You love their sense of humor, but find they never listen to what you have to say. You admire their adventurous streak, but feel drained from constantly doing them favors. Realizing someone is selfish can often be difficult to accept. While you may love their positive qualities, it’s important to take steps to safeguard yourself against a selfish person.
1. Know where your weakness lies.
Recognize what weaknesses you expose in the relationship. Do you fail to speak your mind? Do you give endless energy, time, or money? Decide where you can grow to protect yourself.
2. Stick to your limits.
Now that you have defined your weaknesses in the relationship, determine what you are willing and able to give. Remember: giving constantly without receiving anything in return is not being selfless. Make a firm commitment to yourself to stick to your boundaries. If you need help, ask a friend or family member. Is your lunch date going over the hour you’ve set? Have your sister check in and encourage you to wrap things up.
3. Keep it short and sweet.
Selfish people are draining, so keep your interactions short. If the person is a family member, make time to go on an errand or a walk to recharge. Likewise, keep your responses and input in conversations short and infused with as much kindness as possible.
4. Script your response.
If need be, have scripted responses to different scenarios or topics that come up often in your interactions together. Is she asking you for another favor? Decide beforehand how you will say no. Is he spending hours venting about his problems and dismissing anything you bring up? Come up with an exit strategy. While this may seem harsh at first, selfish people will not stop until you tell them to. You are the best advocate for you!
5. Learn from them.
It’s been said that the people who come into your life are teaching you something about yourself. Recognize and even be thankful for the lesson they have brought you, whether it’s shedding light on a personal weakness or showing you the selfless person you want to be in your relationships with other people.