How to Spot a Narcissist? Pretty Easy When Everywhere!

It’s easy to spot a narcissist…like fishing in a barrel!

Posted Aug 20, 2013

You know you are around a narcissistic when someone brings all conversations back to them and their stories and interests. They really can’t listen for more than a mere moment to others (unless the topic is about them). Sure, they’ll ask about you or listen to your story or needs for just a minute but then they’ll get that glazed over or distracted look pretty fast or change the topic to something about them. They can’t put themselves in the shoes of others and can’t experience empathy in a sincere manner. They also try to align themselves to important people and institutions. Fancy schools, clubs, activities, jobs, and so forth are all an attraction like moths to light.

The problem in our very individualistic society is that there are so many messages that it’s all about you! The message seems to be: "Have it your way! How can you be fulfilled? Reach your potential. You need more 'me' time", and so forth.  Plus, Hollywood celebrities, politicians, sport figures, and others who get so much attention all are magnets for and models of narcissism. Prestigious institutions, careers, cars, homes, jobs, friends all are narcissism magnets too. Media, including social media, adds fuel to the fire making things so much worse. If you really pay attention to many people’s Facebook posts, for example, and read between the lines of their comments, they are screaming narcissism basically often saying, "here I am being great, having a great time, being with great people, eating great food, and having great thoughts that you all must be very interested in knowing about!"

Of course, most narcissists really don’t think they are narcissistic at all! So, self understanding is very rare among them. They typically feel that they are perfectly reasonable and appropriate and can’t understand why others don’t find them to be wonderful, delightful, interesting, and right all the time. They are often demanding and entitled but don’t see it that way at all.

You have to really work on not being narcissistic in our current culture. Any efforts to nurture compassion, humility, and group goals can help but you must work at it constantly.

So, what do you think? 

Copyright 2013 by Thomas G. Plante, PhD, ABPP

Please check out my web site at and follow me on Twitter @ThomasPlante.