Difference Between Egocentric and Narcissistic

Egocentric vs Narcissistic

Although the words egocentric and narcissistic may appear similar, there are differences between the two. Being egocentric is when an individual is interested only in his needs. On the other hand, being narcissistic is when an individual has an inflated sense of self-worth. An egocentric individual believes that he is at the center of attention. This characteristic can also be seen in a narcissistic individual as well. However, there are differences between these two individuals. One of the key differences that can be observed between an egocentric individual and a narcissistic individual is that a narcissistic individual is affected a lot by the opinions of others. They enjoy and yearn for others’ approval, but an egocentric individual does not operate in this manner. Through this article let us examine the differences between these two characters in depth. First, let us begin with the word egocentric.

What is Egocentric?

Being egocentric is when an individual is extremely interested in his needs that he finds it difficult to understand others. Such an individual cannot empathize with another because he cannot identify the difference between self and another. When a person is egocentric, he understand the world in his perspective. This can be interpreted as a cognitive bias because the individual fails to see the world for what it truly is and prefers to see it in his perspective. This can distort reality for the individual.

Egocentrism can be noticed in different stages of life of an individual. However, according to Jean Piaget, a famous psychologist, egocentrism can be noticed in small children mostly. Being egocentric can become a disadvantage for the child as he grows up because he encounters difficulty in empathizing with others. Such an individual finds it difficult to accept the perspectives and realities of another. This can even lead to anxiety and tension. Egocentric adults can have low self-esteem, and appear antisocial as they find it difficult to communicate and relate to others. Now, let us move on to the next word ‘narcissistic’.

Difference Between Egocentric and Narcissistic

Parallel Play – Early stage in child development characterized by egocentric behavior

What is Narcissistic?

Being narcissistic is when an individual has an extreme self-worth. Unlike in the case of egocentrism, the individual can comprehend another, but since he is so caught up in his self worth, he shows the lack of interest in others. According to Abnormal psychologists, narcissism can even be considered as a mental disorder. This disorder is known as narcissistic personality disorder.

Egocentric vs Narcissistic

Narcissism – Egotistic admiration of his own attributes

A narcissistic individual is very ambitious and full of energy. Due to these traits, a narcissistic individual can acquire leadership easily. However, such a person needs to be praised and admired by others at all times. This is why it is correct to state that narcissistic individuals love being at the center of attention. One of the key negative traits in a narcissistic person is the lack of accountability. A narcissistic person would never take accountability for wrong doings and would blame others. He is also emotionally unstable and can appear very aggressive and arrogant towards others. As you can see, there is a clear difference between an egocentric and a narcissistic person. Now, let us summarize the difference as follows.

What is the difference between Egocentric and Narcissistic?

Definition of Egocentric and Narcissistic:

Egocentric: An egocentric individual is interested only in his needs.

Narcissistic: A narcissistic individual has an inflated sense of self-worth.

Characteristics of Egocentric and Narcissistic:

Common Characteristic:

Both an egocentric and narcissistic individual likes to be at the center of attention.

Approval of Others:

Egocentric: An egocentric person understand the world in his perspective.

Narcissistic: A narcissistic person yearns for the approval of others.


Egocentric: An egocentric individual has difficulty in empathizing with others.

Narcissistic: A narcissistic individual does not make an attempt to understand others as he is disinterested.

Mental Disorder:

Egocentric: Egocentrism is not a mental disorder.

Narcissistic: Narcissism can sometimes be diagnosed as a mental disorder. Narcissism is at a higher stage of egocentrism.


Image Courtesy:

1. Children marbles [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons 

2. Narcissus-Caravaggio (1594-96) edited by Caravaggio – scan. [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons