Our relationships come in a variety of forms, from long-term friendships, romantic liaisons, familial relationships, fleeting friendships, and beyond. It doesn’t matter what type of relationship you have with someone, all of them require a healthy measure of communication. Now, communication is more than verbal, there are plenty of nonverbal cues that highlight insights you may not pick up through verbal cues.
When you embark on a new relationship, it’s exciting. You feel optimistic about it, whether it’s a romantic interest or simply a new platonic friendship. If you’ve had difficult relationships in your history, then it’s nice to seize on the optimism new relationships offer. That is, of course, until you get a better read on someone and realize they’re just not that into you.
You feel exhausted trying to make this person care about you. You’re constantly presenting your point of view and the other person simply isn’t interested in your feelings. They’re missing a sensitivity chip, there’s a deficit there — unable to understand the emotions of others because they lack empathy.
For you, it’s frustrating to spend time with someone who only speaks of themselves while shutting down any attempt you make to share information about yourself. They’re interested in information that aligns with what they perceive you as and other than that, they’re more likely to talk at you, they use a condescending tone, they often manipulate you into believing that not only are they right, but that your feelings just don’t matter much.
That’s difficult to deal with, but the biggest favor you can do for yourself now is to recognize the signs that someone doesn’t care about anyone other than themselves. Your lesson starts here.
Questioning Your Relevance
Whether you’re dealing with a selfish person or a full-blown narcissist, they’re the type of people who constantly question what you’re saying. They will question whether it’s relevant and if it’s relevant, they will question whether it’s valid. It will reach a point where they suggest it’s selfish of you to even voice your opinion.
It’s Entirely One-Sided
Do you always call first? Are you the first to reach out by text? Do you suggest plans? If it’s always you, then you have to ask yourself why? Is this person a flake or are they just so involved in themselves that you don’t cross their mind? Good friends can go a while without contact, but if someone you’re in a relationship is constantly ghosting you… there’s a bigger issue at play.
Someone who cares about you won’t make excuses or flake on you, they’ll be open and honest. They want to hang out with you and if they don’t have time, they’ll just tell you that! We’re all busy, but if you’re the only one putting in any effort, then you know the problem isn’t you.
If you want to know how this person speaks about you, take a look at how they speak about other people. Do they commonly attack the characters of others, including their significant other or close friends? If so, they do the same to you. There’s a massive difference between friends venting to each other in a healthy, productive way and the emotional toxic dump that we’re referring to. You can vent without attacking people directly, and an attack makes it clear they lack integrity and respect.
Do you have people in your life who only hang out with you when the stars align for them? If it’s convenient for them to see you, then they will. When you offer ideas and suggestions, they try to lead you to what they want to do. For example, the friend who only reaches out when they have relationship drama they want to dump on you. You’ll know the difference because an occasional crisis is different from a constant crisis.
They never ask questions about what you’re up to, what you’re doing, or how you’re doing. They’re entirely interested in refocusing the conversation back to them if it ever strays. It often circles back to a woe is me attitude as they unload looking for sympathy and pity. They’re the people who don’t want details about you, they’re not listening to anything you say, they’re in it for them.
Difficult Conversations Are A No-Go
Well, if you’re prepared to listen, which someone who doesn’t care about anyone other than themselves would be, then you’re ahead of the curve. They’re not prepared to listen, they’re not prepared to speak, they don’t want to have the difficult conversations. They just don’t and they’ll shut it down however they can. Stop wasting your energy on people like this. If it feels like they just want you to play a certain role in their life, it’s not for you. You’re constantly growing as a person and no one should stand in the way of that evolution.
One of the reasons many of these people won’t have those tough conversations? They’re not ready to be held accountable. They want to blame anything and everyone else for their behavior or choices. They’re not going to acknowledge their role in the situation.
The foundation of every healthy relationship is trust and when you’re dealing with dishonest people, you can’t build healthy relationships. When someone cares about themselves only they’re happy to be dishonest to avoid accountability. They tend to lie about absolutely everything and anything. Some might do it for their entertainment, others might not even realize they’re doing it. Either way, head in the opposite direction.
The people who have always pushed past your boundaries to get their own way… they don’t like it when you establish (or re-establish, for that matter) your boundaries. The more firm you get with your no’s, the harder they seem to push. They try manipulation, they even try guilt and shame. They feel entitled to your energy and time, and they will do anything to get their own way. There’s only one thing you can do when you’re in this position — walk away.
Do you experience anxiety, shame, dread, or guilt in relation to a specific relationship? That’s not a normal response to any type of relationship. So, if you’re experiencing negative emotions and it’s tied to a relationship in your life, you might want to question whether your emotions are trying to tell you the other person is only interested in themselves.
Where Do You Go From Here?
Well, once you’ve identified these problematic people in your life, you can address the issue directly and/or walk away from the relationship.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but if you see any of these signs present in any of your relationships, you’ll be far happier and healthier if you deal with them.
Don’t ignore red flags, whether it’s your spouse, parent, sibling, or a friend.
There’s a good chance you already had a feeling that something wasn’t right in this (or these) relationships.
You’re strong enough to deal with this and move forward in happiness and health.