How To Spot A Narcissist: 7 Subtle Signs

how to spot a narcissist

Simple examples are rudeness, not listening, walking ahead of you, ordering what you should eat, ignoring your boundaries, taking calls when you’re talking to them. Admittedly, these are minor things any one of them alone may not be significant, but they add up to paint a picture of someone who doesn’t care about you, and will behave that way on bigger issues.

They’re not comfortable with vulnerability – theirs or others, and are emotionally unavailable. In time, you’ll notice they keep you at a distance because they’re afraid if you get too close, you won’t like what you see.

4) Feeling Entitled.

A sense of entitlement reveals how narcissists believe they’re the center of the universe. They’re not only special and superior but also deserve special treatment. Rules don’t apply to them. They may not just want, but expect a plane or cruise ship to wait for them. If they’re convicted, it’s everyone else’s fault, or the law is wrong. You should also accommodate their needs – stock their favorite treats in your car, like what they like, and meet at their convenience on their timetable.

A relationship with this person will be painfully one-sided, not a two-way street. Narcissists are interested in getting what they want and making the relationship work for them. Your purpose is to serve their needs and wants.

Related: The 6 Types of Narcissists: How To Spot And Cope With Each Of Them

5) Exploiting Others.

You may not spot this trait until you get to know a narcissist better, but if you start to feel used, it may be because you’re being exploited. An example is someone taking credit for your work. A woman (or man) may feel used for sex, or for as arm candy if a narcissist shows no interest in her as a person. A man (or woman) may feel used if he gives money to a narcissist or provides her services. 

Manipulation is a form of covert aggression to influence you to do their bidding. Narcissists are masters of it. To many, dating is an art of game-playing. Whether or not it’s an “intimate relationship,” narcissists usually aren’t concerned about the other person, their feelings, wants, or needs. (Read “How to Tell if a Narcissist Loves You.” When relationships feel one-sided, givers feel exploited. They are because they allow it, and don’t set boundaries.

More serious exploitation involves lying, gas-lighting, cheating, and fraud involving financial and business dealing. These may include legal violations. You might not see this coming, but a narcissist might brag how he put one over on someone he took advantage of. Someone who had an affair may not be a narcissist, but a pattern of lying might be a symptom of several narcissistic traits. Other more obvious signs will show up.

6) Envying Others.

Narcissists want to be the first and best and don’t like their competitors. They want what they have. Instead of being happy for others’ successes, they feel envy. They may tear down the person they envy and say how the person doesn’t deserve what they have. Narcissistic parents do this with their own children and partners! They project and believe other people are envious of them. When someone has a good reason to criticize or not like them, narcissists will dismiss their complaints as envy, because they are so great – and they can’t tolerate criticism.

7) Feeling Arrogant.

Narcissists act superior because deep down they feel inferior. They may put down other people, classes, ethnic groups, or races. Notice how they treat people who serve them, such as waiters and doormen, while sucking up to people of influence. Their critical comments are usually tinged with disdain and are often rude, attacking the individual and not just complaining about the service. It may come out in abrupt anger or covert hostility. This gives you a glimpse of how they will treat you when they know you better.

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