How to Know if the Guy You’re Seeing is a Narcissist

In past articles I’ve spoken on the subject of narcissism, specifically, avoiding men who have narcissistic tendencies.  If you’ve never really read about narcissism or only vaguely understand the concept, then you may not understand why it’s such a “big deal” in dating.

After all, narcissists are really easy to spot in a crowd, right?  Why just think of your least favorite politicians! The way he or she is always showboating and drawing attention to themselves.  Or think of Hollywood actors and how self-involved they are – to the point where it’s obvious they don’t care about other people. They just want money and fame!

True, in some ways narcissists are easy to spot.  Or at least…CAREER NARCISSISTS are easy to spot.  Men and women who only care about getting ahead or being loved by millions, at the expense of everyone else.

But the truth is, in dating you really don’t meet the career narcissist.  You actually meet a guy who APPEARS to be really funny, really likable and really confident.  That’s the guy you meet, that’s the guy you fall for.  It sounds a lot like Mister Right / Prince Charming, doesn’t it?  The kind of guy every girl would LOVE to meet.

And that’s the only “sign” you get.  Nothing else, at least not at first.

How in the world are you supposed to dislike or fear a guy who’s handsome, extroverted and charming?  So what, are you supposed to date with the attitude of “He’s too good to be true…something fishy is going on!”

That’s the challenge because you really have to use your powers of perception to spot a

narcissist.  Narcissists do NOT actually come across as egotistical or self-centered, not when you first meet them.  If that were the case, women could see them coming a mile away.

No, for the narcissist to thrive – and then either sleep with a lot of women or emotionally abuse one woman after another – he has to be really good at what he does.  The narcissist is charming. He usually has a great sense of humor.

More to the point, he understands the secret of dating, at least from a guy’s point of view: give the woman plenty of attention, make her laugh, stimulate her emotions and give off masculine energy.

That means that the “tell” or “red flag” of a narcissist is far more subtle than you thought.  You have to look BEYOND how the guy makes you feel and beyond the great first impression (or even second or third impression) and analyze what he’s really saying behind those pretty words.  

Here are five subtle narcissistic behaviors to look for that really tell the story.

1. He tolerates you but he’s mainly interested in talking about himself.

Narcissists are characterized by their inability to care about other people.  They will listen to you. They will pretend to be interested. They will use information you give them to seduce you later.  But do they actually want to talk about you? Usually not. Narcissists are uninterested in your life, except what they can get out of you.

If your boyfriend or date only seems to come alive when he’s talking about himself, beware!  The conversation should be two-sided. He should be trying to get to know you. Narcissists, however, will mainly be interested in getting praise from you – for their accomplishments, talent and greatness.  It may be “funny” and he may actually be very talented. But is that all you ever talk about?

2. He treats other people horribly.

Narcissists have the habit of discarding people they don’t need anymore.  That’s why you should pay close attention to how he treats people that he doesn’t need.  How does he treat his family, your family or both of your circle of friends? How does he treat waiters and waitresses?  Does he belittle them just to get a laugh out of you or show off? Or does he treat everyone with respect?

3. He is not just sensitive…he overreacts to get his way each and every time.

Narcissists are so determined to be right and to get their way, they will do anything they can to manipulate you.  So if their charm doesn’t work, the next step is to get angry. Some will even resort to crying just to get you to cooperate.  The point is, their reaction is  always “over the top” and overly sensitive. If their emotional needs are not meant they will resort to bad behavior and blame you for causing the conflict.

4. He will belittle you and chip away at your self-confidence.

One of the best weapons of the narcissist is getting you to doubt yourself.  He may do this overtly – as in emotional abuse – or he may do it in more subtle ways, like “gaslighting” you and persuading you to believe his lies.  

Narcissists will also try to minimize your accomplishments and will never actually be proud of you or happy for you.  They’re too competitive and they see every accomplishment you make as a threat.

The mark of a narcissistic man is his lack of empathy.  He may get along with you at times, but the relationship will always be stressed because he’s mostly concerned about his own feelings and doesn’t have any emotional resources left to help you.  A narcissist will never sacrifice for you or humble himself. Everything he does is self-serving.

Granted, it’s not always easy to see a narcissistic guy for what he is.  And at times, he may seem genuine or even apologetic. The real issue is how he makes you feel and how long he lasts being the “perfect guy.”  Narcissists are on a timer…they will eventually reveal their true colors.

Either date him for a longer period of time before getting serious, at which point his bad behavior will become more obvious, or pay close attention to the subtle behaviors that indicate complete self-absorption.  

Walking away from a charming narcissist is difficult…but believe me, it’s better you cut him off now than wait until the stressful and heartbreaking divorce!  Be strong and be good to yourself, not just a man who likes you.

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Talk soon,

Matthew Coast

P.S. If you’ve been banging your head against the wall because you’ve fallen for a man who’s frustratingly unavailable…

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Matthew Coast

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1 Comment

  • Katalin Kiss

    Reply Reply September 2, 2018

    I have been I a narcissist relationship in the past until it escalated to physical violence! I am very aware of the red flags but still in my latest relationship I don’t know if the guy is loosing interest or a narcissist…. it’s so hard to recognise

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