Egocentric Bias | Relationship

How Egocentric Bias Erodes Trust in Relationships Without Notice

The Role of Egocentric Bias in Disagreements In Relationships

Som Dutt ☯
Psychology Simplified
5 min readJun 2, 2024

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Human beings are trapped in personal perspectives or our own truths. We often forget our personal perspectives have limitations that hinder us from thinking about the other side of the story.

We are all heroes of our story, but we do not know why. Our senses and memory deceive us when it comes to counting efforts in a collaborative work.

“Most of us hide behind egocentric biases that generate the illusion that we are special.”

― Philip G. Zimbardo, The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

Our lack of understanding of our partner’s perspective and contribution causes many problems in the relationship. It makes it hard for us to trust our partners even if they are right.

It tricks us into thinking our partner is lying. One of the biggest silent killers in most relationships is egocentric bias which distorts our reality and understanding of our partner’s perspective.

But understanding egocentric bias can broaden our wisdom and we can save our falling relationship. It can minimize the frequency of arguments between couples and make their connections stronger and trustworthy.

The Science Behind Egocentric Bias and Relationships

The term egocentric bias was invented in 1980 by Anthony Greenwald. Egocentric bias is a flaw of our memory system that makes us believe in our illusionary reality.

It is a condition when we put our perspectives and opinions above facts, reality, and other’s perspectives. It hinders our brain’s capacity to see things as they are.

We always put our thoughts and feelings in the front seat compared to others. We value them a lot, even if we overestimate them. New startup companies also overestimate their worth.

“The spotlight effect phenomenon is an egocentric bias in which people tend to believe that they are being noticed more than they really are.”

― Vanessa Patrick, The Power of Saying No: The New Science of How to Say No that Puts You in Charge of Your Life

It’s like if you ask a girl to rate themselves out of 10 based on their beauty. She will always rate her above 5. In fact, many girls rate themselves 8/10 or 9/10 even if they rank below 4. This egocentric bias happens without us knowing.

There are many intelligent people once they become successful, they always think their views are right. For example, Elon Musk, Jordan Peterson, and Andrew Tate.

According to Science, our brain tries to eliminate difficult and complex perspectives. Understanding other’s opinions is difficult and our brains like to take shortcuts.

That is why, we often have arguments with our roommates, teammates, and couples because we always think we are putting in more efforts and neglect other’s contributions

The Blame Game: Unfair Blame Shifting Due to Egocentric Bias

Our brain filter out our flaws and faults. That is why we always try to blame others when things go wrong in the relationship.

“Your level of ignorance is based on what you believe you know and your ego.”

― Kemi Sogunle

Egocentric bias always escalates conflicts among couples because we judge our partners unfairly.

Blaming our partner without listening to their part of the story and ignoring our flaws always increases the probability of making smaller issues bigger.

We wrongly accuse our partner unknowingly. Over time, we erode the trust in the relationship.

The Trap of Ego

Our ego is the biggest culprit that tricks us into believing we are right. Our egocentric bias also makes our minds defensive when our partner gives us constructive feedback and calls out our mistakes.

“Misunderstanding arising from ignorance breeds fear, and fear remains the greatest enemy of peace.”

― Lester B. Pearson

This is the state when we stop listening to our partner. We stop replying to them on text messaging apps even if we block them from all social media platforms. Sometimes we try to give them silent treatment by ghosting them.

Real-Life Consequences and Impact of Egocentric Bias on Relationship

Egocentric bias makes our partners feel ignored. It can lead to many misunderstandings. Our partner can think their feelings and words are not valued.

“One misunderstanding casts us into the world of misunderstanding, which we must put up with as a world composed solely of misunderstandings and which we depart from with a single great misunderstanding, for death is the greatest misunderstanding of all.”

― Thomas Bernhard, The Loser

When we stop listening to our partner’s perspective, it becomes difficult for them to fix the arguments. It can lead them to depression and loneliness. It can hurt them over time.

Final Thoughts

As per what I have understood about relationships, we have to make our communications flexible so that our partner is freely allowed to represent their point of view.

Some partners become very rigid when they start arguing with their partners. Sometimes they give very little time to their partner to speak and clarify.

“In a single moment of misunderstanding, You forgot the hundreds of lovable moments, We spent together in each other’s arms. That one single moment was enough, To splinter our relationship forever”

― T. Shree, You & Me Are “Imperfectly Perfect”

If we want to sustain our relationship longer, we have to focus on actively listening to other’s perspectives. A good listener is always a good partner.

We can break the cycle of egocentric bias by listening more, communicating more, admitting mistakes, talking openly, thinking more before reacting, and taking time before judging the person.

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Som Dutt ☯
Psychology Simplified

Top writer in Philosophy & Psychology Since 2021. I make people Think, Relate, Feel & Move. For My Detailed Long Essays visit — https://embraceinnerchaos.com