So what I really meant was…
“Let’s do something that we both enjoy. Let’s watch the game, go surfing, or go to dinner.”
“I feel that you are selfish” expresses a judgment, not a feeling. When people hear negative judgments, their defenses come up and their hearts close down.
When dealing with selfish people, it’s best to take care of your own needs and do what you enjoy. Don’t expect them to stop what they enjoy in order to take care of you. If you want to share more time together, engage and entice them rather than criticize and complain.
The good thing about “selfish” people is that they take care of themselves—you don’t have to. They can also be full of passion and vitality because they do things out of interest rather than out of obligation and guilt.
This same tendency, however, can make them less aware and concerned about other people’s needs. It’s important, therefore, that your expectations match the reality of a person’s character — so enjoy the positive and protect yourself against the negative.
by Alison Poulsen, PhD