serving. When we take in new information, it is normal for our brains to search for similar experiences in order to relate. Our brains are actually trying to process the information in order to better understand what the other individual is trying to relay. Looking at our own experiences can help us understand others.
When It Is Harmful
Others confide in us when they need to express a thought, feeling, or just want to be heard. A loved one will more than likely not come to someone who constantly talks about their own experiences the next time they are in distress. Being a conversational narcissist might cause the loss of friendship, empathy, and trust.
The use of encouragement responses are strategies that are not used by a conversational narcissist. Encouragement responses focus on the thoughts and feelings of the other person. They show that someone is paying attention, which reassures them to continue speaking. An encouragement response essentially does two things. It says, “I hear you. Please continue.” If someone says, “I need to go to the grocery store,” you can say, “I also need to go to the store.” Turn the response back by saying, “What do you need at the store?” When others trust you to take turns in a conversation, they have more confidence in you. That certainty may lead to them telling you something they have never told you before, thus creating a more empathetic bond.
For more information on conversational narcissism or any other mental health issue, we are here for you. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Amy Wine Counseling Center at 832-421-8714.