Many of us think that narcissists are simply assholes—that they’re obviously selfish, unkind, and full of themselves.
But seasoned narcissists don’t do any of that. In fact, they’re actually pretty charming and subtle.
They’re experts at making people trust them and admire them…so they can slowly wrap them around their little fingers.
Curious if you’re dealing with a seasoned narcissist?
Here are 14 signs that you should pay close attention to.
1) They love to correct people
We all commit mistakes, so it’s absolutely normal to correct and to be corrected.
But while most people would generally know when to let something slide, the narcissist takes pleasure in telling someone they’re wrong.
It just makes them feel…superior.
They can’t resist taking advantage of other people’s flaws to make them feel like they’re much better and wiser.
2) They might admit they’re wrong, but…
The obvious narcissist will straight up say “Hell no, I’m never wrong!”
But many narcissists are a lot sneakier in that they’ll take the blame… and then throw it at someone else at the last moment.
Sure, they might have been wrong for shouting at your friend, but what were they supposed to do when your friend’s simply that annoying?
They might be wrong, but it’s not only them, and in fact that other person did worse—so why should they get the scolding?
Seasoned narcissists believe they’re always right and therefore should never make an apology.
They’d just drop a “sorry”, but it’s not really sincere. They just say it so you have no right to think that they’re bad. After all, they already said sorry, so you must be the bad one if you ask for more.
3) They’re always the underdog
They’ve got a bad dating history, and when asked about it they’ll say that they simply fell in love with the worst, shallowest people in the world.
When asked about why they have only a few friends, they’ll talk about how most people are assholes and can’t be trusted.
One way or another, they’re always the victim or the underdog. And it’s always someone else’s fault.
Sadly, this is something that they truly believe in…and this is also the reason why they’re self-centered and manipulative towards others.
4) They love giving compliments
It’s hard to ever get a genuine compliment out of a narcissist’s mouth… or, in this internet age, fingers.
Of course, they’d have no problem giving compliments to their kids, partner, teammate, or anyone related to them because to a narcissist, they are CONNECTED to who they are.
But for other people? They struggle to even give a genuine thumbs up. But they’ll try anyway…so it becomes a compliment—a compliment that’s really NOT a compliment.
They might say things like “I didn’t expect you to get a job. Congratulations!”, or “Oh wow, you’re really pretty for your age!”
At first you might think that they’re showering people with compliments. But if you take a closer look, you’ll find that there’s a biting insult behind the “compliment.”
5) They’re a sore loser
It doesn’t matter if it’s a debate, a fistfight, a bet, or even just a playful game of bowling—they really, really don’t like losing!
They might cheat if they knew they could get away with it…and then whimper and whine once their defeat is sealed.
But it’s not like they’re cool winners, either.
The thing is that if they lose, then you better be ready for months, even years of grudges and passive aggression. But if they win? They’ll rub their victory in your face until you’re sick of it.
6) It’s their way or the highway
The same drive that makes narcissists sore losers also makes them almost incapable of compromise.
If they want something, they’ll see it done. And if it conflicts with what others want? Tough luck because they’re going to go ahead with it, regardless.
They’re not going to want to compromise because, as far as they’re concerned, they’re doing what’s best for everyone. After all, they make smart choices.
7) They want you to pity them
They’re the kind of person who’s already given up because they’ve been mistreated, abused, and hurt many times before.
Or at least that’s the impression you’ll get when listening to them.
And they will keep talking about their misfortunes that you can’t help but pity them. Their stories are so heart-crushing that it makes you want to do anything to make things better for them.
Well…that is exactly what they want, of course.
8) They are very defensive and fragile
When you give them any criticism, they’d get deeply hurt.
It doesn’t matter if you say it in a nice way or if it’s something as trivial as the way they throw their trash.
Anything that makes them feel like they’re being underestimated, emasculated, or that they’re being judged will get them ballistic.
Narcissists have an inflated sense of self and so they find it ludicrous that some people actually have the nerve to tell them that they don’t know how to do things.
9) They’re meticulous about appearances
If you browse their social media, you’ll see them posting #blessed photos. There are very few—if any—posts that make them look bad.
Their selfies on IG always show them at their best, without any unflattering angles that take away from whatever kind of image they want to cultivate.
The same drive that makes them try to over-emphasize their kindness also drives them to curate their profiles in order to look good in their socials.
They simply want to be admired and loved.
10) They’re bossy and controlling
Narcissists simply can’t stand it when things aren’t completely under their control. It just drives them nuts.
This need drives them to manipulate people around them by all means necessary.
There are many different ways that manipulation can manifest.
They might guilt-trip you by saying something like “I’m doing everything for you, why can’t you do this little favor for me?”
Or they might subtly blackmail you by saying “Don’t wait until I get stressed because I could do crazy things when I’m stressed.”
11) They contradict themselves often
If you ever get into an argument with a seasoned narcissist, you’ll notice that they’ll eventually start contradicting themselves.
Bring up the contradictions, and they’ll just ignore it and keep arguing.
The contradictions are not a bug—they’re a feature. Narcissists want to come out on top at all costs, and everything they say or do in an argument or discussion is just a means to that end.
They don’t care about being consistent of right, because what they care about is exhausting the people they’re arguing with into giving up by confusing and overwhelming them through a storm of contradictory arguments.
12) They’re highly competitive
Talk to them about having gone to the Pyramids, and they’ll bring up having gone to Machu-Picchu and learning how to read Quipu beads.
Play a casual game of poker or mahjong with them, and they’ll act as if they’re playing in some high-stakes casino in Vegas.
Whether it’s games and recreation, shows of luxury, travel or what have you, the narcissist will take any opportunity they can to compete and show off.
In fact they might go as far as to play suffering olympics, saying things like “You think that’s bad? I almost got mauled by a bear on my last backpacking trip!” to someone venting about how bad their holidays had gone.
13) They get jealous and envious easily
Narcissists are actually some of the most insecure people.
They often act like they’re incredibly confident in themselves that one would think they wouldn’t get jealous. Or, at least, not easily.
But the key word here is act. They’re just pretending to be tough but they’re not actually as confident, knowledgeable, or self-assured as we think they are.
They’re scared. They’re caught in a perpetual fear that people might see that they’re not at all that worth it and will leave them behind.
That’s why they get envious when they see people around them succeed in life, and why they get jealous when their loved ones talk to others or refuse to take their side.
14) They over-emphasize their kindness
To win the hearts of the people around them, narcissists like to sell an image of themselves as kind, reasonable, and empathetic.
They would act like a selfless Mother Theresa who deeply cares for others. They do this so people would trust them—that way, no one would question their intentions.
And if someone sees through them, they’ll use techniques like gaslighting to make it seem like when they show their ugly side, it’s because people actually DESERVE it.
After all, if everyone knows just how nice and kind they are, then when they act rude towards someone, it must be the other person’s fault.
It’s easy to think that narcissists are evil, malicious people who don’t care if the world around them burns so long as they come out on top.
But it’s important not to assume that narcissism is the same thing as selfishness and greed.
Narcissism is a genuine personality disorder that most people don’t have a choice with—they simply have it.
The best thing one can do for a narcissist is to help them find professional help. It might not cure their disorder, but it will help them reduce the harm and hurt they carelessly inflict on others.
So…what to do if you’re dealing with a narcissist?
First, don’t judge. Continue being a friend. However, be extra mindful of your interactions.
Once you notice they’re manipulating you, call them out nicely. And if possible, gently help them realize that they need guidance to manage their disorder.
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