Can you negotiate with a narcissist and win? 10 effective tips

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If you’ve ever dealt with a narcissist, you probably know just how difficult it is to be around them. Much more, to negotiate with them and win.

But it’s not impossible. 

Narcissists are known to be selfish and self-serving, but with the right technique and knowledge, it is possible to negotiate with them and get exactly what you want.

Interested? Read on to learn the 10 ways to negotiate with a narcissist and win!

1) Know what you want

Before starting the negotiation, the first thing you need to do is figure out what you want to get out of the conversation. 

To do this, first, decide which issues are worth negotiating about. Then, think of how you would talk about it with them in a way that they can’t twist your words—and, more importantly, that lets you get what you want.

If you’re trying to cut off ties with them, how would you want to tell a narcissist that you don’t want them in your life anymore? Take into consideration how they would react and how you would handle it. 

If you’re trying to talk about an issue you recently fought about, how would you talk about it with them without causing another argument?

Remember: always be clear with yourself first about what you want to achieve. This is because when you don’t know what you want, it translates into the way you communicate it. 

With a narcissist, this is vital to consider because they can easily misunderstand what you’re saying in a way that makes them think they’re being personally attacked.

Always try to make the details concrete and iron-clad, so they can’t twist your words against you. 

One useful technique that could help you get what you want from a narcissist is to sweet-talk the heck out of them.

2) Sweet-talk them

There’s no question that narcissists like feeling important. This is because they have an incurable superiority complex and a very inflated ego. 

And you can use this to your advantage.

Sometimes, in order to win a negotiation with a narcissist, you need to first give them a tiny, little taste of what they want.

The power of flattery goes a very long way with a narcissist, so stroke their humongous ego. Feed into their superiority complex. When they react favorably, you’ll see just how effective this technique can be.

Here are some things you could tell a narcissist in order to flatter them:

  • “You’re so much better than me, I could never do that.”
  • “Wow, you’re so good at what you do!”
  • “How are you this brilliant?”

One good situation this technique could come in handy is when you’re trying to get a good grade from a narcissistic professor. 

These types of narcissists usually evaluate others depending on how they’re perceived, which is why sweet-talking them can make them fond of you and give you that good grade you’re aiming for!

3) Try to KISS (Keep It Short And Sweet)

When negotiating with a narcissist, a good technique is to keep your statements brief and concise. Narcissists don’t really listen to what other people think, unless of course it is about them. So when you’re negotiating with them, you have to maintain their attention. 

This is where practicing KISS—short for “keep it short and sweet”—comes in handy. 

To do this, try not to worry too much about justifying your intentions. You don’t have to seem reasonable to them. Narcissists usually care about their image more than they do about reason, anyway. 

Remember to be clear and concise so you can maintain their attention, because if you can’t make them listen, you can’t really get what you want from them.

If you still find yourself struggling to get their attention, finding their weak points might be helpful. 

4) Find their weak points

The main weakness of a narcissist is their narcissism itself. To win a negotiation with a narcissist, this is precisely what you need to exploit. 

Narcissists are most defensive about their image. They might seem confident because of their highly inflated egos, but deep down, they’re extremely insecure.

This is why talking about issues that affect their image is useful when negotiating. 

For example, if you’re divorcing a narcissist, you can get property like the house by making it seem like it’s small and unimportant to you, maybe even dreadful and ugly.  

This will then make them think that it’s small and unimportant, so why should they care about something so ugly and decrepit? Because of this, they will end up giving it to you. 

If you can effectively make them think that that thing is unimportant, they will most probably give it to you. Narcissists tend to only want shiny things—those that elevate their status—so they will most probably give you what you want when you make it seem dull as a rock.

However, when you pick and prod on a narcissist’s weakness, it’s entirely possible for them to lash out, which means you have to be emotionally prepared when they strike back.

5) Detach emotionally

Dealing with a narcissist can be emotionally taxing. 

They tend to make people feel small and devalued by pointing out their insecurities, making their interests seem ridiculous, and sometimes even going as far as laughing at their problems. 

Often, they don’t realize they make people feel this way. This is because narcissists are emotionally handicapped, meaning they are almost completely incapable of feeling empathy. 

I myself have fallen victim to a narcissist’s games. Being friends with a narcissist negatively affected my mental health, and it was only through time and cutting them off that I recovered. 

So when you’re negotiating with a narcissist, you must strengthen your mental fortitude.

Listing your triggers can be helpful in this regard. Do your triggers include talking about your mother, your weight, or your appearance? Taking mental note of them can help you figure out when the narcissist is attacking them.

Knowing when and how to deflect with safe subjects can also help you deal with a narcissist.

6) Know when to deflect

Knowing when to deflect when negotiating with a narcissist is very important.

To do this, you can prepare safe subjects prior to the negotiation. This can help you deflect the conversation when you’re starting to feel hurt or personally attacked.

When you feel that the conversation is taking the wrong turn, such as if they start making fun of your insecurities, deflect to safe subjects. Some examples of these safe subjects include the weather or current events. 

Of course, you can also re-center the conversation to what it was really about. 

For example, if you’re talking about breaking up with them, bring it back to that so you don’t lose track of what the conversation is really about.

Being firm about what you want can also help you not lose track of the conversation.

7) Be firm

Even if it’s important to use flattery tactics and give concessions when negotiating with a narcissist, remember to always stand firm on what you want. 

Don’t lose your sense of self by giving too many concessions to a narcissist. Remember: the goal is not to satisfy them. The goal is to win.

So don’t lose sight of what you want to achieve. Be laser-focused on your goals so the narcissist won’t be able to distract you. Even if you need to give them a bit of what they want, you should still be firm and keep forwarding your own interests.

Focusing on the things you can control can also help you stand your ground when negotiating with a narcissist.

8) Focus on what you can control

If you’ve been with a narcissist long enough, you might have developed a coping mechanism by always trying to decipher their ulterior motives.

You might find yourself thinking:

  • What could they have possibly meant by ___?
  • What could be their intention behind doing ___?

Stop right there. 

Worrying about their hidden intentions will do you no good, and will only distract you from winning the negotiation.

Of course, this may be very difficult to unlearn especially when you’ve gotten used to being around narcissists, so don’t beat yourself up if you can’t immediately unlearn this behavior. 

But rather than worrying about their ulterior motives, try to focus on your goals, your intent, and what you want to achieve instead so you don’t lose your footing. 

9) Take note of what has been achieved

After the negotiation, make sure to take note of what has been achieved.

Say you’ve finally gotten what you want out of them, but only have gotten their word—this can still be risky, because they can take back what they said and play their mind games by telling you they never said that.

Which is why it’s so important for you to have concrete proof of the results of the negotiation.

To do this, you can have a witness during the negotiation so they can’t take back what they say. For legal issues such as a divorce, having a lawyer during a negotiation is extremely important.

You can also try recording the conversation with their express consent to take note of what has been achieved. 

10) Know when to concede

I know the point of this article is to negotiate with a narcissist and win, but hear me out. 

As we’ve previously discussed, some things are just out of our control, and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up if we can’t change it.

This applies to negotiating with a narcissist as well.

At the end of the day, narcissism is a personality disorder. They’re incapable of feeling empathy and looking at the consequences of their actions beyond themselves.

This means you can’t force them to feel sorry for what they did, or magically make them realize they’re wrong. 

Personality disorders are known to be incurable, so it’s not on you to change a narcissist.

For your own good, you should know when to accept defeat. This doesn’t mean you’ve lost—it simply means you’re reserving your energy for more important matters, and setting yourself up for future, bigger victories. 

How to cope after dealing with a narcissist

Now that you know how to negotiate with a narcissist and win, it’s just as important to know how to cope after dealing with them. 

As you already know, dealing with a narcissist can be emotionally exhausting. Below are some ways you can cope in the aftermath of your negotiations.

Unlearn your unhealthy coping mechanisms

Being with a narcissist long enough can destabilize the mind.  

You might have developed unhealthy coping mechanisms in order to survive, and it might be very difficult to unlearn in the aftermath.

However, you should also learn that not everyone is out to get you. 

Having a narcissist in your life can make you feel like everyone has ulterior motives, that everyone is selfish and self-serving, or that everyone only cares about themselves, but trust me: there are people out there who truly love and care about you. 

Not everyone will make you feel the way a narcissist friend or relative did. The right people will truly love and care about you, and will help you see your worth as a person.

This is why it’s so important to surround yourself with good people, too.

Surround yourself with good people

Having a good support system is integral after dealing with a narcissist.

Being around a narcissist long enough can make you feel small, worthless, and alone. 

So when you can, surround yourself with people that care about you. People who will listen to your problems without laughing at them, who will help you deal with your insecurities instead of making fun of them. 

Having yourself surrounded with good people can drastically change your life. With a narcissist, it will always be full of their drama. With good people, life is simpler, and you would be so much happier.

Get professional help

Reading online advice about dealing with a narcissist can only help so much.

If you have the time and the resources, going to therapy can go a long way in helping you heal.

Through therapy, your trauma will be processed in a healthy way. You will be taught with healthy coping mechanisms rather than dangerous ones. Plus, your issues will be validated, too.

By getting professional help, you’re going to get the proper support that you need in order to cope in the aftermath of dealing with a narcissist.

Final thoughts

Getting what you want from a narcissist can be difficult because they’re known to be selfish, but it doesn’t have to be impossible.

Using the right knowledge and technique, it is entirely possible to negotiate with a narcissist and win. 

But because dealing with a narcissist can damage your sense of self-worth and self-esteem, it’s vital that you don’t lose sight of yourself and your goals when negotiating with a narcissist.

In the end, while knowing how to deal with a narcissist is an important skill, improving your own mental health and wellbeing will always be the ultimate goal. 

Joyce Ann Isidro

Joyce is a writer who believes in the power of storytelling and changing lives by writing stories about love, relationships, and spirituality. A bookworm and art enthusiast, she considers herself a creative-at-heart who likes to satisfy her childish wonder through new hobbies and experiences.

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