tony stark thinks about other people constantly
he thinks, can i trust these people? or will they betray me? are they talking to me because they like me or because they want something from me? because he HAS TO, because most of the time the answer is the latter, because his father was always disappointed and obie stole his heart and the government tried to steal his suit and shield was just making weapons the whole time, because tony stark has trust issues a mile wide and authority issues to higher than the empire state, because he has some damn good reasons to.
tony stark thinks, how the fuck does it work if you can’t program it? he thinks, pepper+strawberries=?, he thinks, bruce+?=giant green rage monster, and we make jokes out of that because it’s so foreign to us but where the hell do you think tony learned how people worked? a tiny genius, he never had any kind of elementary school playground, just an empty house and an emptier father, and he’s had three friends in the world and one of them he built by himself.
here is a list of things tony stark built by himself: his house. his butler. his heart. the suit of armor that surrounds him. all the suits of armor, because if you think iron man’s the only one you’re an idiot. here is a list of what tony stark is: genius, first, because he’s a genius first, he’s always been a genius first, it’s what took him into afghanistan and out of it, and then a billionaire because that was from his father, and then a playboy because he doesn’t know how to react to people otherwise, and philanthropist comes last. here is a list of the people who love tony: rhodey and pepper, and look at how tony treats them: he never asks, just throws variable after variable into their equations, trying to make them come out positive. here is a list of the people who do not love tony: everyone else, up to and including tony stark.
so when you say “tony stark is a self-absorbed egomaniac”
you’re right, but you’re wrong.
you’re right because tony relies on himself, has always relied on himself, has no one else to rely on but himself. you’re wrong because of tony were absorbed in himself, he’d fall apart in a day. he hates what he finds inside himself too much to spend much time there.