Definition of SELF-ABSORBED


Self-Absorbed is an adjective that describes a person who is preoccupied with their own thoughts, feelings, and interests, often to the exclusion of others. This trait suggests a lack of consideration or awareness of other people’s needs or perspectives.

Personal Focus: Being self-absorbed implies a strong inward focus. Individuals described this way often spend a lot of time thinking about their own life, problems, and achievements. This self-centered mindset can lead to a limited understanding or appreciation of the experiences and emotions of others. For example, “He was so self-absorbed that he didn’t notice his friend’s distress.”

Social Interactions: In social contexts, a self-absorbed person may dominate conversations, talk extensively about themselves, and show little interest in others. This behavior can strain relationships and lead to perceptions of arrogance or selfishness. People may feel neglected or undervalued when interacting with someone who is excessively self-focused.

Psychological Perspectives: From a psychological standpoint, self-absorption can be associated with certain personality traits or disorders. For instance, narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by an extreme form of self-absorption. However, a moderate degree of self-focus is normal and can be part of healthy self-awareness and self-care.

Impact on Empathy: Self-absorbed individuals often struggle with empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Their intense focus on themselves can make it difficult to recognize or respond to the needs and emotions of those around them. This lack of empathy can result in misunderstandings and conflicts.

Cultural Considerations: Cultural factors can influence the perception of self-absorption. In some cultures, individualism and self-focus might be more accepted or even encouraged, whereas in collectivist cultures, such behavior might be frowned upon. Understanding these cultural nuances is important for interpreting and addressing self-absorbed behavior appropriately.

Personal Development: Addressing self-absorption involves developing greater self-awareness and empathy. Techniques such as active listening, mindfulness, and empathy training can help individuals become more attuned to others. Personal growth and improved relationships often result from a balanced focus on oneself and others.

In conclusion, self-absorbed is an adjective describing someone who is overly focused on themselves, often at the expense of others. This trait can negatively impact social interactions and empathy. Understanding and mitigating self-absorbed behavior through increased self-awareness and empathy can lead to healthier, more fulfilling relationships and interactions.


The correct term is self-absorbed, with a hyphen. This is the standard way to write this compound adjective, describing someone who is preoccupied with their own thoughts, interests, or feelings to the exclusion of others.

The hyphen in self-absorbed is used to connect the prefix “self” with the root word “absorbed.” Hyphens are commonly used in compound adjectives to clarify their meaning and to ensure that readers understand that the words are acting together as a single modifier before a noun.

In the case of self-absorbed, the hyphen helps to convey that the individual is absorbed in themselves, their thoughts, or their interests. Without the hyphen, “self absorbed” might be interpreted as “self” being an adjective modifying “absorbed” separately, rather than the two words acting together to modify a noun.

Using the hyphen helps to avoid ambiguity and ensures clarity in communication.

Examples of SELF-ABSORBED in a sentence

  • She was so self-absorbed that she rarely noticed the needs of others around her.
  • His self-absorbed attitude made it difficult for him to form meaningful relationships.
  • The actress’s self-absorbed behavior alienated her from her coworkers on set.
  • The CEO’s self-absorbed leadership style led to discontent among the employees.
  • Their self-absorbed focus on personal gain ignored the collective welfare of the team.
  • She realized that her self-absorbed tendencies were hindering her personal growth.
  • The artist’s self-absorbed obsession with perfection often stalled their creative process.
  • He finally recognized the destructive impact of his self-absorbed behavior on those around him.

Etymology of SELF-ABSORBED

The term self-absorbed navigates through the psychological landscape of narcissism, egocentrism, and introspection, reflecting the complexities of self-focus and inward-directed attention. Rooted in English and psychological concepts, it has evolved into an adjective that describes individuals excessively preoccupied with themselves, their thoughts, and their experiences to the exclusion of others.

  • English Language and Psychological Concepts: The term self-absorbed emerges from the English language to describe a psychological state characterized by an intense focus on one’s own thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It reflects broader concepts in psychology related to self-centeredness, egotism, and self-involvement.
  • Excessive Preoccupation: Self-absorbed individuals display a heightened fixation on their own concerns, desires, and needs, often at the expense of empathy or consideration for others. They may prioritize self-enhancement, validation, or gratification, seeking attention, admiration, or affirmation from others to bolster their self-esteem or self-image.
  • Impact on Relationships: Self-absorption can strain interpersonal relationships and social interactions, as it may lead to a lack of reciprocity, empathy, or mutual understanding. Self-absorbed individuals may struggle to engage authentically with others, prioritize their own needs over those of others, or exhibit patterns of selfishness, entitlement, or manipulation.
  • Psychological Underpinnings: Self-absorption may stem from underlying psychological factors such as insecurity, low self-esteem, or a need for validation and validation. It may also be associated with personality traits such as narcissism, which involves an inflated sense of self-importance, a craving for admiration, and a lack of empathy.
  • Cultivating Self-Awareness: Overcoming self-absorption often requires self-reflection, introspection, and a willingness to examine one’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors with honesty and humility. Developing empathy, compassion, and perspective-taking skills can help individuals shift their focus outward and cultivate healthier, more fulfilling relationships.

Self-absorbed stands as a nuanced concept in psychology and interpersonal dynamics, highlighting the intricate interplay between self-focus and social connection. From its origins in the English language to its implications for individual well-being and relational harmony, the term underscores the importance of balance, self-awareness, and genuine connection in navigating the complexities of human interaction.


  • Egotistical
  • Narcissistic
  • Self-centered
  • Egocentric
  • Self-involved
  • Self-focused
  • Self-preoccupied
  • Self-centered


  • Selfless
  • Considerate
  • Empathetic
  • Generous
  • Altruistic
  • Other-focused
  • Compassionate
  • Thoughtful


  • Self-absorption
  • Egocentrism
  • Narcissism
  • Egotism
  • Self-interest
  • Self-preoccupation
  • Self-involvement
  • Selfish

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