As the ancient Greek story goes, Narcissus was a man so incredibly good-looking that he fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water and was never again able to move from that spot.
In the modern concept of a narcissist, however, that kind of self-admiration is not enough.
Narcissists are entitled and feel that they’re special. They require excessive admiration from others and like it when other people are jealous of them.
They live to be the center of attention.
Do you know anyone you suspect of being a true narcissist?
If so, here are 12 phrases narcissistic people use to draw attention to themselves to help you determine if you’re right.
And if you are, watch out because narcissists lack empathy and will have no qualms about exploiting you for their own gains.
1) “Look at me!”
A narcissist will have no problem saying this phrase or something just like it.
But this isn’t the innocent and triumphant “Look ma, no hands!” of a child succeeding at something for the first time.
This is the narcissist directly and obviously ordering everyone to give them attention.
Trust me, most normal people would feel totally embarrassed saying something so direct and blatantly needy.
2) “I look great!”
When was the last time you actually said this out loud?
Most of us are way too worried about being seen as a braggart to make this kind of bold statement, but not a narcissist.
Sure, you can see how a person might say this to themselves to boost their confidence and get rid of self-doubt.
But that’s very different from announcing such a thing in public.
This is such an obvious example of the attention-seeking behavior that narcissists are known for.
3) “That’s what I said!”
Oh yes, I definitely intended that emphasis on the “I”.
Sometimes, we’re surprised when someone reveals a similar thought or opinion and we might say something like this. But we’d also back it up with something that helps us relate to the other person, like,
“Great minds think alike, right?”
But a narcissist uses this kind of statement to redirect attention from the other person to themself.
They’ll quickly follow up with their own version of events to help them steal away the spotlight.
4) “That reminds me of…”
Maybe you’re thinking, “Hey, I say that all the time!”
I know I do because when people tell stories, it normally triggers memories of my similar experiences, and I like to share them to help relate to the other person.
Is that the same with a narcissist?
Not even close.
Narcissists can be very clever and manipulative. They know this is a common phrase used in conversations, but they twist things to draw attention to themselves.
They’d say this and then talk about something either loosely or not at all related to what the other person was talking about.
They don’t care. They just want to be the center of attention at all times.
5) “I’m the best…”
If this sounds familiar, it might be because of a certain politician who always claims to be number one at everything.
I’m not saying who’s a narcissist, but…!
These people will have no problem making claims that boost their own value, especially if those claims can’t really be measured or accurately compared.
The truth isn’t important here.
The narcissist just wants to enhance their image so more people admire them, so they’ll lie or exaggerate without hesitation to make that happen.
6) “I know what I’m talking about.”
I know a guy, Tom, who’s either a narcissist, a compulsive liar, or both.
Whenever I run into him, he’s always joining conversations with other people by diving in with claims that he knows the topic well and has tons of experience in the area.
That’s the point – it doesn’t matter.
He always claims to be some sort of expert and loves to say, Trust me, I know what I’m talking about.”
But I’ve noticed that he does something else first.
He listens in on conversations and then jumps into only those where people are talking about a subject none of them knows much about. That gives him a chance to step in and get attention by assuming the role of the most knowledgeable person in the group.
But he won’t join a conversation about the exact same thing when people seem to know what they’re talking about.
This strategic expertise is just a tool to get attention and help him puff up his ego.
7) “I wouldn’t be caught dead…”
You might think this to yourself, but most of us don’t utter this phrase out loud.
A narcissist, though, is going to have no problem saying this loudly so everyone can hear.
It could be, “I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing that outfit! or “I’d die if I was seen at that lame club.”
These statements help the narcissist do one of two things.
First, they get to criticize someone else. In their mind, putting this other person down makes them look better by comparison.
And second, this bold statement grabs everyone’s attention.
Of course, most of us would snap our heads around to look at the person who would dare to be so callous.
But for the narcissist, as for many Hollywood stars (just sayin’!), any press is good press. They’ll take any attention they can get and just assume it’s all based on admiration.
8) “This is the worst…!”
Narcissists live in their own fantasy worlds where they’re the big, bright sun that everyone else orbits around.
And because they’re wrapped up in this fantasy, they can’t assess the world around them accurately.
So they’ll go ahead and say hugely exaggerated things like, “This is the worst meal I’ve ever had!” or “I’ve been waiting for ages. No one has ever been treated any worse!”
Famine? Slavery? Genocide?
Narcissistic people can’t put their experiences into appropriate perspective and judge them according to reality.
So they’ll jump to extreme statements that are actually quite ridiculous when you hear them.
9) “I’ve never been treated like this!”
Oh, don’t those narcissists love playing the victim?
This is a big part of the manipulative games they engage in to keep people close to them.
They blame others and always portray themselves as the one who is hurt and wronged.
So imagine a narcissist complaining at a restaurant.
Their complaints are probably going to be unfounded anyway, and then staff or managers have to try to find a way to make them happy. Instead, though, the more attention you give to a narcissist, the more empowered they feel.
So they’ll be more than happy to get over-dramatic and suggest they’ve been harmed way out of proportion with the situation.
Then people will scurry around to play damage control and basically do their bidding.
10) “I knew this would happen.”
What did they know?
They didn’t say anything before, but as soon as something goes wrong, they’re happy to dodge the blame.
Saying they knew something bad would happen doesn’t make any difference if they didn’t give any warning to try to stop it.
But in their mind, it still somehow matters.
This is a way they internally distance themselves from any negative consequences while at the same time making an outward declaration that they’re not responsible.
This is all very sneaky and manipulative, but would you expect anything less from a narcissist?
Well, OK, this isn’t a phrase. It’s just a single word.
But narcissists will use it to their advantage whenever they can to draw attention to themselves.
“We’re meeting at that restaurant tonight.”
“We thought that movie was stupid.”
“We’ll let you come along with us.”
Why the sudden switch from “I” to “we”?
Like everything else a narcissist does, this is a power play.
When they speak for other people, they get to control the power in a group. They get to show that they’re the ones calling the shots and making decisions.
So, while it’s “we” out of their mouth, it’s “me” in their head.
12) “That’s stupid.”
This might be a comment we all make from time to time, but a narcissist will use this phrase a lot and definitely out loud in public.
This is because it does a lot of things for them.
It’s a bold statement that draws attention to them. It’s a chance to belittle someone else to make them look better.
And it’s a way to control others by quashing their ideas and rejecting their opinions. It tells others, “I’m in charge, and I say what goes and what doesn’t.
It’s basically a narcissist’s dream come true.
These 12 phrases narcissistic people use to draw attention to themselves all seem pretty tame and normal.
But when you put them together, it paints a clear picture of people who need to distract, negate, impress, and humiliate others in order to serve their own ceaseless need for attention.