Near the top of everyone’s list of turn-offs in a prospective partner —or even a casual date—is excessive self-absorption. No one enjoys feeling their only role is to smile and nod in amazement at someone else’s incredible life, or to constantly cater to another’s opinions, tastes, wants and needs, without reciprocation.
If you’re already well into a relationship with such a person, you have no trouble recognizing self-centeredness. But is it possible to see it coming, long before you’ve invested time and energy in someone who is destined to disappoint you? Yes, it is.
Here are five common ways a self-centered man may give himself away, even at a distance:
His online persona screams ‘me, me, me’
Granted, no one ever presents a fully accurate self-portrait on social media sites. But the kinds of things we choose to post speak volumes about what we value most. In the case of the self-centered man, the message is loud and clear: He cares most about himself.
Where others might share photos of the scenery after a day at the beach, he posts a selfie showing off how he looked without a shirt. If he’s stuck in traffic and angry, all his social media fans know about it. They’ll also know what he ate for lunch, his heart rate on the treadmill at the gym and, for that matter, the fact that he goes to the gym every day. He rarely posts something others might find useful or inspirational.
His body language is toward inwardly, not outwardly
What do we mean? In theater it’s called “upstaging.” That’s when an actor chooses his position to purposely obscure someone else from the audience. In a crowded room, a self-absorbed man will be sure he can be seen—and heard—by as many others as possible. That means he’ll rarely be found on the margins or—under any circumstances—with his back to the bulk of the crowd. He will always adopt a posture of dominance, never deference.
He doesn’t just have eyes for you
No matter who he’s talking to at the moment, his eyes never stop roving—because he’s dying to catch someone admiring him as much as he admires himself, or to be aware the moment someone better has arrived and he can stop wasting his time with you. Fleeting eye contact reveals another telling clue: Even when not talking, he’s not really listening.
He only wants to talk about himself.
If a man is self-absorbed, he’ll be unable to go very long without directing the conversation toward his favorite subject: himself. Reveal that you’ve just returned from vacation in France, and he’ll tell you all the reasons he hated it there — or loved it — without any apparent curiosity about your experiences or opinions. Mention sports and you’ll learn that he was once roommates with Peyton Manning’s cousin, or that he could have played college ball himself, if not for that injury (or whatever).
He doesn’t spend much time with men
More than anything, the self-centered man dreads competition. He’s unlikely to spend much time around other men — or women—who steal his thunder or displace him from center stage. Pay attention, and you’ll notice him quickly drift away in search of people who are more agreeable.