Most people are aware of what (and who) a Conversational Dominator is, but what about who’s a Conversational Narcissist? And, what if you’re a Conversational Narcissist and you don’t realize it?
Conversational Narcissists are people who shift conversation topics to themselves when the other speaker has introduced the topic. Conversational Narcissists may use a few acknowledgments to let the speaker know they’re listening, however, through their response they still shift the topic back to themselves.
How do they do that? For example: your work mate looks up from his laptop and tells you he can’t believe it’s 2:00 in the afternoon already, and he hasn’t had lunch yet. You respond with “I know, that happens to me all the time. Sometimes it gets to be really late in the afternoon before I’ve eaten, or sometimes I don’t even eat at all when I’m on a deadline.” In this scenario you’ve acknowledged what your work mate told you – and in the same breath you’ve shifted the conversation away from his lunch woes by responding about your lunch woes. Where does the conversation go from here?
Instead, you could respond with something like, “Boy, you must be really hungry! Can you take a break right now and go out and grab a bite to eat?” Or, “Is the report taking longer than you anticipated?” In this second scenario you’re showing support by acknowledging him, and your response keeps the conversation and topic focused on his dilemma, making it easy to keep the conversation flowing.
There are many nuances to being a good conversationalist; understanding how not to be a Conversational Narcissist can aid you in being a great conversationalist.