10 Traits of a Narcissist

Woman admiring herself in mirror

You have a friend, and she can be a little…much. The world revolves around her, she's not sensitive to your needs, and she even betrays you behind your back. It sounds like you're dealing with a narcissist. Narcissists share common traits that can be insanely frustrating for the people in their lives.

1. She Is More Important Than Anyone Else

You know that person who thinks they are all high and mighty and can do no wrong? Well, this person doesn't only make a simple argument when their "ways" are put into question, they look down on you. It upsets you, but you feel like you're talking to a brick wall when you try to express your own feelings.

You're Less Important Than a Narcissist

It stinks when you suspect someone feels he or she more important than you. With a narcissist in your life, it's clear she feels this way, however. For example, you make plans with your friend to get your nails done. You make room in your afternoon and drive to the nail salon only to sit there for half an hour waiting for your friend. You call and text to find out where she is. After three unanswered texts, a voicemail, and 30 minutes, she responds saying she made other, more fabulous plans. You both agreed you were free, and now here you sit alone. Her response? "Don't take things so seriously. I'll figure out another time I'm free to spend time together." To the narcissist, you don't matter when she makes plans with you, because your thoughts, needs, and feelings aren't important to her - only hers are.

2. He's Green With Envy

one looking on with envy

Everyone has the occasional jealousy issue, but narcissists obsesses about their envy. No one can do better than them, and no one can steal their spotlight or things will get ugly.

You Steal the Spotlight

Narcissists endure "narcissistic injury" when they feel someone has stolen their spotlight. For example, you just landed your dream job after years of hard work. It's an impressive company, and you are pretty darn proud of yourself until you tell your narcissistic friend. You go out for drinks, and he couldn't be ruder about your achievement. He downplays your success, rolls his eyes when he thinks you aren't looking, and even sneaks in some bragging of his own simply to one-up you. In fact, you heard he said some hurtful things behind your back like, "It's just a job. I mean, good for him, but I landed my dream job years ago," to your mutual friends too. Talk about being a hater. To a narcissist, your accomplishments and good fortune aren't cause for celebration; they are merely your attempts one-up him and make yourself seem more important.

3. He Just Doesn't Appear to Care

There are times when you need a shoulder to cry on, but a narcissist is not the one to turn to. He'll drop cold comments downplaying your situation but act like the world is ending when the shoe's on the other foot. It's like he just doesn't care.

Your Feelings Go Unacknowledged

Narcissists are unlikely to acknowledge your feelings because how you feel isn't as important as how they do (or even important at all). For example, your great aunt to whom you were incredibly close just passed away, and you're devastated. All you want to do is talk it out, but every time you bring the topic up to your friend, he says you're just being dramatic to get attention. What the heck? You're just trying to sort out your thoughts and vent a little. A non-narcissistic person will understand this and offer empathy. To a narcissist, however, this is just noise they don't understand because it doesn't relate to them.

4. She Is Thoroughly Entitled

A narcissist must be treated like the princess she is at all times…or else. She expects everyone to bend over backward to her requests, and she wants issues solved ASAP. She doesn't care how. She doesn't want to hear excuses. She just wants it done. If people don't do exactly what she wants when she wants it, she's downright mean to anyone in her wake. She is so entitled, it's insane.

She Demands Special Treatment

With a hefty sense of entitlement, narcissists believe they deserve special treatment. For example, you and your friend go on a shopping spree to freshen up your wardrobe. Unfortunately, the dress she wants doesn't come in her size, and she's furious. She storms over to the closest (and most unfortunate) associate to let all of her anger out. She yells loudly, saying hurtful words, and refuses to take no for an answer. Oh, and people are staring, too, which is really embarrassing. Narcissists feel entitled to things other people aren't, such as special treatment, and when they don't get it, they are likely to make an unpleasant and often embarrassing scene.

5. She Fishes for Compliments

One of the narcissist's favorite sports is fishing...for compliments. It seems she needs these words of affirmation from anyone and everyone all the time. She got a new car…again. Ugh. How many times can she go on and on about her "way cool stuff?" Apparently forever according to her. She'll take (and ask for) a pat on the back whenever you're willing to give it to her, and she'll even sprinkle in some humble brags about herself.

An Expert Humble Bragger

Narcissists have never heard a compliment (about themselves) they don't love - and usually ask for. For example, she just lost a little weight, and she looks good. You pay her a compliment saying she looks fantastic, and you genuinely mean it. However, she won't let it go. She'll even say things like, "I had to go shopping for a whole new wardrobe because I'm so tiny now, but I still feel fat. Look at my belly pouch (grabs fatless stomach)." After a conversation with you, she goes on to repeat it to another innocent bystander and another--and another! Fishing for compliments is commonplace for narcissists; it serves as fuel for them. It's likely you know people like this - the master of the humble brag who can't seem to hear enough just how amazing he/she is.

6. He's Way More Special Than You Can Ever Hope to Be

arms outstretched to paparazzi

Narcissists are special - just ask them. In fact, they are far more special than...well, anyone. A narcissist truly believes he's the chosen one. He's going to be the superstar businessman president who's married to Scarlett Johansson. He always knew he deserved to live the high life, and it's only a matter of time until it happens. In fact, he thinks the rules don't apply to him because he's above them.

Rules Are Made for the Common Man

Rules don't apply to narcissists, who are the special snowflakes of society. For example, you're standing in a long line at a theme park together waiting for the latest cool ride. However, he doesn't plan to wait because he's a VIP. He pushes his way through the line insisting his family is standing up ahead (they aren't). You're mortified. People will see you're not meeting anyone; it's just a matter of time. The thing that really gets you is that he doesn't care. He might even blame you if someone calls him on it. This is typical narcissistic behavior. The narcissist truly believes rules are made for others and not for him. In fact, he may be the first to holler if he catches someone else breaking the rules, but don't expect him to abide by them. He's special.

7. She Seems to Have a Niceness Switch

Narcissists can be quite engaging, friendly, and nice when it suits them. However, a narcissist can just as easily flip the switch from nice to most decidedly not nice in a split second. Do you have a friend who you've noticed can be the sweetest person in the world one moment, but the next she's a cold fish? Pay attention. When she turns her charm on, is it because she needs something? If she's a narcissist, she likely does. She doesn't care how she gets it, or who she hurts in the process. When she needs something from you, she'll make you feel like the most important person ever for that moment. This is called "love bombing," and it's one of the ways narcissists draw people into their webs. However, since it isn't sincere, the love bombing ends--often abruptly--leaving the love bomb-ee confused and shaken.

Deploying a Love Bomb

Be warned: narcissists are experts at deploying love bombs. For example, you happen to be neighbors with your way too self-loving friend, and she's getting a gazebo built in her backyard. Your homeowners' association requires the neighbors to sign off on the project, however. So she comes to your house with some baked goods and talks about how fabulous you and your life are, which is odd given normally she barely acknowledges your presence. It's a nice change of events, but once you sign the agreement, her behavior switches back to business as usual. It's all about her; she doesn't care about your feelings until she needs something else. Beware of the narcissistic love bomb. While it can be heady to be the center of so much positive attention, with a narcissist it can switch on a dime.

8. He Launches a Smear Campaign

Narcissists aren't exactly the best people with whom to share a confidence. In fact, the narcissist stores every tidbit you share with him to use in the future as a weapon. Likewise, when the narcissist repeats to others your life's personal details you shared in confidence, they are likely to be twisted in a way that renders them virtually unrecognizable. So if you know you're dealing with a narcissist, never share private details because they'll spread faster than wildfire, and there will likely be a few embellished negative details and gossip thrown in to the mix. These smear campaigns are destructive and hurtful, but all too common when dealing with a narcissist.

Running You Into the Ground

If you're the target of a narcissist's smear campaign, you aren't alone. This is a common tactic, and chances are you didn't do anything to bring it on yourself other than trust a narcissist. For example, you mention to your friend you and your husband aren't as intimate as you'd like to be. It's one of those things that bugs you, but you aren't looking at it as a major problem yet. All of a sudden, all of your other friends start asking if your husband left you for another woman. Where the heck did all of this come from? When you think back to who you talked to, it's easy to see the source of the rumor. You know who spilled the beans with the extra deets, and it's not cool. In fact, he actually seems to be enjoying the attention he's getting from this, since he "has all the facts," and everyone keeps turning to him to hear more. Sadly, a narcissist needs very little impetus to smear you based on some small nugget you once shared with him. He's reveling in the social capital he perceives he is receiving from his malicious gossip.

9. She Violates Boundaries

Narcissists don't care about social norms or what you are or are not okay with. In fact, a narcissist sees personal and societal boundaries as just another thing that doesn't apply to her, and she'll act like she has no idea why you're so bothered when she breaches them. When you try to enforce a boundary she's broken, she'll shrug you off, telling you you're "being too sensitive," and "it's not a big deal."

The Boundary Buster

Setting firm boundaries is an important part of social interaction, but narcissists are unlikely to respect yours or anyone else's. For example, you're hosting a dinner party, and you got the exact guest count so you can make the precise amount of food needed. However, your friend decides to bring three uninvited guests with her, and she doesn't even give you the courtesy of a call or text to let you know it's about to happen. You hardly even know these people, and it's uncomfortable to ask them to leave after they've shown up. The narcissist doesn't care you've carefully planned, you may not have enough food, and her behavior is rude and entitled. All she sees is what she wants, and your boundaries don't matter to her in the slightest. However, do not expect any graciousness from her if you try to breach her boundaries. Only she has the right to do it to others. Her boundaries are, after all, important, and yours aren't.

10. He Lies, Lies, Lies

Liar, liar

One common trait of narcissism is lying. He'll say anything to get himself out of a sticky situation, and he'll throw just about anyone under the bus to protect himself. Heck, he'll even twist and turn the story so someone else ends up being the villain. Believe it or not, he actually believes his lies because, in his grandiose self-importance, he believes he can do no wrong.

A Lying Liar Who Lies

A narcissist's lies are crazy making but commonplace. For example, your home is completely packed for an upcoming move, and your kid has a play for her drama class. Unfortunately, all your stuff is packed away including your camera, and your iPhone just doesn't capture the moment as well as a DSLR can. You want to keep the memory forever, so you ask your friend to borrow his. He says you can. However, on the day of the play, he's nowhere to be found. When you finally reach him (after the play, of course), he comes up with a wild excuse you know for a fact isn't true. (No, he didn't get three flat tires, and his kickboxing class didn't run two hours behind.) You end up getting some awful iPhone shots, and he blames you for picking the worst day of his busy week to ask for a favor, even though he originally insisted he'd be home and thrilled to loan you his camera. A narcissist will lie to get out of a jam, to make himself look better, or because it's Tuesday morning, and he hasn't told a lie in a few hours. It's a compulsive trait that's, unfortunately, quite common in people with narcissistic personality disorder.

Putting Yourself First

Although you can't change another person, you can control your own behavior. When dealing with a narcissist, tread lightly and set firm boundaries because in a narcissist's mind, all is fair in the name of self-aggrandizement. When push comes to shove, don't be afraid to sever the ties if the relationship doesn't benefit you. You deserve to be happy, too!

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10 Traits of a Narcissist