12 Clues to Spot a Narcissist

Experts say we’re in an epidemic of narcissism. Do you know the telltale signs?

He has zero patience for other people’s problems


The defining feature of narcissism is an excessive interest in oneself, which means they generally care very little about other people’s experiences. “Narcissists tend to have a diminished sense of empathy, meaning that it is difficult for them to attend and relate to the thoughts, feelings, and suffering of others,” explains Sander van der Linden, PhD, a social psychologist at the University of Cambridge who has done extensive research on narcissistic personality.

She is charming and magnetic

iStock/Petar Chernaev

Narcissists make an incredible first impression, appearing to others to be confident, sexy, attractive, competent, warm, and funny. This means they’re often the most popular or most interesting person in the room as people feel drawn to their overwhelming charisma even without really knowing them, says research published in Personality. However, the sparkly social veneer quickly wears thin as the more time you spend with them, the more the negative aspects of narcissism begin to take over.

He’s a take-charge leader

iStock/Xavier Arnau

Because of the ego boost and power they provide, leadership roles are a natural draw for people with a narcissistic personality, according to a study published in Personnel Psychology. And, the researchers found, narcissists can make very good leaders—up to a point. Eventually, the people under them began to tire of them “being exploitative, arrogant, and even tyrannical.” Watch out for these signs that you’re a conversational narcissist.

She goes through friends fast

iStock/Jacob Ammentorp Lund

It’s the narcissist’s paradox: They constantly denigrate and disparage others, yet they desperately need their admiration. This means they are constantly finding new friends who will praise and adore them, only to ditch them the second they start to get too real. “Seeking admiration is like a drug for narcissists,” says Mitja Back, a professor of psychology at the University of Munster and author of a paper on narcissism. “In the long run, it becomes difficult because others won’t applaud them, so they always have to search for new acquaintances from whom they get the next fix.”

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