Communication With a Conversational Narcissist 

I was at a party recently with someone I had just met. After I began answering a question they had asked me I noticed that I was interrupted mid sentence as (I allowed myself to be)  bulldozed and began talking about themselves and even changed the subject a couple of times in the process.  Because of this person’s inability to connect well with me and noticing the common pattern of communication, I now can see that I was talking to a “conversational narcissist”. I bet you know this person: they are talking at a consistent rate at the gathering you’re at and do not appear to be at all interested in what you have to say but instead, what they have to say about themselves or others you don’t even know.

Does the following sound and feel familiar to you?

You: I recently have been able to finally join that book club I’ve been meaning to join for years! We’re reading.... (and then suddenly you’re cut off, unable to finish your sentence)

Them: Oh, I joined a book club years ago and I had to stop going because the ride was way too long and I really didn’t like the selection of books that were chosen. I just bought the latest book from Oprah’s recommended list and I have to say it really wasn’t as good as I thought it would be…” (and they go on and on talking about their reading habits, completely unable (unwilling?) to stay connected to you about what you originally started with).

Here's what they did: they interrupted you mid-thought with an impulse so as to put the spotlight on themselves and began talking about things that don’t relate to what you originally brought to the conversation. There was a disconnect from you.

Feels lonely, or in the very least, dissatisfying, doesn't it?

This is where it takes awareness and patience with yourself to turn back the page and begin speaking about yourself again. What this will do is satisfy your need to be heard, even if you're the only one listening. However, if they are aware of how their behavior affects other people then you may have a chance in having some satisfying conversation. If not , you may be sharing space with a conversational narcissist who is either unwilling or unable to connect with you. 

You may also try to attempt being brave enough to say, "I'm feeling interrupted". These three simple words may be, if your partner in conversation is aware, the catalyst for change. Check out my blog on "Boundary Building" to learn more. 

If that's too frightening for you but you do feel that the person whom you're speaking with may be a little aware, try to take back the conversation. After they take a breath and pause, continue with what you originally wanted to say, such as, “Yeah, I am so glad I joined! I have met some really interesting people who, like me, enjoy reading some of the same topics that I do, like, science fiction and organic gardening!” . This is important as you begin to satisfy your own need to be heard and then you can decide if it’s worth continuing conversation or even begin building a relationship with that person who may or may not be able to hear you . Use your body to gauge whether or not you're in a safe and healthy place to continue conversing. If you're feeling invisible and dissatisfied then it may be in your best interest to find someone else to talk to who is less self-absorbed and looking for healthy connection.