Who Likes a Narcissist?

gregory-house-hugh-laurie

Hugh Laurie as Gregory House, M.D.

Did you know that people who rank high on the traits of narcissism are more popular and likeable at first meeting?

Narcissism is a strong sense of self-importance, combined with self-focus and extremely high levels of self-esteem. The basic aspects of narcissism are arrogance, low empathy, a liking for leadership and authority, self-admiration, and a tendency to exploit or manipulate others. Narcissists usually have difficulty with long-term relationships and relationships in general, since their extreme self-focus hinders them from getting along well with others.

It has long been suspected that a large number of narcissists take part in public arenas such as the performing arts or are in leadership positions like politics and business. And this theory may have support in the findings of a few studies that, initially, narcissists are seen as more agreeable, competent, and well-adjusted than non-narcissists.These traits allow them to gain the trust of others who help them to gain positions of fame and authority.

But why are narcissists so popular with other people? The reason is very simple — narcissists exhibit traits which people tend to like in others: confidence, attractiveness, warmth, and humor.

1. Confidence

Narcissists, having a strong sense of self-importance and esteem, exude confidence in their body movements and expressions. And this isn’t just for appearances. Narcissists are very assured in themselves and their abilities; they tend to believe few people are as special as they are.

2. Attractiveness

Narcissists crave positive feedback that confirms their sense of superiority. So they put much effort into their physical appearance, dressing in neat and eye-catching clothing and playing up their physical features. Their appearance gains the attention and affirmation of others.

tyra-banks

Tyra Banks, supermodel and TV personality

3. Warmth

Despite not being very empathic, narcissists know well how to behave friendly and sociable. They are charming and fun, realizing that these traits are attractive to others. Their strong social skills get them the admiration they want, and feel as if they deserve.

4. Humor

Everyone likes a funny person, right? Narcissists are aware of this, since they are very observant of others and their reactions. As a result they are fond of humor, using jokes and witty expressions to allure other people and, as always, gain their admiration and affection. And they do, at least for a little while.

These traits are not just appealing to others. If a person has all four of these characteristics, the likelihood of them being a narcissist is increased. So next time you meet someone who checks off all the boxes, instead of being impressed by them, you might want to be cautious. Narcissists are only likeable in the short-term — their self-involvement and lack of concern for others ultimately troubles their relationships and the people around them.

And the answer to “Who likes a narcissist?” Why, you, of course.

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37 thoughts on “Who Likes a Narcissist?

  1. Miss Alee, you write so well –
    (And the answer to “Who likes a narcissist?” Why, you, of course.)
    That is a sentence with a punch!

    Now on to the topic. Sure, as you said, these folks know how to make a great first impression. I don’t think I need to be overly cautious though. I trust my instincts, and I’m sure that I will figure them out in enough time to keep myself from harm.

  2. Sherry,

    Thanks. 🙂

    Well, if you’re really intuitive you might be able to tell the difference between a narcissist and a person who just happens to be extremely confident and warm with a good sense of humor. But the chance that a person with such traits is a narcissist is high. And if you find out later, you might already have a friendship or relationship with them (as much as that can be said of narcissists’ involvements with others).

  3. I think I got 2-3 of them.

    But I don’t think people would stick around me for long if I were one. I’m just terrible at judging people like this..

    I agree that most public figures and artists probably is one..

  4. Nkosazana,

    “I think I got 2-3 of them.”

    I always knew you were narcissistic… 😉

    “But I don’t think people would stick around me for long if I were one.”

    They might. Tyra Banks is pretty popular. But she’s great at (pretending?) she cares.

    “I’m just terrible at judging people like this.”

    That’s why you have me. I’ll be your judge. 🙂

  5. To qualify – they usually land in the personality disorder part of it though. So it is easy to spot because the negative side to a personality disorder comes out a lot more and it easier to spot (I think) than the general narcissistic person.

  6. Sigh…this is one of the reasons I left acting, I could not deal with all the narcissists. They are definitely attracted to the entertainment world. I do think some good ways to know , is to see how much they actually do for others and see if its from a sincere place. I notice most narcissists only do something for someone else when they want something in return. All they do is talk about themselves and manipulate situations so they look better in others eyes. Ugghhh….and the empathy from them is so fake! Confession…I have dated some of these and have had friends like this. Whats that say about me..smh?

  7. wanderlust,

    How interesting. I guess that is the intriguing side of working with the general public — you get to observe people up close.

    People with narcissistic personality disorder are probably easier to spot, especially if it is extreme. I know a girl who I’m sure has NPD and hers is obvious. Yet people still flock to her in droves; she is quite popular.

    Nikisha,

    Oh, you used to be an actress? Huh, you’re everything: model, actress, etc. Is there anything you can’t do? 🙂

    “All they do is talk about themselves and manipulate situations so they look better in others eyes.”

    This is true. They manipulate situations even when manipulation is not necessary to get what they want. It’s very peculiar.

    “Confession…I have dated some of these and have had friends like this. Whats that say about me..smh?”

    That you’re just like everyone else — everyone loves a narcissist! 😉

  8. Sandy,

    That seems to be the consensus. Type “Tyra Banks Narcissist” in Google and see how many results come up.

    She meets all of the criteria for a narcissist, and people who’ve worked with her have said as much (producers, co-workers, even guests on her show). I like her nonetheless and I’m a huge fan of ANTM, but if you watch her closely, she has this air of grandiosity and self-admiration that is hard to miss. She thinks she is “le special” and everything and everyone is the backdrop to Tyra Banks.

  9. Lmbo…your answers are so witty, I love reading them.

    “That you’re just like everyone else — everyone loves a narcissist!”

    Loving a narcissist is short lived over here. I learned my lessons and ran from those relationships and am very grateful to finally be with a man who isn’t one :).

  10. I don’t think I am impressed with narcissists (in real life; of course I adore Greg House :D). I guess those “tricks” don’t work on me; I usually don’t get along well with people with good social skills. (Which, sadly, means I ignore some genuinely great and nice people, which isn’t good). But when people are nice to me, I take it as a warning sign. Plus, confidence is not a turn on for me, or something that I value highly. I guess that’s why narcissists don’t impress me that much.

  11. Nikisha,

    I guess you got tired of discussing and focusing on him, his awesomeness, his importance, and his loveliness (and yours too… in relation to him, of course)? Very understandable; I’d feel the same way. 🙂

    Mira,

    “I usually don’t get along well with people with good social skills.”

    Lol. That statement is just priceless.

    “…when people are nice to me, I take it as a warning sign.”

    You might be being overly cautious! Some people are just nice. You have to be able to discern the truly nice from the nice person with an agenda.

  12. Mira,

    Oh, right. I forgot about that. It must suck being unable to interpret people’s words, actions, behaviors at all (even though I don’t think you’re as bad at it as you think you are). I think my default way of reading is trying to understand the real meaning behind everything; I’d feel so unlike myself and so handicapped if I couldn’t do that.

  13. @Mira, do you have asperger’s syndrome?

    I like Tyra, never met her in person but I like her on air personality. I would have to meet and know her in order to say she has NPD.

  14. Sandy,

    I like Tyra too. I don’t know if she has NPD; doesn’t seem like it. But she seems to fit criteria for general narcissism (many people will have a few, but not most or all).

  15. Sandy,

    Mira, do you have asperger’s syndrome?

    No, but I do have some traits associated with the syndrome. I am borderline Asperger’s. (Which some experts find quite strange, since there’s no consensus on the matter; is it possible to be in the middle between an aspie and NT? Or do all people with Asperger’s have a brain that is wired quite differently than the NTs).

    Alee,

    Thank you!

    You’re old now. Officially, officially.

    No. I am not old! 😛 I refuse to see it that way.

  16. Well, I don’t know. It really doesn’t seem like it’s “that” old. People here act like teens well into their 30s, so I guess I perceive it differently.

  17. @ Mira and Alee, I am very interested in what it means to be a borderline Aspie. What are the actual traits and is there any way for someone to diagnose themselves? I was having this convo with someone close to me not too long ago. Also, there is this indie movie called “Adam” which I thought was a great film about a guy with Asperger’s.

  18. Interesting. All of the traits listed are traits that most everyone aspires to have. Perhaps many people just want to vicariously experience life through someone they perceive as being more confident, more attractive, warmer, and funnier than themselves. What’s easier than latching on to someone who appears to have it all?

  19. Nikisha,

    I think we’re getting off topic with this Asperger’s thing, so I will reply in the Clouds. 🙂

    schnecke,

    Interesting. All of the traits listed are traits that most everyone aspires to have.

    Could be. Still, there are many other positive traits that narcissists lack, but I guess people forget about them when they’re around a narcissist?

    I think many narcissists are charismatic, and they can make people feel comfortable around them.

  20. schnecke,

    “Perhaps many people just want to vicariously experience life through someone they perceive as being more confident, more attractive, warmer, and funnier than themselves.”

    That’s a definite possibility. People are attracted to qualities they feel they lack or wish to have. And narcissists have all of the qualities listed, in adundance. So it makes sense that people would be magnetically attracted to them.

    Mira,

    “…there are many other positive traits that narcissists lack, but I guess people forget about them when they’re around a narcissist?”

    Well, narcissists are only really popular at first meeting. After that, their popularity drops dramatically. So I guess people begin to pick up on their flaws and/or their self-centeredness.

    “I think many narcissists are charismatic, and they can make people feel comfortable around them.”

    Yup. In fact, much of charisma includes the four listed characteristics.

  21. Mira,

    “Still, there are many other positive traits that narcissists lack, but I guess people forget about them when they’re around a narcissist? “

    True. Maybe it’s that the traits above are often readily apparent, easy to fake/flaunt, and almost universally approved of. Many other positive traits like compassion or integrity for example, usually take a bit longer to detect and, depending on the context, aren’t always seen as positive.

  22. schnecke,

    “Maybe it’s that the traits above are often readily apparent…and almost universally approved of.”

    That’s exactly it — that was the reasoning most of the researchers gave for why narcissists are really popular at first.

  23. I like a narcissist but it never fails that the trait that identifies them fastest is a near phobia of discussing any deep and probing questions about themselves. They seem to be into you because they will listen to you talk about yourself all day long, but try for a minute to get them to be as sharing and to examine their deeper reasons for ANYTHING and it’s like a roach scurrying from a turned on light…they literally can’t identify anything deeper to why they do what they do, why they feel the way they feel…especially about relationships.

    When it comes to career they may be tops or headed for the top, but when it comes to relationships with the opposite sex, they are extremely UN–self-aware. Which means good luck getting them to see any faults as true faults or any serious issues as things that need to be corrected.

    And these narcissists will be the type that are at the bottom of the totem pole but because they have looks and charm honestly feel they deserve the best of the best…classic example the guys that feel they deserve the next Beyonce because they didn’t get anybody pregnant, graduated high school, and didn’t go to jail. Things normal people should be doing regardless…lols.

    Most of the time you find these super good looking types are the ones with the biggest insecurities where the opposite sex is concerned. Cause the emotional care and the self awareness needed to be in a deeply committed relationship…they don’t have it, they just feel they are doing everything right and maybe even doing that person a favor being involved with them.

  24. Having said all that, I like confidence in a man, and we all need social skills. It’s when it’s to an EXTREME that’s a problem. Doesn’t mean narcissists are bottom of the barrel. We can learn some things from them about not having low standards and doing well on the job in the ways that count to superiors for promotion and other purposes. Just be prepared to find creative ways to show them when they are DEAD wrong! And be willing to cut them off cold no matter how much their charismatic aura etc.makes you feel that pull to be around them.

  25. Eloquence,

    “I like a narcissist”

    Why am I not surprised? 🙂

    “it never fails that the trait that identifies them fastest is a near phobia of discussing any deep and probing questions about themselves.”

    This is spot on — as true as it gets. You must have a lot of experience with narcissists.

    “it’s like a roach scurrying from a turned on light”

    *dead*

    “classic example the guys that feel they deserve the next Beyonce because they didn’t get anybody pregnant, graduated high school, and didn’t go to jail.”

    …Are you sure this is narcissism? Sounds like Good Black Man™ gone wrong to me. 😉

  26. Good black man gone wrong? What do you mean?

    And why aren’t you surprised I like a narcissist? Most of us do, just most of us won’t admit to it given the context of the blog post being calling them out…when it’s put out there as a negative people are going to be quick to point out how above liking such a person they are. I don’t need a perfect person only to consider for a mate, cause I’m not perfect…I just need to be fully aware of exactly who I’m dealing with to handle him accordingly. 🙂

  27. Eloquence,

    “Good black man gone wrong? What do you mean?”

    I’ll elaborate on that later, when I get around to the subject.

    “And why aren’t you surprised I like a narcissist? Most of us do”

    You just answered your question. 😉

    But also, you seem to like/be attracted to charmers, or you mentioned that a couple of times before. And the narcissist is le ultimate charmer.

    “I don’t need a perfect person only to consider for a mate, cause I’m not perfect…I just need to be fully aware of exactly who I’m dealing with to handle him accordingly. :)”

    Ha. But I like that perspective. I’m the same way — I don’t need a perfect person for a partner (not that I could ever view someone as perfect…) and I’m not perfect, I just need to understand the person. I think it’s more conducive to your own well-being, instead of focusing on what is imperfect about your partner and thinking there are better people out there (and when you find them, you’ll find something wrong about them too, eventually), to focus on their wholeness.

  28. “Good black man gone wrong? What do you mean?”

    I’ll elaborate on that later, when I get around to the subject.

    I knew you’d change your mind! *rubs hands together greedily*

  29. Nkosazana,

    LOL.

    You’re just waiting with your pitchfork (or should I say iklwa? ;)).

    But it will be a long time coming; I like to sleep on topics, think about my main points while I brush my teeth, etc.. so you’ll have to wait for some time. 😀

  30. Due to having lived with a narcissist, I can spot narcissists and I avoid them like the plague. What seems to attract them, people they seem to think they can victimize, are people who are self contained but kind. Kindness or any kind of empathy means you’re manipulable, this describes most people. I deal with this now by making my boundaries clear, and not going out of my way to help people. Narcissists crave “narcissistic supply” in the form of attention and admiration, and if you interact with them but don’t give them that they move on to a more available supply. Especially if the environment is open. I’m a good listener but I don’t let my feelings show in my face anymore. And I will often act distracted and uninterested when these kinds of people talk to me. With them it isn’t a conversation, it’s a monologue and they expect you to be their audience. Eventually they get the hint and go away.

  31. Granted people tend to mislabel you as hostile, and bitchy, without you having actually done anything to hurt anyone but it’s a small price to pay. It keeps you out of the drama that they inevitably start and get involved in and you can just spectate on it from a distance.

  32. I notice too that narcissists, it’s weird, like when they do smile, it’s fake. It doesn’t reach their eyes, unless they are being sadistic and mocking something or causing pain in some way. I mean everyone does this from time to time, but trust, the only time narcissists experience true joy is when they are being malignant. That’s when you can see like a kind of glimmer in their eyes. I know this sounds dumb but that’s the only way I can describe it. They use smiles to disarm people and get past their defenses. It may even be a beautiful smile, but it usually never reaches the eyes, it’s lacking in substance somehow that you may not be able to put your finger on.

    This holds true for all people with mental problems of a sort. And I never get why people that interact with these kinds of people don’t immediately or even gradually pick up on it. I guess for various social reasons they ignore it.

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