Never the Right Word

Never the Right Word

Scripts & Templates for Life’s Uncomfortable Conversations.

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10 Graceful Responses for People with Big Egos

Most of us have experienced people with a hyper-inflated sense of self-importance. Persons with big egos have exaggerated feelings of self-worth, an extreme need for admiration, and a lack of consideration and empathy for other people.

These people always put their own needs first and have difficulty seeing other points of view. They usually show manipulative, arrogant, and self-centered behavior. Also, people with big egos commonly tend to blame others for their failures.

They will talk highly of themselves and turn every conversation towards them. At the same time, they will ignore you, write off your opinion, or dismiss your accomplishments. Your friend with a big ego may make fun of you and laugh at your flaws in front of other people, but he or she will get offended if you act the same way.

This kind of self-image is most common among individuals with Narcissist Personality Disorder (NPD). Their behavior partly stems from insecurities they ineffectively try to compensate this way. However, a person can have a big ego without being diagnosed with a narcissist personality disorder.

Their narcissistic personality traits can make your relationship with these persons challenging, whether it is personal relationships or business. So, without further ado, here are ten graceful responses for people with big egos:

Response 1 | Set the Boundaries


I understand how you are feeling. But I have my boundaries. I need you to respect them.

This template lets the person know that you are not willing to accept arrangements that don’t work in your favor. Set limits for in-person conversations, phone calls, messages, and social media. Learn how to say “no” to a person with a big ego and their demands.

Response 2 | Be Neutral


While you’re pushing my buttons right now, I will not give in to that. I am sorry, but I won’t allow you to treat me with disrespect.

This template lets a person with a big ego know that their behavior cannot provoke and upset you (which is exactly what they want sometimes). It puts you in a position to be neutral. Narcissists love drama.

Even though it may be very hard, try to ignore their sarcasm, anger, and hostility. Stay calm and composed and don’t engage in their drama. Take some time before you answer to a narcissist’s emails, messages, or phone calls.

When a person with an inflated ego drives you crazy, try not to show that. Using these lines, you are informing the person that you will not allow them to draw you in conversation that evolves around their self-centered image.

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Response 3 | Be Straightforward


I am not an expert, but I am fairly confident you have issues with exaggerated self-importance. You need to accept that it’s not all about you.

When dealing with a narcissist, you want to use effective comebacks. By telling the person how you see them, you are protecting yourself and setting the boundaries. This template is especially effective if a person with a big ego is a family member, friend or someone else you can openly and honestly talk to. No matter how close this person is to you, you need to let them know that they cannot take advantage of you.

If you're looking to develop your communication skills for professional environments even further, we think you’ll like the following video course from LinkedIn Learning. Check out the preview below:

Click here for full access to "Working with Difficult People" On LinkedIn Learning
In this course, Chris Croft shares methods for recognizing the characteristics of some of the most common types of difficult people, and gives you strategies for dealing with these individuals more effectively. Chris provides practical techniques for dealing with a variety of different behaviors, including negativity, aggression, childishness, and selfishness. Plus, he explains how to overcome your own negative thinking, and get the best from a difficult boss.

Response 4 | Emphasize Humbleness


A big ego is not cool. Humility is. By this, I don’t mean thinking less of yourself. But it would be nice if you think of yourself less.

Let’s not be fooled, this approach will not make a narcissistic person modest just like that. But it’s always healthy to express your opinion, especially if the narcissist is a close friend or a family member. And it’s good to let them know that they can’t cash in on your kindness.

Response 5 | Comment on Their Arrogance


Yes, it’s great to be confident. But there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Having faith in ourselves doesn’t entitle us to think we are better than others.

Strong confidence means that we feel good about ourselves and believe in our ability to succeed. However, being overconfident can turn into arrogance and prevent us from seizing opportunities in life as much as a lack of confidence can.

For example, if a student doesn’t study for an exam assuming that they already know everything, it is to be expected that they will not be well prepared and fail. So, having healthy, balanced confidence can help us perform at our best, and achieve our goals more effectively.

Response 6 | Highlight the Facts not Emotions


Please, let’s stick to the facts only.

It is important to talk about facts, not feelings when dealing with a narcissist. Just stick to the facts and try not to engage in unnecessary conversation. People with a big ego, in general, don’t care about how their behavior makes you feel, so all those “I feel” statements won’t work in this particular situation.

A narcissist will easily turn your feelings around and blame you for being oversensitive or even interpret your emotions as an attack, become defensive and start a fight.

If you're looking to develop your communication skills for professional environments even further, we think you’ll like the following video course from LinkedIn Learning. Check out the preview below:

Click here for full access to "Communicating with Empathy" On LinkedIn Learning
In this course, communication expert Sharon Steed explains the principles of empathetic communication and shares specific strategies to help improve your approach to difficult conversations. Get ready to learn how to converse empathetically to improve your one-on-one conversations and team interactions.

Response 7 | Call to Responsibility


I will take responsibility for my words and actions. I’d appreciate it if you take responsibility for yours.

When dealing with a narcissist, you mustn’t allow yourself to get trapped by their net of guilt and blame. Don’t feel the pressure to defend yourself. Resist the need to justify or explain yourself. By referring to personal responsibility, you are refusing to engage in an endless blame-game with a narcissist.

Template 8 | Send “I Hear You” Message


I hear what you’re saying. I appreciate that you’re sharing your thoughts with me. But I think we can move on with conversation now.

If they don’t feel heard, people with big egos will go on forever talking over you. In this statement, you’re making it clear that you’ve heard them but don’t want to ponder too much over the topic.

Response 9 | Divert Attention to Something Else


You have told me how you feel. I understand. But now, I have to deal with/take care of/go to (insert activity).

This approach is good because you’re acknowledging the person’s feelings, at the same time letting them know that they are not the center of your attention. You are assertively informing the person with a big ego that you won’t allow them to consume up all your time and attention.

Response 10 | Acknowledge Them but Emphasize Compassion


Hey (insert name), I know you have accomplished a lot on your own, and believe you know the best, but looking at the situation from other viewpoints won’t hurt.

Successful people sometimes have big egos because they have proven themselves to be effective and dominant. Therefore, they often have difficulties acknowledging other people’s ideas or opinions.

In this template, you are sending a message that you value the person’s effort and success. However, you’re asserting their self-centered mindset as something that they might want to reconsider and try to change and respond to others with more compassion.

If you have to deal with a person with an inflated sense of self-importance in the long turn, these templates may help you to set the boundaries and avoid emotional havoc that a relationship with the narcissist may cause.

If you're looking to develop your communication skills for professional environments even further, we think you’ll like the following video course from LinkedIn Learning. Check out the preview below:

Click here for full access to "Common Meeting Problems" On LinkedIn Learning
If you're finding your meetings ineffective, you're running out of time without completing the agenda or your attendees seem dissatisfied trainer Chris Croft is here to find a solution. In this course trainer outlines the top 10 meeting problems and explains how to manage each one. He covers meetings that aren't necessary; noises and other distractions that throw meetings off track; attendees showing up late; disruptive behavior; lack of focus; meetings that take too long; lack of progress; and lack of participation. Plus, get tips for eliminating some of the most common technology issues that occur during virtual meetings.

At Never the Right Word, our aim is to give you practical examples of how to handle life’s difficult conversations. If you have an awkward situation that you’d like example templates for, request a topic here.   

If you’re interested in further reading, we’ve also included links to our trusted resources and related posts below. To find out more about NTRW and our recommended tools, you can do that here.  

Lastly, if you found this content helpful or want to share your own examples, let us know in the comments. We’d also be delighted if you shared this article and joined us on social media too!

Never the Right Word

Never the Right Word

Hi there! I’m Amy, and I’m the person behind Never the Right Word. I’m a designer-by-day who’s fascinated by human psychology; you’ll find me learning about what makes others tick through all types of media and good old-fashioned conversation.

In 2019 Never the Right Word was born to fill the gap of ‘how-to’ websites with copy and paste examples showing you EXACTLY what you need to say to steer difficult conversations into positive outcomes.

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