9 Signs That You Might Be Selfish

I’ve been thinking about the meaning of the word “selfish” for a while, ever since various people hurled that insult my way. This post is about some conclusions I’ve reached. I believe it applies to marriage, friendship, family life, and online interactions.

But first, two definitions.

Selfish = Focusing on one’s own needs, wants, desires and pleasures. Not focusing on the needs, wants, desires and pleasures of others.

Selflessness = Having little to no concern for one’s own needs, wants, desires and pleasures, but showing lots of concern for the needs of others.

Now for the list.

  1. Everyone is selfish sometimes. Unless you are a canonized Saint or an enlightened being, then you are probably a lot like me. Sometimes you behave selfishly. Other times you behave selflessly. Refusing to admit this is both selfish and misguided.
  2. If you think you deserve to be canonized as a Saint, then you are selfish. The desire to have others know you, revere you, and recognize you is a self-focused desire. You will be truly selfless if someone offers to canonize you and you turn down that offer by saying, “Oh, no, this other person deserves it and would benefit from that a lot more than I would. Please give this other person the honor. I do not deserve it or need it.” This holds true for any title of recognition.
  3. It’s selfish to call someone else selfish. By accusing others of being selfish, you are attempting to bring others down and peg and yourself up a peg. This is, by nature, a self-focused action. You are motivated by concern for your own reputation and not by your concern for the well-being of others.
  4. Selflessness breeds happiness. Selfishness breeds unhappiness. If you are angry, worried, guilty, frustrated, depressed, envious, or jealous, you are probably focusing on yourself and your own needs and not on the needs of others. As soon as you stop focusing on yourself and start focusing on others, you will find that your negative feelings evaporate.
  5. Selflessness can be scary. That’s why so few people manage to act selflessly all of the time. It requires a huge amount of trust and vulnerability. We are often our most selfish when we are terrified.
  6. If you think some people deserve your help, but others don’t, there’s still a lot of selfish in you. It’s only once you can love every living being equally—no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, or political party—that you will have completely transcended selfishness.
  7. Sometimes it’s selfless to be selfish. If you completely neglect your own needs and drain yourself dry, there will be no you left to focus on the needs of others. It is selfless to make sure you get enough rest, for instance. It’s easier to be selfless when you are rested, healthy, fit and well fed.
  8. Sometimes it’s seemingly selfish to be selfless. In focusing on the needs of many others, you might have to neglect the needs of a few. The few who are neglected might selfishly accuse you of being selfish. As long as your actions were focused on helping others, this is not true. The ones who accuse you of being selfish are actually the ones who are selfish as they are the ones who are concerned about their own needs.
  9. It’s selfless to forgive people for calling you selfish. After all they can’t learn how to be selfless unless they have role models like you to emulate. Also, as I mentioned, they are scared. If you respond to their show of selfishness with selflessness, you will show them what true courage looks like.

What do you think it means to be selfish? How do you use the word? Who do you accuse of being selfish and why? Who do you admire as embodying “selflessness” and why? Why do you think humans tend to call other humans “selfish”? What motivates it? What can you do to foster more selflessness in your marriage and life in general?

74 comments… add one

  • Paula June 29, 2011, 7:25 am

    Not selfishness but self care comes first. Without being able to properly care for myself I wont be able to care for others.

    • cece June 24, 2013, 9:06 pm

      people are calling me selfish and I just wanna give up on everything and die

      • Abi March 14, 2014, 9:16 pm

        How are you today CeCe? Wondering how everything went.

      • Rose August 31, 2015, 5:14 am

        I know. My family called me a selfish little b**** today because I was 15 minutes late and kept them “waiting.” They were sincere and yelled and screamed at me because apparently I’m a selfish little b****. Thanks a lot mum, I’ll remember that.

      • Monique September 21, 2015, 12:53 pm

        Yes because it is not good to be selfish being selfish allows room for only you being selfless allows room for yourself and others

    • Bre February 8, 2015, 2:48 pm

      Cece, I used to selfharm. I know exactly how you feel! But everything does get better!!

    • Kavita July 16, 2015, 6:19 am

      That is an outdated world view. The truth is that a balance is required because even Saints, (which I revere very much by the way) would be doing no one a favor if they didn’t address the maintenance of their body, mind & spirit first. Doing this makes them able to address others’ suffering. To address ONLY others’ needs & wants, is what codependency & pseudo-martyrdom are made of. To address ONLY your needs & feelings is what narcissism is made of. Somewhere in between is ‘good mental health’. Sainthood happens when a ‘mystical’ union with the non-local Universal Divine brings one to experience others’ needs & sufferings as personally as their own. In such case, serving others is an extension of one’s own “self care”.

      • Monique September 21, 2015, 12:56 pm

        Yes because it is not good to be selfish being selfish allows room for only you being selfless allows room for yourself and others. You can’t have balance of mind spirit and body with out connecting to nature and the Earth, being half selfish is not the answer. Living in harmony with others and nature is the answer.

  • mmsva June 29, 2011, 10:37 am

    I find that many people have a hard time knowing the difference between good selfishness (ie-self care) and bad selfishness. Maybe you can write about how to know the difference.

  • Joanne June 29, 2011, 12:30 pm

    I have to say, that I am a bit miffed right now. Unless the people accusing you of selfishness know you really well, what in the world are they basing their opinion on. Here are some additional definitions of selflessness, I am sure you would recognize yourself in them.
    1) Putting your family first in deciding to attempt everything within your power, some quite personally painful, to save your marriage when many others would toss in the towel.
    2) After finding somethings that work, starting a blog to help others who may be in a similar situation long before your book ever comes out and knowing it would absorb your free time and energy to do it.
    3) Taking time out of your book promotion, already tired, to break bread with a new friend who is going through a divorce and some pretty scary new self discoveries.
    4) Being an empathic listener, which allows not just me (the new friend) but anyone you talk with to feel safe to be their true selves and be accepted as such.

    Lord, I could go on and on but you get the idea. I think you pegged it when you said that people eager to point out when someone is being selfish may actually be reacting out of fear but I dare say they are also probably doing a bit of transference.

    We all need to remember to take the log out of our own eye before we point out the splinter in someone else’s eye.

    Just saying.

    • Drummer Guy June 29, 2011, 1:10 pm

      AMEN!!!!!!! :-)

      • Isaac Delmas RSA January 5, 2013, 2:37 pm

        i want to know exactly that am selfish when i say my wife cannt go to the workplace Christmas party, because i know that she will be laying intimately into another mans chest? Than after going on her return you find evidence in the form of photos.

  • Alisa June 29, 2011, 4:28 pm

    Drummy Guy– You have such a good memory. I actually agree with you. I just wasn’t thinking of that particular situation when I was writing. Hurling “you are so selfish” is selfish because it’s all about your own self interest. But pointing out someone’s selfish behavior kindly so they can fix it and have a better life (in other words, for their own good) is definitely selfless.

    • Drummer Guy June 30, 2011, 6:32 am

      Me???… A good memory?….. That’s a good one…:-) Just kidding with ya.

      It reminded me that lately I have been having HUGE memory problems. Senior moment maybe?…lol

      I was trying to talk about this with that woman I married . Now if I could just remember her name….HA!!!! :-p

      LOVED the post Alisa. Have I ever told you that YOU ROCK? :-)

  • melissa June 30, 2011, 8:21 am

    I needed this post this week. Needed. Thank you. Especially number 4…so I am remembering this and I am trying to make choices thinking of the happiness of others right now. I have been feeling frustrated, jealous, depressed…etc. Maybe trying to be more selfless really can help with that.

    I had a very selfish moment yesterday morning with a friend and I justified it by telling myself that she tends to get her way all the time so its her turn to bend for me…but now I’m putting her first and asking for forgiveness for the way I handled things. I feel so much better now.

  • Julie June 30, 2011, 9:52 am

    Being selfish is only thinking about yourself without regard for other people. Selfless is the opposite which is putting others’ before oneself. It is selfish to not think about how your actions affect others, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you are selfish if you put your own needs.

  • Kathleen July 2, 2011, 8:04 pm

    I just read this post today. Not out of selfishness or selflessness but simply crazy times around here! You ask us to say who we think are selfish people. I am sure you don’t mean to name names as that would be selfish. I think that it is human nature to be selfish. We are concerned with survival and that means we need to take care of our needs. But at the same time that can be selflessness (as you pointed out) because others may depend on us for their survival.

  • Kathleen July 2, 2011, 8:09 pm

    i accidentally (I guess)clicked before I was finished. I was going to end with the idea that the most selfish people I know are those who profit on the exploitation of others. Whether that be a criminal enterprise (just read a recent article on the Mexican drug cartel) or people who defraud the Welfare system by not working when they could be.
    The everyday selfishness of humans (to me) is nothing compared to these types of selfish acts!

  • Sophia September 28, 2011, 1:00 pm

    I thought I would read this and try to peg myself in one or the other but found i am guilt of both and sometimes at the same time case in point I often buy my husband gifts while hoping that the outcome will be that he will be happy enough and it will lead to the bed.. I know that it is wrong because after i feel like i had to pay for it. I have not told him this and I am sure that if I did he would say that i do not need to do this, however i have tested the theory several times. Then there was the time i gave my old car to someone who had mentioned that they had car problems and did not have transportation i was happy until i found out that person sold the car the very same day i gave it to them at no charge. i have not mentioned it to this person who is a co-worker but it stings. I am happy to say that had I known this before I gave them the car I would still have given the car away however it would have been to someone else and if it had the same outcome I would continue do overs until one stuck.

  • me December 24, 2011, 3:04 pm

    I have to disagree a little. People in abusive relationships are often very selfless but end up feeling depressed, angry and guilty due to the treatment they receive. True clinical depression has nothing to do with being selfish.

    • anonymous October 1, 2014, 9:56 pm

      I agree

  • Anna July 25, 2012, 6:46 pm

    True, true…but to add: My experience has taught me that I should be careful not to be too selfless as lots of people are ready and wiling to take advantage. Be careful who you connect yourself with or u may become selfish and bitter very quickly.

  • diana October 8, 2012, 5:10 pm

    My husband thinks that God is selfish. I believe that he is so much the opposite!!!!! What do you think?

    • Liz August 12, 2015, 2:24 am

      I agree, God is not selfish.

      John 3:16-17

      “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

  • Marrey November 29, 2012, 12:07 am

    Why would anyone NOT want to be selfish or for that matter be ashamed of being selfish(aside from fearing punishment from imaginary friends in the afterlife)? I can understand the disdain for selfishness if people neglect their kids or exploit others, but exploiting others is foolish as they tend to eventually take revenge for being exploited. I used to feel that way(selfishness=BAD/evil!!! and feeling guilty for being human) until I realized that only by being selfish do we take care of ourselves(eating right, brushing our teeth, taking a shower, etc), have families(take selfish egotistical pride in our children and push them to make US look good as we don’t push our neighbors children like we push our own blood, granted a normal law abiding citizen will report a pedophile who is following their neighbors kid in a car when they walk home from school to protect their OWN kids as they don’t want a pedophile in the neighborhood period and then lie to themselves about truly caring for someone else’s kids as much as their own when if it were life or death they would gladly let the other kid die in the place of their own blood while trying to feel guilty about it), make a name for ourselves by ambition which is rooted in envy and lust. Even acting selfless is rooted in ego gratification which is selfish. We can’t bear the thought that we truly do only care about ourselves so we make up fictitious stories about ourselves instead of embracing our “darkness”. I for one got sick and tired of being brow beat for being selfish when I erroneously believed in the fantasy of “selflessness” so now I revel in selfishness. I acknowledge that groups like the Mafia for instance ARE rooted in selfishness, BUT they invite destruction on themselves when other selfish people take revenge on them for being exploited not to mention our secular laws which protect US from the “bad” people which is also rooted in selfishness. That is REALLY how the world works. No one joins hands with others singing coombuya unless they get some kind of emotional gratification rooted in the ego out of it(even having that “light” feeling in their chest IS part of the ego as it is part of their identity as a “good” person). Might DOES make right, BUT when a tyrant rules, people tend to eventually kill that tyrant which is still rooted in selfishness(survival of the fittest). We didn’t turn the other cheek after 9-11 which was also rooted in selfishness. Ergo selflessness is non-existent. Cynical and proud of it…

  • paul December 12, 2012, 6:37 pm

    Well why is it when I need help .my friends.are always busy.when they need me I’m there 98% of the time. When there at my house and I’m cooking.I always feed them ask if they whant something. They never ask me or offer .they cook only for themselves. And eat wright in front of me all the time.how would that make you fill. If I invited you over .they always have me fixing there cars or remolding there house. And no I don’t ask to money .I’m just very handy. And I like helping people. But I don’t like filling like I’m my welcome in your home.

  • donna January 22, 2013, 7:27 pm

    There are some people in this life that you have helped but then they start taking you for granted. They bleed you dry. These are the kinds of people to avoid. They are vampires of life and they feed off your kindness. If you stop helping them does not make you selfish, it makes you tired an used up.

    • Diikgetse Sepenyane February 25, 2013, 3:07 pm

      Donna, for you to help other people doen,nt mean that you must create a syndrome of dependency. People take advantage of your good offering heart and think that whatever you are doing for them out of goowill is due to them. it is not selfish to withdraw your help from those who think it is due to them. I’m very sorry for what you are going thrue, i was once in the predicament that you find your self in right now, i withdraw completely. I’m unnpopular to those who were unfairly bennefiting from me but my life has progress to greater heights. in life you must decide, unfortunately other people will hurt but it is better to do waht is best for you other wise you will become a living pauper then they will laught at you as if you never existed.

      • Natasha July 17, 2013, 8:10 pm

        Believe it or not, this is something that has happened to me. I became a living pauper, thinking that being selfless with my money and time meant that I was helping people. I had to withdraw my help after staying broke and tired, not to mention bitter. I am slowly building myself up now, realizing that I liked the glory of helping someone out of a jam but at the same time being selfish when I expected them to do the same for me. That is one of the best lessons learned in my life…so far.

  • Chris February 24, 2013, 10:26 pm

    If i ask for nothing, I get nothing, I give nothing. It’s like being dead. So are dead people selfish. I ask you all go on with your lives and stop screwing with people. The minute you demand something from someone you are selfish. I have money. I buy what i need. So don’t come asking for stuff unless you can give something of equal value.

  • Blessing March 16, 2013, 9:59 am

    I needed help desperately and my two sisters didn’t assist me with a penny even though I didn’t request help from them and they knew what my situation was.I spent all my savings on getting help for my problem. My eldest sister didn’t give me money but she’s always more than willing to offer material help and connections for.My second sister and her husband only calls me every now and then but I got tired of it because I might be meditating when they call me. She called me today on phone and i asked if she called our eldest sister and She replied me by saying everyone is selfish. This statementreally hurts me to my bone. What do u reckon guys? Am I Selfish? Just wondering….

  • Lizzy April 9, 2013, 12:13 pm

    For years I had been neglecting myself to take care of others. My body suffered from all the stress and emotional pain. When I decided to evaluate myself, I realized how much I was giving to people who didn’t care about my well being.

    The first steps I took was to end all unhealthy relationships. I broke up with my boyfriend (emotionally abusive) and my best friend of more than a decade (also emotionally abusive, manipulate and controlling).

    It was very hard. They both begged me to come back to them, but I knew that all my efforts would go to the wind. I stuck to my decision even though I missed them, and even worse, was ridden with guilt.

    I learned that I had an inner strength and that it was all right to say “no”. All my time and love go into people (who aren’t self centered) and animals now. I am healthy and happy. It is okay to look after yourself first, otherwise you will have no energy to look after others.

  • gloria April 9, 2013, 7:28 pm

    i need to know, right now im in a love situation……the situation is that im in love with a 20 yrs old guy who’s living in India, im a 45 yrs old mother woman, soon will divorce, the thing is this guy wants to leave my daughters (i have 2 daughters 14 and 16 yrs old) he said that im a selfish, because i told him to come to USA, but i never told him to not talk or visit his parents….he said that i have an ego…..at my age and because i look for love….im confuse,,….called me crazy, but it’s true…..i never imagine that i will love this guy so much…is painful what he asked me to do…..any help will appreciate it,….thanks

    • Lizzy April 10, 2013, 7:17 am

      Dear Gloria

      A divorce can leave anyone (including children) feeling insecure, scared and lonely. It is understandable that you are looking (and holding onto) any form of love and acceptance during this stressful time.

      But the worst thing you can do is get involved with another person right now. I do not know why you are divorcing or how your marriage has been like, but I would suggest that you spend the next few months after the divorce to heal yourself. This is a great opportunity to bond with your children and to find your inner self. You will also feel better if you take control of your life and become independent.

      I understand that you are in love with this guy, but what will he do to your self esteem in the future if he is already treating you as his inferior? This relationship will not only damage you, but will destroy your daughters’ lives. You will be a very selfish person if you leave your daughters for this self-centered man.

      I cannot tell you what to do, but I suggest that you end all contact with him. You are worth more than this, and you will find people who will love and value you for the person (and mother) you are. But for this to happen, you must love yourself first.


      • gloria April 10, 2013, 11:05 pm

        dear Lizzy,

        you are right, but i dont know how am i doing with this pain and love for him….my husband since we married he always have cheat on me, maybe not all the time knowing that woman, but along of these married yrs, i’ve come to know that in one or other way my husban had cheat on me….i was just living my life until this 20 yrs old guy came into my life….is funny how things have developed, i know this guy on facebook, last year i went to India and each other came to know in person….

  • gloria April 10, 2013, 11:10 pm

    yes i agree that he is the selfish and self centered, he already told me that he want me only for himself, and in future when he is more established we can get my daughters, but i was thinking that my daughters are not a merchandise….i understand him because i know is young and without experience, but what he told me to do, I can not please him, you are right to say that i will be more selfish and will destroy my daughter’s life if i left them behind…..thank you very much for your advice….
    i will pray to God that he helps me to be strong and give me strenght to continue with my life……
    thank you again.. God bless you Lizzy.

    • Lizzy April 11, 2013, 7:22 am

      Dear Gloria

      I am very sorry that you had to go through that with your husband. This must have left you with a broken heart and self image. People who have taken such a blow in life usually do not value themselves and fall in love with people who treat them just as bad, or even worse than their (cheating) partners did.

      The reason why I called your lover a man and not a boy is because many people are very mature and wise at the age of 20. Our youth knows how one should treat another human being. Do not use his age as an excuse for his actions, for he is old enough to know that he is abusing you emotionally.

      I understand that you are in love with him, but you have to let him go. He will control you completely while you are in this fragile state. Learn to love yourself and gain self respect before entering the dating world. You will find someone worthy of you once you see your own self worth.


  • Shay April 22, 2013, 8:08 pm

    Selfishness is always a very confusing topic, and i’ve been struggling to balance my life right now. My housemate told me today I was selfish because I was not catering to her needs and our friendship. I have been focusing on my academics, my formerly rocky relationship, not loving myself, and sickness in my family. I neglected her while I was attempting to sort out other aspects of my life, and I feel terrible. However, I do want to mend the relationship. Thank you sharing your thoughts and for providing some great written insight.

    • anonymous October 1, 2014, 9:57 pm

      I do think it’s all about balance

  • Michael Nolan May 20, 2013, 7:31 am

    This particular little article flys in the face of not only most accepted psychological models, sociological models and spiritual models. It is badly researched, badly presented and badly written. It is this sort of self indulgent, excuse ridden, delusional arguments I have ever had the misfortune to read.

  • pei August 5, 2013, 2:18 pm

    This is really just an opinion piece. One person’s definition of selfish will be different from another’s. There are parts I can agree with, parts I can’t.

  • Me....... August 8, 2013, 3:09 pm

    God, I am such a selfish *****. And it just makes me feel worse that I’m telling people that I’m selfish – making myself seem even more selfish. I’ve hurt all my friends so much… And then eventually feel guilty… But I still determine to put the blame on someone else. Even when I’m in the wrong. I’m so selfish and stubborn and such a bad friend. If they can call me that. And I admire them so much for forgiving me and helping me out so much… They’re such good friends… And I just seem like some attention-seeking *****… Sorry for the asterix’… And sorry for being selfish…

    • MJ August 9, 2013, 5:42 am

      God yes Me i agree!! not that you are selfish but that thinking of being selfish must in it self signify selfishness! I can’t stand how much i think about myself and how whether the things i do for others are in fact just to make me feel better about myself. Its been driving me a bit crazy lately. I don’t know if i actually do anything for pure good reasons for others. I feel i need to do more but just agonize over it.. and don’t do anything.

    • Dan November 6, 2013, 11:40 pm

      It’s good, I think, that you are aware of your selfish behavior. Hopefully it will lead to making better choices about thinking how you could make some else besides yourself feel better or feel like you cared about them and not yourself. ( I battle with this myself)

  • ash August 16, 2013, 2:14 pm

    i dont think i am but my mom always calls me selfish…so i dont know so i was typing on google and ended up here to try to figure out if i really am selfish and so far i still dont have a clue.

  • Amy October 22, 2013, 6:12 pm

    I do not know if I were to consider my self selfish, however my mom calls me selfish… but I have no intention to be selfish. I am in a program at school that allows students to visit external sites to learn more about being a veterinarian and animal based careers. However I had wanted to spend an extra hour at a site- a vat clinic to help with a surgery. To this my mom says I’m selfish and never consider anyone else… Am I selfish?

    • Amy October 22, 2013, 6:12 pm

      *vet… yeesh typos

  • Azda October 29, 2013, 7:51 pm

    selfish is being alone thinking about our own problems and not counting our blessings, or reaching out to others, although we know they exist we feel as if we are the only ones and are so absorbed in our own lives talking about our selves, because others talk about themselves and just ask about our selves but don’t start deaper discussions. they are encouraging our selfishness.

    selfish is giving into our own desires when others are trying to get our attention we ignore them, and feel guilty but somehow we put ourselves first hopefully we will be better people.

    selfish is only helping someone when there is a hidden agenda. selfish is buying a cake and eating it all and not sharing it,

  • Sophie May 27, 2014, 9:10 pm

    I hope everything is ok! It is completely normal to feel that way, but remember this: someone always cares about you. You are an amazing person! Don\\\\’t let others bring you down. Stay strong!

  • Amber August 6, 2014, 8:10 pm

    Today I went on a walk in the park/woods with my mom and she was just laying everything out on me and I gotta say, it was painful. Well for some background info, I am a 15 year old girl with two older brothers who are both in, or past there second year of collage. Anyways, it’s summer and I just got my permit a couple weeks ago so I can start learning how to drive. Well, today she started yelling at me and saying that I need to get a job and that she dosnt understand why I don’t want a job and that when she was my age, she had a job and did this and that. And that she was independent and yada yada. Then she goes into how I am very immature in the sense of wanting to step up and get a job and branch off to becoming more if an adult. And she said that I only care about myself and that I am selfish and that I only care about what I want and that I compare my friends situations to mine, for example “Sarah has so many clothes and I don’t” which I do not do. Well, to that extent I admit I do that sometimes but not in that scenario and I’m not trying to hint at anything it get something out if it when I do.. Idk it’s weird. Anyways, so I say, we’ll. I can’t get a job yet because I have to wait to get a workers permit, as I literally just turned 15 a couple months ago. And I said “how am I going to get to and from work, and when will I work?” I have played soccer my entire life and I’m kindof burned out so I’m taking the august-December months off from soccer to focus on school, and etc. She is acting like I’m ruining my life because I’m taking a break from soccer. I’m just tired off it right now! I’m not quiting forever! The next season starts after Christmas break! So she’s been hounding me for a job and all this stuff and she called me selfish and ungrateful and all that and she says that when she buys me something, I’m happy for a little while, and then I’m off to the next thing. She says I don’t appreciate things as well. So today has resulted in an extreme self esteem decrease as well as sadness that she said all that. Idk if it’s true or not, it must be if she said it, but I do not agree with her at all on any of that. Especially the comparing thing. She is such a hypocrite. She’s yelling at me for comparing my life to my friends lives yet she just sat there and compared me, to her! She expects me to be the same person she was at 15, but that’s not going to happen! That was different times And I am a different person! I’m not against getting a job or anything I just want to wait until next summer as I will have loads of free time, I will be 16, and I’ll know how to drive. It just seems like a better time for me to do it then. Idk what to do. I’m so depressed from that conversation today and the whole time I just teared up and stayed quiet. At the end of it all she was like “do you have anything to add? Do you agree? Etc.” I didn’t even reply I just nodded to make her stop. I tried to keep a slight smile for the remaining mile we had to walk but it was just aqward and I didn’t say a word. Luckily my step dad caught up to us and my mom just talked to him.

    • anonymous October 1, 2014, 9:59 pm

      yes this is true, and then years later people say you’re selfish if you think others are doing that. do be careful not to assume people are doing it who aren’t. that is where ive hurt some friendships.

  • Nonya business September 1, 2014, 10:31 pm

    Anyone who has been a waiter, or worked in customer service, or anyone in a third world country where slavery is still going strong so that we can have cheap shrimp will know that all humans are innately selfish creatures. That is all we are, although we try to think ourselves better so that we can justify our own faults. We have no purpose but to consume and take no matter how you look at it. Niceness does occur but those who excel realize early on that we are all selfish and learn how to take advantage of that for themselves and there offspring (aka and extension of themselves). It’s a tough pill to swallow but it is what we are.

  • anura September 12, 2014, 12:48 am


  • Roia L. de Guzman September 24, 2014, 6:44 pm

    Everyone calls me selfish just because I don’t follow their own orders, they don’t know how I feel I just wanna die so they won’t have to complain about me anymore.

  • Princess December 27, 2014, 4:50 pm

    So which is selfish? If your loved one was on vacation from job#1, but chose to work the morning of on a holiday at job#2, to provide and make sure things are taken care of for the future, instead of being with you and the families. You get disappointed and upset because your loved one is not going to be with you or with family for the holiday. Not to mention you haven’t seen your loved one all week long, but now this.

  • y January 2, 2015, 5:22 pm

    I’m sorry but point 3′s explanation is not right. It is an assumption that is not perfect. There are times in which we call other people selfish because we want them to be aware and learn from their error, or because we feel that they have the potential not to be selfish, or because we think that good-bad balance in the world/ affecting mutual friends should be restored, or because we need to differentiate between the selfish and the good-hearted (because some people are okay with being consistently selfish and even manipulative and that’s not okay), or because other people need to be aware of this trait in said person to be able to protect themselves better. Please don’t post so righteously if you have not thought over so much of the issue. It can unnecessarily complicate people’s minds or lives.
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  • ... January 15, 2015, 2:37 pm

    The author of this article doesn’t seem to know the difference between “selfish” and self-interest. Its only selfish is someone else is harmed somehow by you focusing on your own needs. Getting proper rest though is just self-interest. The best way to avoid being selfish is making sure you don’t get into a situation where you might have to choose between being selfish or selfless and self-interest is how you avoid those situations.

    Take the dad who is a workaholic and never spends time with his wife or kids. You could argue his behavior is selfish but you can’t argue that its self-interested because working too much is harmful to yourself but you could argue that its selfish because he isn’t thinking about how his wife and kids feel about him being gone all day.

  • Geri February 4, 2015, 3:15 am

    So my husband tells me I’M SELFISH because I have a 2012 3 year old Nissan Altima that I bought brand new in late 2011 . It has 35k miles on it….OK so I see a 2015 si Lexus sport sedan that I would like to trade my car in for..and he says “”no”” to be HAPPY with what i got because there are so many people that cannot afford my kinda car muchless brand new….I work very hard for everything I have…. I. Have 2 jobs I make my own car payments plus I contribute 50% to our living needs which includes buying our house….. I THINK I DESERVE THAT CAR IF I WANT IT……..PLEAS GIVE ME YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS AND PLEASE BE HONEST WITH ME…..THANKS!!!

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  • Tayla March 4, 2015, 7:34 am

    I don’t know if I am being selfish.
    My boyfriend and I live very far apart.
    He used to reply to me instantly all the time for about two years. But recently he has taken 20 minutes to reply and he replies with very short replies like “hahaha okay” “yeah” “okay then”. He used to send me a few messages after 30 minutes if he didn’t get a reply.
    But in the past few months he hasn’t tried to talk to me as he once did.
    It makes me feel as if he is relieved he doesn’t have to talk to me. I’m just curious, do you guys think it’s me being needy and selfs being upset that he takes his time to reply?
    He’s not busy, he just plays pc games all day
    I understand they capture his attention and distract him. But I can’t even have a half decent convo anymore
    We’re 17

    • Russ May 27, 2015, 2:28 pm

      Hi Tayla, to be mentally healthy there are 9 basic emotional needs that we need to fulfil in balance, one of these nine is the need for attention, weather we give attention or receive it the effects it has are the same. Everything we do as humans is about getting our needs meet or protecting them.
      I would suggest that your guy will also be in a trance if he is playing games a lot, which means he won’t be himself. So be kind to yourself and take comfort in the fact that we all have needs that require fulfilling.

  • Lou June 5, 2015, 7:54 am

    My boyfriend and I row all the time over this. He thinks I am selfish because I ask him to do things,errands or spend an evening with my family and then have a go at him when he doesn’t do them. 9/10 times he’ll say no or say maybe and then not do it. He says I demand and then pick a ring when I don’t get my own way. I am nagging and trying to control him. I think HE is selfish because he’s spent time with my family approximately half a dozen times in a decade and I am working to support us both whilst he is unemployed and home all day. If I ask him to meet me at supermarket he’ll turn up half hr late, if I ask could he drop a bag off at charity shop he says why don’t I? I am Fed up of arguing but feel this is wrong. He thinks everything is fair cuz he keeps our tiny flat clean and cooks dinner,meanwhile I’m up attack work two jobs and pay for everything,hence the reason I ask him to run errands for me. I am doubting myself now.

    • Harold June 20, 2015, 9:16 pm

      There is always two side to every story, but if what you say is exactly the way it is…He is probably trying to hang on to whatever little manhood he has left! When a man doesn’t work and carry his own weight, he feels like a loser. That’s what you are experiencing. HE MUST GO TO WORK!!! He must step up and be a man! If he won’t go to work you need to let that loser go! You’re too good for him.

  • Lou June 5, 2015, 7:56 am

    Pick a fight not ‘ring’
    And up at 6am not ‘up attack’…sorry typos!

  • Harold June 20, 2015, 9:07 pm

    This is my attempt to reconcile the difference between so-called selfish and unselfish people. There is no such thing! We are both selfish and unselfish or at least have the capacity for both at ALL times! When you have an important task to complete…for example, a major homework assignment for school, or you go to work on a very demanding job that requires you undivided attention, even though you are doing these things, and you must, are you being selfish? Well of course you are, and you should be! But, that doesn’t mean you don’t have the capacity to be unselfish! If while doing the homework someone called with a question, you would stop and answer it, then get back to your homework. If while working on the job someone forgot their lunch, you could share your lunch with them. Life is almost never this or that! It’s almost ALWAYS this AND that, and how much of this and that is determined by life’s circumstances. Does that make sense? Lindsey

  • stacey June 23, 2015, 7:08 am

    Do you think there is a difference between being selfish and being self sufficient in life?

  • Katie July 9, 2015, 2:44 pm

    My parents call me selfish although I strive to be selfless. It really hurts to be called selfish every time I voice an opinion. Having an opinion doesn’t mean anyone’s selfish, not opening your mind to others’ opinions is. I feel like I focus on my friends so much during the day and at school that by the time I get home, I just want some me-time.

  • Kavita July 16, 2015, 6:23 am

    That is an outdated world view. The truth is that a balance is required because even Saints, (which I revere very much by the way) would be doing no one a favor if they didn’t address the maintenance of their body, mind & spirit first. Doing this makes them able to address others’ suffering. To address ONLY others’ needs & wants, is what codependency & pseudo-martyrdom are made of. To address ONLY your needs & feelings is what narcissism is made of. Somewhere in between is ‘good mental health’. Sainthood happens when a ‘mystical’ union with the non-local Universal Divine brings one to experience others’ needs & sufferings as personally as their own. In such case, serving others is an extension of one’s own “self care”.

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  • Dolph Hoover July 29, 2015, 2:25 am

    Thanks for this post Alisa. Also, good point on that matter. Although, I have to say being selfish isn’t that bad. You get to know your own desires in life and that in my point isn’t bad. What is bad is the excessive manifestation of your own desires.

  • hootyhaha July 30, 2015, 2:20 pm

    If you replied with your insights to this article most likely you too are selfish. You want to push your view all over others, or spend time correcting the author on what you think they’re wrong about. That’s selfish and narcissistic.

  • Rosie August 11, 2015, 8:02 am

    I have been accused of “being selfish” and told by my brother that he has no respect for selfish people so not to call or text or make any contact with him again.I am 69 my brother 62—-we have been in contact until my Father aged 89 needed to be taken to and from hospital for day surgery.For the last 6 months I have not been driving following an incident where I passed out at the wheel and was hospitalised,i suffer from Cardiomyapathy and my blackout was connected.I rely on my husband to now drive me everywhere which is no problem,apart from loosing my independence in getting about.I am so lucky only to have written off the car and not killed my 10 year old Grandaughter and myself or others on the road at the time. So driving is not an option.I told my brother that my husband could not help get my father to the hospital that day,he did not give me a chance to explain why or suggest any way we might help.My brother could take my father but he was going to present prizes at an awards ceremony later that day when my father needed to be collected.I am saddened and confused as to why he has reacted in this way.He does not like my husband ,ours is a second marriage after both being widowed in our 40`s we have known each other for over 20 years and married two years ago—-my brother never came to our simple wedding ceremony,we often go away on holidays in our old motorhome,live in a very rural area with a simple lifestyle my brother has a completely different retired lifestyle,he is divorced (3 times ) very wealthy,one son at well know public school,enjoys hotels,dinners,social occasions with friends and mocks constantly my more simplistic lifestyle.I am sure there is more to his sudden nasty reaction to us not being able to be available on this occasion to help with my Father.To be told he does not want ever to hear from me again,that I am selfish,and he hates selfish people is so upsetting as it seems so wrong and unfair——-any advise,comments would be appreciated,thankyou.

  • Linda September 21, 2015, 8:16 am

    I’m not sure point 6 was intended as such…although, I have grown (largely due to my work and life experience), that I strongly agree that some people definitely deserve your help and assistance without question and others do not deserve your efforts…this I also do not base ever on their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age or political party…it is solely based on their attitude toward themselves and others, some people just deserve some slack and a helping hand and if I can provide that I will, there have been times when others have done the same for me and I pay it forward…but if people are going to abuse mine or others good nature, bad luck for them, they don’t get my help or attention whatsoever…then point 7 is hypocritical of point 6, at times you do need to attend to your own needs, this may ‘feel’ selfish to the selfless person, but it’s not, you need to look after no1 to be the best for those you love and deserve your care, attention and friendship in life…

  • Stephen Juarez September 29, 2015, 3:09 am

    How should we point out the law if we aren’t pointing them out according to point number three? If someone should I say, steals from you a fairly large amount of money which for example is needed for daily expenditures, and tuition for your children, would you still call it selfish if it’s clearly a lack of practice of justice? Also, is it selfish to be selfless?


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