Selfish people can be so childish, but rather than passing judgment on them, we suggest using one or more of these 9 comebacks when you have to talk to a selfish person.
You would avoid a selfish person if you could, so most likely if you are reading this article, it means that you regularly have to deal with a selfish person who you cannot avoid. These can be your coworkers, family members or people in the community that you have to see often.
If only all humans could be open-minded, kind, and generous with our love we might have no more war, crime, or people suffering from depression and other mental illnesses. But until that unlikely day comes, let’s look at some comebacks for when you have to encounter a selfish person.
9 Comebacks for Dealing With Selfish People
You may recognize this article topic as a similar one that we have covered before. In fact, if you search our website for the word ‘comeback’ you will find multiple articles that we have done for handling toxic people, rude people, manipulators, and fake people.
What all of these have in common is helping you with the difficult language that can be involved when you confront someone’s behavior that you dislike. A comeback is your way of speaking up for yourself, setting boundaries for behavior that you will tolerate, and not allowing disrespect toward yourself.
Using your language this way is a powerful tool to protect yourself and show yourself love. Read our article 7 Warning Signs You’re In A Relationship With a Sociopath if you are concerned that the selfish person is your romantic partner. Selfish people can be manipulative, so protect yourself.
1. Silence is golden
Someone has just said something terribly selfish. Let their words hang in the air as you gaze at them in silence for a few, long, seconds. Pausing like this gives the selfish person a chance to hear their words again and process how you might have taken their meaning in a negative way.
Don’t leave them hanging too long, but make sure you let the silence speak your disappointment in their behavior. Your facial expression will probably already show your reaction to the selfish person’s words. Let that say all you need to say.
2. ‘That is not what is best for me.’
This statement may sound selfish, but it reflects your assessment of what the selfish person has asked for, and it sets a boundary that you do not want them to cross.
3. ‘It sounds like you want ___. Is that right?’
Let’s get really clear about what the selfish person is doing to you. When a selfish person talks, it is all about them.
4. ‘I would like a turn to speak when you are done.’
A selfish person can monopolize the conversation and unless you make your expectations clear, you might not be able to speak your mind.
5. ‘Let’s see if we can find a compromise.’
A selfish person wants things their way, and they aren’t really thinking about your wishes. You may need to give a little ground, but you certainly shouldn’t need to give up everything you want so that the selfish person can have things their way all the time.
6. ‘I want ___’
The selfish person got to tell you what they wanted, now be sure to tell them what you want. Be clear, be calm, be logical. Channel your inner Mr. Spock for this conversation.
7. ‘Can you see that what you want is not in my best interests?’
This approach is an attempt to get the selfish person to see your point of view. It might not work, but it doesn’t hurt to ask them to TRY to see things from your perspective.
8. ‘That doesn’t work for me. How about ___ instead?’
You’ve made it clear that you do not accept what the selfish person wants and you have stated your preference. What happens next is up to the selfish person’s ability to change their mindset.
9. ‘Let’s talk about what’s best for both of us.’
Again, trying to gain the cooperation of the selfish person will benefit both of you. Researchers studying selfishness found that when there was a choice between a purely selfish result and a result that would benefit the group, a brief discussion before making the choice resulted in people choosing the option that benefitted the group 100% of the time.
(BONUS) 10. ‘I value your suggestion.’
In a study of motivation and self-control, researchers say ‘the clash between selfish motives and behaviors that promote social acceptance, set the stage for the necessity of self-regulation.’ Exercising self-control when we do not get what we want by regulating our speech and behavior is difficult for a selfish person because if their idea is not automatically accepted, their self-esteem suffers.
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This may be the most difficult for you to say, but politeness is always an excellent comeback for dealing with a selfish person. Helping to boost the self-esteem of the other person may help you to receive cooperation from them.