Notes to myself: Conversational narcissism. Where that comes from?

I’ve heard about this term while listening to a podcast and instantly connected it with myself and my conversations with others. It wasn’t a glorious moment to admit it, and I started paying more attention to how I communicate. Some say I’m too harsh on myself and they disagree with me, they see no such behaviour from my side, and they are partially right. I do not tick all the boxes of typical conversational narcissism, but I do tick some. As you can imagine, this is something worth working on.

What is “conversational narcissism”?

TLDR; all discussions become about us, but it is a bit more complicated than that.

Yes, conversations are becoming about us, our agenda and message we want to put out there, but that’s not our real goal. Conversations quickly evolve into monologues and storytelling. We will keep moving away from the main subject, finding ourselves jumping between different topics to the point of losing the plot — this his awkward moment when we feel that our minds are far ahead than our mouths.

I think there are different flavours of conversational narcissism and a lot depends on context and environment we are in. Some people will do it at work, others in personal life. Some people need to prove something, others are looking for attention. In the end, don’t we all want to be just heard? The worst part — we don’t even know we are doing it. It comes naturally, that’s who we are, maybe that’s how our parents have been communicating — talking only about themselves, interrupting each other all the time, always steering the conversation to focus on what they wanted.

Aren’t social media about (conversational) narcissism too? They foster it by encouraging the “how awesome our life is”? To make it worst, they often drag us into devalued conversations based on a simple principle of: I stroke your ego, you stroke mine.

Notes to myself

  • Shut the f*** up!
    Seriously, I don’t have to fill the gaps. I should leave some space and time, let people talk. They will always have something to say if I give them space and not overwhelm with the amount of information.
  • Soft voice.
    I get easily excited about topics that have special meaning to me. Raised voice and spitting words at a speed of light distract my listeners and make it impossible to understand the message I want soo much to be heard.
  • Avoid “me me me”.
    When someone says something that resonates with me, that doesn’t mean I have to quickly find a connection and similarities by sharing some of my stories from the past. It might be not that interesting and I’m missing the point.
  • Don’t give advice.
    Giving advice when not asked is only a way we want to show our superiority over another person. Quite often, all people need is to be listened to and understood.
  • Ask questions…

Highly accomplished and results-oriented professional with background in leadership, software engineering, automotive, photography and design.