The good thing about “selfish” people is that they take care of themselves — so 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 or 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. Make sure you express and go after your own desires and needs — in a positive, life-enhancing way!
“I feel that you are selfish” expresses a negative judgment or complaint, not a feeling or request. When people hear negative judgments, their defenses come up and their hearts close down.
The most effective way to deal with people who seem a little selfish is to take care of your own needs and to pursue your own desires. Don’t expect them to stop what they are doing in order to take care of you. You will produce better results if you engage and entice the person rather than criticize and complain.
“Let’s do something that we both enjoy. Do you want to watch the game and then go to dinner?”
“I left you some dinner, and have to go pick up the kids. It would be great if you could clean up. See you in a little while.”
“Let’s go to the beach. I have a nice bottle of wine.”
“I am going to see a band in town tonight with Damian and Corey. It would be fun if you’d join us!”
by Alison Poulsen, PhD