Quiz: Are You More Selfless or Self-Centered?

Are you always looking for ways to lend a hand to your friends or are you’re the first one to exit the group text when one of them needs something? While there are times when it’s OK to say no, there are instances where you should always be willing to help out. The funny thing is reality doesn’t always align with your perception. You may think you’re totally selfless — always making time for others, always buying thoughtful gifts — but you’re behavior might be more self-centered than you realize. This means it’s time for some self-reflection. Check out this quiz to see if you’re totally selfless or leaning more toward self-centered.

1. When you see someone walking down the street wearing something you think is ridiculous, what is your first response?


A couple laughing together | iStock.com

A. You poke your friend to show them the spectacle so that you can laugh together without making a big scene.

B. You laugh quietly to yourself and think about how that person needs a little more self-respect before going out on the town.

C. You might begin to laugh, but then you stop yourself — it’s a free country, and they should be able to wear whatever they please without ridicule.

Best Answer: C

While you may think it’s OK to laugh quietly to your friends or to yourself about others (it’s all in good fun if no one else notices, right?) it could be a sign that you’re self-centered. Self-centered people often have a superiority complex that makes them believe their way of doing things is always right. You should check yourself the next time you attempt to poke fun at someone.

2. Someone you think is highly annoying at work is asking if you’d like to work on a presentation together. What do you do?

Business lady texting and using laptop

Business woman texting and using laptop | iStock.com/DragonImages

A. You agree to do it together. You might not really like this person, but you know it’ll be best to work on it together and get a second pair of eyes on the edits.

B. You decline. You know you can do a better job on your own, so why waste anyone’s time? You’re just being honest.

C. You agree. They might already have a plan in place for the presentation, and you’re too swamped with work this week to figure it out. You’ll just go with the ideas they already have.

Best Answer: A

Willingness to collaborate for the good of the group, and the good of the company, is a sign you’re thinking less about your personal wants and more about what’s best for all. While you may think that being totally upfront and declining the offer is allowing you to be more true to yourself, you’re reacting in a selfish way.

3. You see your ex at a bar after you’ve been through a painful breakup. What do you do?

bartender with cocktail

Bartender making cocktails | iStock.com/nisimo

A. You totally ignore them and start flirting with the people around you. If they get jealous, so what? They’re not your problem anymore.

B. You glance in their direction and continuously sulk. Even when your friends try to cheer you up with another round of beers, you act uninterested.

C. You forget that they’re there and carry on with your night. You came here to have fun, and if you have to coexist in the same space, it might as well be peaceful.

Best Answer: C

The Huffington Post explains self-centered people typically appear over-confident, even though they’re lacking self-esteem. If you’re purposely trying to show your ex that you’re hurting from the breakup or that you’re way better off without them, you’re aiming to get a reaction out of personal gain. It’s best to forget they’re there so you can both have a good time.

4. Your best friend is moving to a different state and they ask for help packing. What do you tell them?

Man taping boxes to prepare to move

Man taping boxes to prepare to move | iStock.com

A. Absolutely! You want nothing but the best for your friend, even if that means you’ll be in tears on move-out day.

B. Yeah, you’ll do it. You know that a few days from now they’ll be dog-sitting for you, so you feel a little bit obligated to return the favor.

C. You tell them yes, but because it’s so last minute and you really want to catch up on your favorite TV show, you tell them that you’re only available for a few hours.

Best Answer: A

It’s never easy to let your best friend go, but you have to allow them to do what’s best for them. Being supportive and helping them move without a single gripe will help them transition more easily. You shouldn’t do something for someone just because you feel as if you owe them a favor. You also shouldn’t make too many excuses to them (and yourself) as to why you can’t do it. That’s just selfish.

5. Your colleagues in the office are all going out for drinks, and you’re invited. You’ve just received a big work bonus you have plans for, but when you get to the bar, you realize everyone is buying each other rounds of beer. What do you do?

Colleagues drinking after work

Connecting at a networking event over drinks | iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

A. You let your colleagues buy one round and take the beer that was offered. They’re being nice and buying for everyone, and that’s their decision, not yours. It doesn’t mean you have to buy for anyone other than yourself.

B. You ditch work early so you can avoid the bar, even though everyone asked for you to be there. You can say you have an emergency or something — and you really want to save your bonus.

C. You buy a round of beers for your colleagues before you head out. Fair is fair, and if they’re willing to buy you a beer, then you know returning the favor is what you should do.

Best Answer: C

According to Health Guidance, the sign of a selfless person is the willingness to give to others, especially if kindness is being shown to you from the start. It might take you a bit longer to save up the amount you originally had, but pitching in for a round of beers won’t break the bank. Besides, it’s socially the right thing to do.

6. You’re looking into volunteering at the local homeless shelter, but the time they’re looking for is Sundays, when you watch football with your friend. You’ve made a promise to your friend, but you also want to help the shelter. What do you do?

Happy volunteer showing her t-shirt

Happy volunteer showing her t-shirt | iStock.com/Wavebreakmedia

A. You sign up for the shelter and tell your friend you’re sorry, but you need to ditch them for the greater good. The shelter needs you more than football does.

B. You made a promise to your friend, and you intend to stick to it. The shelter can find others to fill your place, and you spend so little time with your friend as it is that you have to make that a priority.

C. You compromise by switching off weekends. No one is completely satisfied here, but this way, you get to split your efforts so that you get to watch football with your friend and volunteer.

Best Answer: C

It may seem like it’s best to completely skip out on friend time and help the homeless, but you need to stay loyal to the people who are closest to you, too. Switching off weekends offers time to the shelter and time to your friend so you find a happy balance. Considering the people in your life and giving back to your community are sure signs of selflessness.

7. Your church is taking a trip to Africa to help the local communities, and you can’t wait to join in on the adventure. When you get to Africa, what is your biggest goal?

Mombo Camp

Mombo Camp in Africa | iStock.com

A. You want to spend most of your time watching and listening to community members instead of taking immediate action. You want to observe before you take any steps for the community.

B. You can’t wait to jump right in and help out. You’ve brought shoes for the children who don’t have any, food for the community, and you’re excited to build up the local school to help spread education.

C. You’re excited to get in there and photograph the torn-down villages for your personal blog. The sad stories you’ll hear are really touching, and you think how tough it must be to really live here.

Best Answer: A

You might think that the best thing you can do is jump right in, but if you’re unsure of how that community operates or what the country is like, you risk doing more harm than good. It might make you personally feel accomplished when you’re seemingly helping people who cannot help themselves, but this attitude is more toxic and self-centered than you may realize. Always listen to and acknowledge the community members first before you get too caught up in your own ideas.

8. Your friend asks you if they can borrow $200 for car repairs, but money is tight. What do you do?

Photo by Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images

Fixing a car that needs repairing | Photo by Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images

A. You reluctantly tell them you can help. You really need the money because of your debt, but you know helping out means they’ll owe you in the future, and you can settle for that trade.

B. You tell them yes, even though you really don’t have the means to do so. You love the feeling of saving your friends when they’re in need, even if it means putting yourself in a bigger hole.

C. You tell them no. You apologize, explain your situation, and offer other solutions. Right now, you just don’t have the money.

Best Answer: C

If you can help your friend, then you should. But if doing so means putting you and your family in a hole you can’t escape, making the loan just to feel like a hero is flat-out selfish behavior. Offering other solutions is what will be best for everyone in this situation.