What’s the Difference Between Egotistical and Egocentric?

When people talk about someone who seems self-absorbed, they might use the words “egotistical” or “egocentric.” Although both words suggest that someone is focused on themselves, there’s more to each term than meets the eye.

Egotistical refers to a person who has an inflated sense of their own importance and seeks others’ admiration. Egocentric, on the other hand, is when someone views the world strictly from their own perspective and struggles to recognize anyone else’s viewpoint.

It’s easy to get these two terms confused, but understanding what sets them apart is key. This article will clearly explain egotistical and egocentric traits, show how they are different, and talk about why this matters in our everyday lives.

What Is Egotistical?

Egotistical behavior is characterized by an exaggerated sense of self-importance and self-involvement.

An egotistical individual typically believes they are superior to others and seeks to be admired and validated by those around them. This trait is often associated with a lack of empathy and a strong desire for recognition and praise.

In essence, egotistical individuals are excessively preoccupied with their own abilities and achievements. They may often be seen:

  • Boasting about their accomplishments.
  • Overshadowing others.
  • Seeking positions of power or dominance purely for self-glorification.

While confidence in one’s abilities is healthy, the egotistical personality crosses into a realm where this self-assuredness becomes self-absorption and can lead to arrogance.

What Is Egocentric?

Being egocentric doesn’t necessarily involve a superior view of oneself. Instead, it involves a focus on one’s own experiences and perspectives to the extent that it’s hard to see things from another’s point of view.

Characteristics of Egocentric Individuals:

  • They are often unaware of how much they focus on themselves.
  • They might overlook or forget to consider the needs and feelings of others.
  • They can make decisions based on their own needs, without thinking about how it affects anyone else.

Unlike egotistical behavior, egocentrism is not always done on purpose. Many times, egocentric individuals do not realize that their actions or attitudes are self-centered.

Egotistical vs. Egocentric: What’s the Difference?

Comparison AspectEgotisticalEgocentric
IntentionalityLeads to tension due to the need for validationMay act without realization of self-centeredness
Behavioral ImpactActively seeks admiration, may downgrade othersUnintentionally neglects others’ emotions
Empathy LevelsLess likely to display empathyDifficulty understanding different viewpoints
Social InteractionControls conversations to highlight personal gainsNeglects topics not of personal interest
Relationships DynamicLeads to tension due to need for validationResults in misunderstandings from missed emotional cues
Criticism ResponseDefensive when self-image threatenedUnconcerned if criticism is irrelevant to personal interests
Conflict OriginDesire for dominanceNeglected understanding of others’ needs
Recognition of Others’ ValueValues others for their usefulness to personal aimsValues others but may not express due to own perspective


  • Egotistical: Egotistical individuals are fully aware that they are focusing on themselves. They act with the goal of getting attention and praise from others. Their behavior is often planned—for instance, they might lead a conversation to talk about their own success.
  • Egocentric: Egocentric people usually do not realize they are being self-centered. They naturally focus more on their own views and needs. When they overlook others’ thoughts or feelings, it’s not because they mean to—they are just not thinking about it.

Behavioral Impact

  • Egotistical: Egotistical actions can make others feel less important or looked down upon. These individuals often want to win or be the best, which can cause problems or hurt feelings among friends, family, or co-workers.
  • Egocentric: Egocentric behavior does not come from a bad place, but it can still cause problems. These individuals might forget to include others or miss out on what others need because they focus too much on themselves, even if they don’t mean to hurt anyone.

Empathy Levels

  • Egotistical: People who are egotistical often have a hard time feeling or showing empathy because they are so focused on themselves. They might not easily understand or share the feelings of others, especially if it doesn’t benefit them directly.
  • Egocentric: Those who are egocentric may find it challenging to see things from another person’s perspective. It’s not that they don’t care about others’ feelings, but their natural focus on their own experiences can make it hard for them to put themselves in someone else’s shoes.

Social Interaction

  • Egotistical: In social situations, egotistical individuals often try to keep the spotlight on themselves. They might always steer conversations back to their own stories or achievements, making it hard for anyone else to get a word in.
  • Egocentric: Egocentric people might not be trying to take over conversations, but they can sometimes ignore topics that don’t interest them personally. They often don’t realize they’re not paying attention to what’s important to others.

Relationships Dynamic

  • Egotistical: Egotistical behavior can put a strain on relationships. People with this trait may need constant validation and attention from others, which can become exhausting for friends and family. This need for affirmation might lead to one-sided relationships where the egotistical person’s desires come first.
  • Egocentric: Egocentric individuals may cause confusion or hurt in relationships without intending to. They might not notice when they’ve upset someone because they’re not fully tuned into other people’s feelings. While they care about their relationships, they might miss important signals because they’re wrapped up in their own world.

Response to Criticism

  • Egotistical: When faced with criticism, egotistical people might become defensive or upset. They tend to take negative feedback personally because it can feel like a direct attack on their self-image. They might argue against the critique or dismiss it altogether, rather than taking it as a chance to grow.
  • Egocentric: Egocentric individuals may not pay much attention to criticism, especially if they don’t see how it applies to them. They might simply overlook the feedback unless someone helps them understand how the criticism affects them directly. They’re not as likely to take it personally unless it relates closely to their own interests or experiences.

Origin of Conflict

  • Egotistical: Conflicts involving egotistical people often start because they want to prove they are better than others. They might pick fights or create problems when they feel their status is threatened or not acknowledged. This need to be seen as superior can cause arguments and disagreements in groups.
  • Egocentric: When egocentric people are part of conflicts, it’s usually because they haven’t considered how others might feel or think. These conflicts can happen by accident when they make choices that are good for them but might not be good for everyone else. They’re not trying to upset anyone; they’re just not looking at the whole picture.

Recognition of Others’ Value

  • Egotistical: Egotistical individuals may recognize the worth of others, but mainly when those people can help them achieve what they want. They tend to see relationships in terms of what they can gain, whether it’s status, information, or other benefits. They might not value others for who they are but for what they can do for them.
  • Egocentric: Egocentric people do value others, but they might struggle to show it consistently. Their focus on their own perspective can make them seem indifferent or insensitive to the value of others, even though this is not their intention. They need to be reminded sometimes to express their appreciation for others more clearly.

Personal Growth and Change

Transforming egotistical or egocentric tendencies into more positive behaviors is a journey that begins with self-awareness.

This vital step involves becoming conscious of one’s actions, thoughts, and the effects they have on others. Understanding that there is room for growth is the foundation upon which personal development is built.

The Role of Self-Awareness

  • Identifying Patterns: It starts with noticing patterns in behavior. Are there recurring situations where self-interest seems to overshadow the consideration for others?
  • Reflecting on Feedback: Taking to heart the feedback from friends, family, and colleagues can provide crucial insights into how one might come across to others.

Strategies for Personal Development

Change for Egotistical Behavior

  • Tip 1. Admitting there’s a problem: Egotistical individuals must first accept that their need for admiration can be harmful to themselves and others.
  • Tip 2. Seeking feedback: Listening to others’ perceptions can provide valuable insights into how one’s behavior affects those around them.
  • Tip 3. Embracing humility: Learning to celebrate others’ successes and contributions can reduce the tendency to always put oneself first.

Change for Egocentric Behavior

  • Tip 1. Increasing self-awareness: Egocentric individuals should strive to be more mindful of their tendency to focus inward and make a conscious effort to consider others’ perspectives.
  • Tip 2. Practicing empathy: Actively trying to understand and share the feelings of others can help build stronger relationships.
  • Tip 3. Asking for input: Inviting advice and perspectives from friends, family, and colleagues can ensure that decisions and actions are more inclusive.

Exercises to Foster Empathy and Other-Focused Behavior

  • Reading Literature and Personal Stories: Literature can offer diverse perspectives and stimulate empathy. Reading about experiences vastly different from your own can broaden your understanding of others’ lives.
  • Volunteering: Helping those in need can shift the focus from self to community, naturally cultivating a more outward-focused perspective.
  • Mindfulness & Meditation: Techniques like mindfulness meditation can train the mind to focus less on oneself and more on the present—this can include the people around us.
  • Empathy Exercises: Role-playing exercises, where individuals practice responding to hypothetical situations from someone else’s point of view, can improve empathic understanding.
  • Therapy or Counseling: Sometimes, guidance from a professional can help shape the journey toward self-improvement, providing personalized strategies and coping mechanisms.

Regularly engaging with these resources and practices can significantly affect how individuals perceive and interact with the world. As they grow more other-focused and empathetic, their relationships and personal satisfaction can improve dramatically.

Through informed effort and a willingness to adapt, people who exhibit egotistical or egocentric traits can make meaningful changes in their lives. These adjustments not only benefit their personal development but also positively influence their relationships with others.

Remember: If you're dealing with personality behaviors or someone else's that are concerning to you, reaching out to a mental health professional can provide personalized advice and support.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can someone be both egotistical and egocentric at the same time?

Yes, someone can exhibit traits of both egotism and egocentrism. They may have an inflated view of their importance (egotistical) while also being primarily focused on their own perspective (egocentric).

What’s the best way to deal with an egotistical or egocentric person?

Communicating your feelings calmly and setting clear boundaries can be effective. It’s also helpful to demonstrate empathy and encourage them to see other points of view while keeping in mind that the desire to change must come from them.

Are certain age groups more prone to egotism or egocentrism?

These traits can occur in any age group. However, egocentrism is often observed in children as they develop, and they typically become less egocentric as they mature and gain more social experience.

Final Thoughts

We’ve looked at being egotistical, which is when someone really wants to be noticed, and being egocentric, where a person only sees things from their own side. Understanding how these are different can help us get along better with others.

It’s good to know if we sometimes act egotistical or egocentric because it can show us what to work on to improve ourselves.

Think about how you act with others. Are you trying to get attention or not seeing things from their point of view? Knowing this can help us make changes. Let’s shift our focus from ‘me’ to ‘we’—it’s something that benefits us all.

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Jessa Claire is a registered healthcare provider. Music lover. Daydreamer. Thalassophile. Foodie. A hardworking Capricorn. Most days, an incurable empath. An old soul. Down-to-earth. Vibrant. When she's not writing, she can be seen relaxing with headphones on or engrossed in her favorite fan fiction book.