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16 Characteristics of a Narcissist that Give Them Away Instantly

When it comes to narcissism, it’s not as complicated as you probably think. It can be challenging if you don’t know the characteristics of a narcissist.

Characteristics of a Narcissist

You’ve heard the word narcissist being thrown around to describe people, but what does the word really mean? Because by today’s standards, most of us probably have characteristics of a narcissist.

Looking at yourself in the mirror or getting lip injections doesn’t mean you’re a narcissist. In reality, a narcissist is someone with an exaggerated sense of entitlement, lacks empathy, and constantly needs validation and attention. At the same time, they also view themselves as superior and unable to answer to criticism or take responsibility for their actions.

Let’s face it: we all can be a little bit like this, but that doesn’t make us narcissistic. A person needs a lengthy history of this behavior before being classified as narcissistic. [Read: The secret signs of narcissism you shouldn’t overlook]

How to tell the characteristics of a narcissist

Before you begin diagnosing people with narcissism, learn the signs. This helps you understand who you’re dealing with, and give you enough time to run. Yes, that’s right, don’t stick around a narcissistic person. They’ll only drag you down and exhaust you. Trust me, I had my fair share of encounters.

Now, if they’re a family member, well, learn how to handle them. But, before you take that step, it’s time you understood the characteristics of a narcissist. That way, you’ll always be one step ahead. Believe me, the signs are there.

#1 Not all narcissists are loud and proud. Many people think narcissists are the loudest people in the room, but that’s not always the case. In reality, many narcissists are shy and quiet. And that’s what may confuse you at first. How can a narcissist be introverted? Well, human beings aren’t black and white, we’re complex. [Read: 25 scary signs of a stealthy covert narcissist]

#2 You like them at first. That’s the thing with narcissistic people; you like them. They know how to have a good time. They can chat up a storm and entertain you. But that only lasts for so long. Eventually, you realize the only thing they talk and care about is themselves. They always make good first impressions but don’t do well in long-term scenarios.

#3 They’re usually in leadership roles. Well, that shouldn’t be surprising. This is why most of us can’t stand our bosses. They’re obsessed with validation and entitlement. People who are narcissistic strive to become leaders, and because it’s something they push towards, they’re usually more likely to achieve that specific goal. [Read: Why narcissists do the selfish things they do]

#4 They lack empathy. They’re not concerned with your feelings and don’t want to put themselves in your shoes. That would go against their own beliefs and values. Sure, they can pretend to feel sad or happy for you, but to them, everything is calculated.

#5 No boundaries. Boundaries? Why would they have boundaries? That would mean they respect you, and we all know a narcissist only has respect and love for themselves. One of the strongest and yet silly characteristics of a narcissist is their belief that everything belongs to them. If you create a boundary they disagree with, prepare to be challenged. They make sure they get what they want. 

#6 They love to name drop. Did you know they met Oprah? And they even ate dinner with Barack Obama! Do you know why I know that? Because they told me, and they’ll tell you too. Narcissistic people love to name drop. When it comes to themselves, they are their biggest promoters. Knowing influential people give them the ego boost they live for. [Read: How to set boundaries with a narcissist and weaken their hold over you]

#7 The conversation is always about them. Sure, they may let you mention the fight you had with your partner or how your dog died, but in the end, it always circle back to them. They can’t bear talking about other people for too long without mentioning themselves. They’re obsessed with their own pain, suffering, and glory.

#8 They have self-esteem. Many of us think narcissists are those who have low self-esteem, but that’s not correct. It’s actually the opposite. Narcissists have an inflated view of self and are very confident in their actions and beliefs. This is why they’re never to blame for any mistakes because they don’t see themselves doing anything wrong. [Read: 16 subtle signs a narcissist is abusing you already]

#9 They don’t take criticism well. Not at all. Perhaps you already found this out the hard way. When it comes to criticism, whether it’s constructive or not, they won’t accept it. Sure, no one likes criticism, but narcissists take it very personally. 

#10 They’re not always positive. Many of us think narcissistic people love to talk about their victories, but they also enjoy a good revel in their tragedies as well. As long as the stories are about them, they’re not concerned about positive or negative. [Read: How to stop the negative people in your life from sapping your energy]

#11 They love to control. There’s not a narcissist in the world who’s out of control of their lives. In most situations, they make sure they’re the ones holding the power. They believe they’re higher than everyone else, losing control doesn’t go hand-in-hand with self-entitlement. Anything unexpected happens, and they lose their cool.

#12 They cheat. Yeah, well, this is to be expected. If you know someone who’s a chronic cheater and shares these signs, the odds are they are a narcissist. They don’t invest in personal relationships. Sure, they can be in a relationship, but their love is only for themselves. 

#13 They love the good life. Narcissistic people love status. Today, status is usually achieved through materialism. So, they’ll strive to have a fancy car, a nice apartment, and will wear the newest collections. They want people to know they’re not the average person; they’re on a higher level. [Read: How to spot a narcissist and save yourself a world of pain]

#14 They love excuses. Narcissists aren’t focused on being the best friend they can be to you; they’re focused on themselves. If they flake out on a dinner date with you, expect an excuse. Actually, expect an excuse for everything they do. They make a lot of mistakes, but none of them will be their fault. 

#15 Looks matter. Oh yes, they do, at least for a narcissist. They focus on looking as attractive as possible. They’re not concerned with how you look. What matters is they’re attractive to other people and get the attention they want and live for.

#16 They don’t know they’re a narcissist. Of course, there are some who are highly aware of their narcissism and simply aren’t interested in changing their behavior. Plus, since they don’t accept self-criticism, if someone told them about their narcissism, they probably ignored the comment.

[Read: How to hurt a narcissist – 11 subtle counterblows to hurt them hard]

You now have all you need for defining the characteristics of a narcissist. But knowing them are half the battle. You also must learn how to handle them.

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Natasha Ivanovic
Natasha Ivanovic is an intimacy, dating, and relationship writer best known for her writings on Kiiroo, LovePanky, Post Pravda, and more. She's the creator and ...
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