Have you ever known someone that constantly felt the need to remind you of how smart they are, or how pretty, or how educated, or how wealthy? It becomes the turn of every topic you choose “I can’t be bothered with this! I am way too educated to have to work with people like that! Why would I bother with someone less than I am?”
Unwarranted self importance is defined as a form of narcissism or egotism.
“Egotism is closely related to “loving one’s self” or narcissism – indeed some would say “by egotism we may envisage a kind of socialized narcissism”. Egotists have a strong tendency to talk about themselves in a self-promoting fashion, and they may well be arrogant and boastful with a grandiose sense of their own importance.Their inability to recognise the accomplishments of others leaves them profoundly self-promoting; while sensitivity to criticism may lead on the egotist’s part to narcissistic rage at a sense of insult.
Looked at differently, the conceit of egotism describes a person who acts to gain values in an amount excessively greater than that which he or she gives to others. Egotism may be fulfilled by exploiting the sympathy, irrationality or ignorance of others, as well as utilizing coercive force and/or fraud.
Egotism differs from both altruism – or acting to gain fewer values than are being given– and from egoism, the unremitting pursuit of one’s own self-interest. Various forms of “empirical egoism” can be consistent with egotism, but do not necessitate having an inflated sense of self.“
Attempting to correct their behavior by reminding them of the many other people out here that are just as important will surely get you a fight. They don’t like to be corrected, or reminded that they aren’t the gods they think they are.
Some people like to call this confidence and I disagree. This is far from any healthy and confident manner that I have ever witnessed. People that are confident do not need to remind you how great they think they are. They just go about their business and are confident that you can see this for yourself.
In the book Emotional Vampires, I found the description of someone with these tendencies to be rather accurate.
My needs are more important than yours!
The rules apply to other people, not to me!
I want it now!
It’s not my fault, ever!
If I don’t get my way, I throw a tantrum!
These describe the attitude of an unwarranted self important person to a tee. The worst thing about all of this is that they have no shame. I have realized that to try to shame them into seeing their bad behavior is futile. They are too deluded by their own unwarranted self importance to see how destructive to themselves, and everyone around them, their behavior is.
That is not how someone who is a confident winner behaves.
Someone with self confidence moves along with their lives. If you aren’t interested in them, they waste no time trying to make you be interested. They know that if you can’t see their worth, there is someone out there that will.
What’s the best way to deal with someone who has unwarranted self importance?
That depends a lot on what role they play in your life.
If they are your boss, the best way to deal with them, and keep your job, is to smile and do your job. Keep your head down and never engage them beyond the job. Odds are this person won’t last long in a position of authority for very long because their own boss might not like their attitude either. Besides, if they are in a position of managing others, there are probably more people than just you that has a problem with them. High turnover does not make the powers that be very happy. If it becomes unbearable, my best advice is to seek other employment.
If they are a family member, that’s easy. Limit their contact with you to holidays and nothing more. Even during a holiday it’s easy to escape their overbearing personality by simply walking into the other room.
If they are a friend, you might consider cooling the friendship if this is something you can’t put up with. I dealt with someone like this for many years before walking away and not looking back. I can tell you this much, I don’t miss them one bit.
No matter what role they play, you can always control one part of the contact, and that is yourself.
The next time you find yourself faced with someone suffering from Unwarranted Self Importance remember that what you are seeing is someone that doesn’t feel important at all. That’s why they have to keep reminding you that they think they are. Just smile and nod. You are confident enough to know that to engage them is a waste of your time and you have more important matters to attend to in life.