OT - dealing with self centered friend

notINtheband

Very well Known Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2021
Messages
995
Reaction score
2,238
Location
Kentucky
He has been a friend since high school, and we are still close. We talk several times a week, though we play in different circles these days.
But lately I am struggling to relate to my friend and I have hopes that I can learn some insights into understanding my buddy and his motivations.
The issue (as I see it), he never stops talking about himself.
Every conversation gets immediately rerouted back to something about him.
He tells endless stories about times when he was bragged upon by others. He describes himself as the hero in every situation he shares. He doesn’t directly brag on himself, but disguises the accolades by telling countless stories describing others bragging on him and retells all the wonderful things they said about him.
When he runs low on these stories, he retells them. I have confided to a third close friend who shared with me that he is doing the same thing with him, ad nauseam.
I have even looked up the definitions of diagnosis of things like Narcissism but he doesn’t fit those as most of the diagnosis of these things include characteristics more damaging and selfish than anything I have seen from him.
I recently introduced him to a handful of my friends at a gathering. Everyone was courteous and enjoying themselves. But later I found myself quietly apologizing to the group because my friend had so dominated every conversation that the normally lively gang had gone silent by the end of the night.
Anyway, I’m trying to find a productive way to interact with my friend without saying something that will damage our friendship. He seems completely happy letting every conversation be about him and in all honesty it’s mostly harmless (just frustrating).
I hesitate to call him out, try to intervene, or take it upon myself to address this with him because I fear losing a friendship of 40 years just because I’m tired of hearing him praise himself endlessly.
If anything this has caused me to carefully look inward and make an effort to avoid doing these things myself.
 

JazzDrumGuy

DFO Star
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2016
Messages
13,226
Reaction score
4,964
Location
Pebble Beach, CA
Grab some beers and start with, "Dude, we need to talk...."

Be straight up with him. After 40 years you should be able to, and he should be able to take it.

I have some friends that are 30+ year friends and we are like brothers. Not only can I easily have this talk with then, and vice versa, I would have called him out years ago, especially if it created a negative vibe....
 
Last edited:

Mcjnic

DFO Master
Double Platinum Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2010
Messages
3,047
Reaction score
4,036
Tough spot.
Not knowing either party (you or your friend), it's really of no use to provide an opinion.
All I would add (and yet I do) is if he is a friend, you probably wouldn't need to worry about confronting him with the obvious truth.
That's what friends do.
Iron sharpens iron.
We all fall short ... which is why we surround ourselves with those that help us to stay sharp ... or we should anyway.
Do what you already know is right and have the talk ... lead with love.
It should work out alright.
And take care ... you have friends. That's such a blessing.
 

Vicey

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2016
Messages
352
Reaction score
604
Location
FL
I'm not a psychologist but...is this new behavior? I assume he has not always been this self-obsessed. Maybe something happened to damage his self-image and cause him to constantly attempt to prop it up.
 

notINtheband

Very well Known Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2021
Messages
995
Reaction score
2,238
Location
Kentucky
I'm not a psychologist but...is this new behavior? I assume he has not always been this self-obsessed. Maybe something happened to damage his self-image and cause him to constantly attempt to prop it up.
Started showing up about 3 years ago to the best of my memory. Has progressed to a level I never imagined when it started. I too have wondered if some life event hasn’t sparked the change.
 

mtarrani

DFO Star
Joined
Sep 24, 2006
Messages
10,584
Reaction score
3,563
Location
Deltona, FL
At my age I would just cut ties (and I have in both cases of friends and family members.) The "Get off my lawn" meme holds true after a certain point. As a reference point I am 73. I began doing this when I was in my mid-60s. My tolerance level for emotional vampires is very low; and it's lower still for fools and morons.
 
Last edited:

equipmentdork

DFO Veteran
Joined
Sep 20, 2011
Messages
2,776
Reaction score
1,603
Location
NJ
A close friend and I were recently discussing a mutual friend. and we pretty much concluded that he is a narcissist--in that he satisfies the criteria. A lot of these personality disorders are on a "spectrum", so your friend, while he endlessly self-aggrandizes, may not technically rise to the level of NPD, but he sure sounds like a PITA.

Not knowing your friend, I have zero idea what to suggest. A Dale Carnegie book? Narcs typically have little/no self-awareness.

Sounds like a discussion where you let him know that he's up his own butt might result in the ending of your friendship, but then again it sounds like it could be time to bail. Only you know the answer to that question.



Dan
 

Squirrel Man

DFO Master
Joined
Aug 28, 2020
Messages
3,349
Reaction score
4,739
Be careful talking with this person, if this is a mild or moderate narcissism then they may not realize it (lack of self-awareness) and view you as unfairly judgmental.

Sometimes people get it but some people who don't get it don't get that they don't get it if that makes sense and it could backfire on you.
 

el_37

DFO Veteran
Joined
May 25, 2009
Messages
1,640
Reaction score
499
Location
NYC
I have to say, I am mildly shocked that in 40 years this only appeared 3 years ago.

I have one friend that constantly has to talk about how great he is- but it is painfully obvious that he is making up for some real- but mostly perceived failures in his life (i.e- he is in his mid 60's, regrets not having kids, in a volatile marriage for over 25 years, never made it very far in his trade even though he is very talented due to his own demons/laziness, some real childhood issues, etc) that he still has the powers to change some of- but won't ever.

My friend is older than me, and I learned a lot of what to do in life- and also what not to do from him- but I do consider him a very important influence on my life.

In my case, he always talked the same way- but it took me years to realize that he does it. Once I did, I looked back and fully realized he was always the same way.

I do find it mildly aggravating, but I just let it roll off. Once I realized what he was compensating for, it made it a whole lot easier to understand and sometimes it is just easier to let him have his moment- real or imagined. As tedious as it can be, his good outweighs his bad.

Sometimes you need a break from your best buds- if they really are your best buds- then it will be like you never left.

Now I have one friend- who thankfully I only see about 1-2 times a year, who is stuck in HS. Every single story is about that era or slightly after- and he was no star quarterback or stallion back then....
 

Steech

DFO Veteran
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2021
Messages
1,779
Reaction score
1,713
Location
East coast
At my age I would just cut ties (and I have in both cases of friends and family members.) The "Get off my lawn" meme holds true after a certain point. As a reference point I am 73. I began doing this when I was in my mid-60s. My tolerance level for emotional vampires is very low; and it's lower still for fools and morons.
Agree 100%.
 

Loud

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2020
Messages
161
Reaction score
119
There are some people who “need” to be around people like your friend. There are some that ”need” to “fix” them. He can find others to give him attention if that is all he wants.

You should be careful and watch out that your involvement isn’t part of some problem. You may need counseling yourself (talking about your issues) if you have problems letting go. I say that seriously.
 

Freewill3

Very well Known Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2016
Messages
540
Reaction score
369
Location
Illinois
I can relate completely to your situation, the guy I work with is the same. I'd like to commend you for your last line, "If anything this has caused me to carefully look inward and make an effort to avoid doing these things myself." because that's something not everyone does. If it's possible to create a little distance, go that route. If he asks if there's anything wrong, there's your "in." It's uncomfortable with certain friends going through life, some are meant to be around and others slowly fall away. Just because you've known someone for a long time doesn't mean they should still be in your life. Especially if they're a braggart or have other toxic behavior.
 

Treviso1

DFO Star
Joined
Feb 25, 2015
Messages
6,365
Reaction score
3,994
Location
Michigan
I had an old drummer friend who was an extreme bragger and known liar. He came from a family of braggers and liars and this apple didn't fall far from that tree. Unfortunately, I was friends with his entire family. They were like leeches, but not necessarily "bad" people... or so I thought. For years, I just brushed it off because outside of that, he was reliable as a sub for me when I couldn't make a gig. Some of this guy's lies were that while his band did open for the Dixie Chicks on a few dates early on in their career...the lie turned into that he played "with " the Dixie Chicks at that time. Things that were easily provably false. The lies when on and on. I used to joke that he was the "actual" original drummer for Led Zeppelin and did their early tours. Anyway, it just got worse and worse. He would brag that my band never sounded better than when he filled in for me and that people were just proclaiming that he was the best drummer my old band ever had...on and on. It was just plain stupid... My general feeling was that he was so insecure in both his own talents as a musician and a human being, that I just felt sorry for him. I felt sorry for the entire family. They were seemingly nice people, but you could only imagine what they said behind your back. For years, I let his parents stay at my vacation home in Florida for months at a time...for free...they would things like use up all of the pump soap and fill it up with water when they left...not replacing the spent soap. Yes, it seems petty...but, it's a pain in the ass when you first get there and you have zero soap to wash your hands! The breaking point was when they started stealing things from the home. All of a sudden, his brother says he "found" a bike in the backyard (my bike that was in the garage) and he decided to bring it home with him and the parents stole all of my dishes and coffee cups! I saw pictures of them on FB the next Thanksgiving eating off my dishes and drinking from my cups!!! I could only bite my lip for about 15 years...eventually, I just couldn't take it any longer and I had to shut both he and his family out of my life. They tried to come back, but I never relented. It was over and that was it! Around that time, I did that with quite a few people who were users and takers and I have been much happier ever since. Some friendships have expiration dates while others last forever ...never ignore those expiration dates.
 

rikkrebs

DFO Master
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2005
Messages
5,861
Reaction score
947
Location
Middletown Ohio
Started showing up about 3 years ago to the best of my memory. Has progressed to a level I never imagined when it started. I too have wondered if some life event hasn’t sparked the change.
If he's only been doing this a few years there is probably more to the story. He could be going through a tramatic time or even losing his memory.
 

Murat

DFO Veteran
Joined
Jun 22, 2015
Messages
2,432
Reaction score
2,481
Location
Aurora, Ontario
I would look at a couple of things. Is this person genuinely happy for you when something good happens to you or does it end up being about him again? Or , is this person genuinely sad for you and caring when something bad happens to you or is it about something similar that happened to him in the past that was even worse? We are all different and I don't know how much you care for this person but the answers to those two question would determine for me if I want to have anything to do with him anymore or not, forty years be damned. Life is too short.
 

TPC

Very well Known Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
1,241
Reaction score
1,892
Location
San Pablo, CA
You could just walk away and be done with him. Not the end of the world.

Or, you talk to him about it, and if it destroys the relationship, you're in the same spot, but at least you tried. You have the chance of not only helping your relationship with him, but his relationship with everyone else. Worth a try?
 

notINtheband

Very well Known Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2021
Messages
995
Reaction score
2,238
Location
Kentucky
Is this person genuinely happy for you when something good happens to you or does it end up being about him again?
This question was answered for me last night.
Another mutual friend texted the two of us to share some exciting news.
This 3rd friend had been battling depression and health issues and had recently visited his doctor, got his medications changed after contemplating suicide, and his marriage had turned a corner for the positive.
He shared with us how his business had just landed a phenomenal opportunity and he was finally feeling on top of the world with his bright, new future.
I texted my happiness and praise for his making so much positive progress.
My friend however, answered all this with vacation photos and apologies that he hadn’t responded sooner because he had been doing x,y, and z….. describing his trip and never once responding to the good news from our recently suicidal buddy.
I think I have my answer.
 


Top