If you’ve ever known a narcissist, you know that they aren’t as obvious to recognize as you might think.
Hopefully, you don’t know them anymore. I don’t even need to explain why– you already know.
But if you’ve never known one, it’s critical to be able to spot them quickly. As soon as you meet them, preferably.
The last thing you want is to walk down a road, whether friendship or intimately, with someone whose sole purpose for being with you is to drain you of all life– and the life of everything around them– so that they might feel a little better about themselves at the end of the day.
But to do that, you need to know what you’re looking for. You need to know how to identify a narcissist.
Nobody can be kinder than the narcissist while you react to life in his own terms.
– Elizabeth Bowen
Here’s how to spot a narcissist in five minutes or less.
1. Notice their physical appearance (Do they dress to impress?)
Narcissists aren’t as simple as a being who wants to look at themselves in the mirror all day long, despite common misconception.
However, they do enjoy looking good– and they make the choice to dress sharp and sexy consciously. They want to impress based on their physical appearance and they’ll do everything they can to do that.
If someone is dressed to the nines, sure, they might just like dressing well. However, they might also be trying way too hard to impress others due to their narcissism, so keep an eye out for physical appearance as a big red flag.
2. Pay attention to how they speak (Do they swear and use sexual language?)
Narcissists actually swear a good deal more than the average person and are more prone to sexual language. And that’s not just hot fluff.
In a study by Nicholas Holtzman, published in Journal of Research in Personality, participants were told to wear small pocket-sized recorders as they went about their everyday life (which went off at random intervals, so they never truly knew when they were on).
Researchers found that those participants with narcissistic personality tendencies preferred more extraverted acts and used more swearing and sexual language than the average person.
3. Watch how they present themselves (Look for the charm)
In addition to dress and verbal cues, narcissists also give off several nonverbal cues that can serve as red flags that you’re potentially dealing with a narcissist.
One of the most common traits of a narcissist is that they’re charming. Much of their time is spent learning how to, and becoming better at, impressing others. So, naturally, they become pretty good at it.
However, that doesn’t really tell you much. To spot a narcissist you need to know exactly what you’re looking for.
Here are a few important cues to look out for:
- Neat appearance
- Flashy behavior
- Charming facial expressions
- Self-confident body language (spread out, standing tall and wide, hand gestures)
Each of the above are just tools of the narcissist to “put their charm on” so they’re more interrelated than they might at first appear.
It’s important to keep in mind that no single one of these factors means someone is a narcissist. It’s when you notice several of them together that your narcissist radar should start going off.
If that happens, get out as fast as you can– and never look back.