How to spot a narcissist online

We all have those annoying Facebook friends who simply can’t stop posting selfies then we have those on Instagram – a media platform that is basically an online photo/video album dumpster. As soon as they cross the threshold of a location, they check-in religiously and proceed to inform us of how they feel “excited” or “relaxed” there and how everything and their entire life is always so “perfect”. You probably have that one friend who is always bragging about having the latest, greatest blah or the family member who thinks she is hotter, smarter and just generally better than you at everything.

Sometimes, we roll our eyes at their antics and may even be tempted to block them on social network but then again, aren’t we all like that at times?

But sometimes the signs of narcissism are a little more silenced. It is possible to have some traits of narcissism without having full-blown, clinically diagnosed narcissistic personality disorder i.e when narcissism starts to have a serious, negative impact on everyday life and relationships.

What exactly is narcissism?

Narcissism is an excessive interest in or admiration of oneself and one’s physical appearance and extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration, as characterizing a personality type. Simply put, a person with narcissistic tendencies or disorder has an inflated sense of self-importance.

Psychologists warn that narcissistic, self-exposing behavior is on the rise nowadays, and many blame social media for this increase. This may not be far from the truth as social networks may create, encourage and strengthen narcissistic tendencies since these platforms are basically used for self-promotional activities.

However, on the flip side – persons who are already narcissist will tend to be active on social media because it is an avenue for them to engage in exhibitionistic, attention-seeking, and self-promoting behaviours which are all trademarks of narcissists.

Furthermore, narcissists prefer superficial connections with other people, and are really bad at listening and expressing empathy – this again makes social networks a very fertile environment for them to breed and spread their wings.

Spotting a narcissist online

Although we all become narcissistic on social media, some remain more vocal than others in their self-expression. So how can you pick out narcissistic behaviors that go beyond the normal levels?

1. Narcissists tend to be great at first impressions, coming across as very charismatic and personable, creating great first, second and even third impressions.

2. Pay attention to is their photos – people with narcissistic tendencies care very much about pictures. For example, they’re more likely to wear expensive, flashy clothing on photos, and their general appearance reveals a lot of preparation. Then they go on to edit everything and add filters.

3. Again in the photos: For example, female narcissists tend to wear make-up and show cleavage more often than other women. Male narcissists are more likely to wear clothes that enhance their social status.

3. A narcissistic character needs admiration from others. Their grandiose self-views thrive on easy-to-obtain social media endorsements such as likes, shares, or new followers and they will go to great lengths to feed this need.

4. They are not interested in lasting relationships or deep bonds with followers, therefore they avoid getting close and tactically remain aloof while relishing the attention and admiration.

5. They always manage to make the conversation about themselves. You could start a conversation about how you have cancer, and pretty soon they will make sure you are talking about their new car.

6. They mostly only reveal how perfect they are and how their lives are the best except when the opposite also brings them attention, then they veer also in that direction. Most of their posts are directly or indirectly self-absorbed.

7. Not every story a narcissist tells is one of victory. But even in the stories of tragedy or failure, there’s an air of entitlement and victimization. It is never their fault.

8. They are guilty of name dropping and making mentions of ‘celebrities’ or popular online personas to rub off the shine on themselves.

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