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21 Jan 2013

Egocentric, Reserved People (ERP’s)

EgocentricDelphine Szwarc asked the following of me on twitter:

Can one be egocentric and reserved at the same time?

More specifically, she wanted me to focus on this particular definition (#2 from her link):

having little or no regard for interests, beliefs, or attitudes other than one’s own; self-centered: “an egocentric person; egocentric demands upon the time and patience of others.

In short, the answer is “Yes, people can be egocentric and reserved at the same time.” For us to understand we need to focus on emotional and thought processes not just outgoing behavior. In other words, does the ERP regard others when he thinks and feels?

For instance, a reserved person could make a decision that has no regard for others. When he presents his decision and people disagree, an ERP is likely to believe that it occurred because they don’t like him and not because he ignored their interests, beliefs and attitudes.

One of the reasons egocentric people are such is that they have a strong belief in being right, often to the point of hubris. Second, since reserved people are often introverts, they tend to think extensively about problems before presenting solutions. Therefore, they not only believe they are right because of better insight but also because of the thought they put into the problem. What ERP’s overlook though is the problem of over thinking.

Frequently, ERP’s exhibit passive-aggressive behavior. For instance, they might listen to us gratuitously and do or change nothing. They might erect barriers for our ideas just so they can more easily justify turning them down. For instance, ERP’s might say, think or feel:

I’m open to other ideas, but people need to know that I’ve researched and analyzed mine. I expect them to be just as thorough as I am. They can’t expect me to change my position when they haven’t done their homework.

ERP’s differ from outgoing egocentric people in that they will encourage us to feel frustrated while living with impractical or overly complex ideas. The latter encourages oppressive feelings and ideas that are orders. Regardless, adapting to egocentrism is very difficult.


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