Interested in finding out if you or perhaps one of the people close to you exhibit characteristics of true narcissism? Let’s break it down to 21 easy ways to find out:
1. Narcissists always have to be in control.
Narcissists hate to be at the mercy of others’ preferences, says Harvard Medical School psychologist Craig Malkin. This is why they can be controlling without getting angry: in relationships, this looks like chronic lateness, calls to change plans and disapproving glances. By doing so, the undermine others’ ability to make decisions and in this way, they have all the control.
2. Narcissists choose friends differently.
Narcissistic men choose bros who can be “wingmen” for them and help them pick up women, whereas women choose friends based on their social status so that they can feel more worthy. These are very different criteria than most people use to choose friends.
3. You had a lousy upbringing.
Your parents most likely adored and ignored you if you’re a narcissist, suggests Sigmund Freud. This combination more than either of those singly (being exclusively ignored or exclusively adored) factored into the narcissistic adult’s endless chasing of short, limited ego boosts.
4. You like putting others down.
If you’re a narcissist, putting others down makes you feel better. It helps you maintain a high positive self-image.
5. You pedestalize some people.
Meaning, you put people on pedestals who you think will make you a better person because you think they are better people and their “betterness” will rub off on you. Narcissists cozy up to people they see as perfect…and then slither away when the person falls short of their ideal of perfection.
6. Relationships with them last about four months.
This is the period of time, apparently, that it takes for the adoration to wear off and for their true colors to show through.
7. They’re cheaters.
Once they feel someone has committed to them, narcissists cheat on their partners. Apparently they get some kind of rush or thrill in engaging in promiscuous acts that they wouldn’t normally do.
8. Narcissists fall in love easily.
These “seductive” people fall in and out of love easily, often with people they don’t know very well. To them their partner is “perfect” until they see their flaws and end the relationship.
9. They are just waiting to speak.
Narcissists don’t listen in conversations; they are just waiting for you to finish so that they can say what they want to. In reality they have no interest whatsoever in what you have to say.
10. They are attractive.
Generally speaking narcissists are regarded as more attractive and stylish than most other people. This goes along with their always needing to be the best.
11. You’re likely male and young.
After 34,653 interviews, psychologist Frederick Stinson found that most narcissists are male. Also, narcissism tends to peak in adolescence.
12. They HATE feeling emotions.
Emotions present a problematic challenge to narcissists, because they involve an element of something outside of their control. So they abhor family gatherings and the like so that their autonomy is retained.
13. Probably, they enjoy entertaining people.
Narcissists enjoy being the center of attention. As psychologist Peter Jonason puts it, “A narcissist monk would not be good, but to be Kanye West and a narcissist is fantastic.”
14. Narcissists like telling others what to do.
Narcissists do well in positions of leadership or power, because they can dominate others and receive constant positive reinforcement.
15. You feel like it’s okay to be mean to people.
“Vindictive” narcissists know that being mean to people is wrong, but they do it anyway out of a perceived feeling that they have been wronged. Also, they take offense where none was intended.
16. They are self-righteous.
Narcissists (obviously) feel their views are better than anyone else’s. Their true joy comes from the attention they receive from their views.
17. Narcissists curse more.
Narcissists like to sweat and become argumentative more than most people. To add an extra bit of fun, they like to use sexually explicit language.
18. They think everyone else is stupid.
Most narcissists are know-it-alls, and the very suggestions that they may be wrong is what leaves them with few friends and distrusting colleagues. They tend to exhibit a “my way or the highway” type of attitude.
19. There are two types of narcissism.
Most of us are familiar with the more grandiose style of narcissist, but there’s actually a second, more introverted one. Introverted narcissists are hypersensitive, defensive and anxious.
20. Narcissists constantly feel underappreciated.
The more “grandiose” narcissists hold a grievance with the world, for not appreciating them more. They feel entitled to something more and better and feel they’re not getting what they deserve.
21. You’re a poor sport.
Narcissists tend to be bullies…and they are sore winners AND sore losers. When they lose in a sports match they might try to humiliate the referee. If they WIN, the obviously humiliate their partner.