Most likely you have found a narcissist. You know, that friend who somehow manages to reverse all the talking points to himself; the colleague who always boasts of having the most recent ____; the family member who thinks that she is sexier, smarter and, in general, better than you are in everything.
But sometimes the signs of narcissism are a little more nuanced. They are not always as obvious as the representations of the media would make you believe. And yes, it is possible to have some features of narcissism without having a complete, clinically diagnosed narcissistic personality disorder, which is when narcissism begins to have a serious and negative impact on everyday life and relationships.
"People are on a continuum: there is a variety of narcissism," W. Keith Campbell, a narcissism researcher and co-author of The epidemic of narcissism: living in the age of right explains to HuffPost. "Most people are in the middle, although some are more extreme than others."
When you think of the people you come in contact with every day, be it a friend, a romantic partner or a colleague, do any of the following seem to sound? If so, you can deal with a narcissist.
1. They are pleasant, at least at first sight.
Narcissists tend to be excellent at first impressions, and are shown as very charismatic and affable, which is why they can also perform quite well in job interviews.
"Often, the image you see of someone who is narcissistic at first could be very positive, but in the longer term, it turns out to be more negative," Campbell said. "So that's where the surprise comes in, it's like, 'My God, this is the person I just hired, and now look what I mean'"
2. Not all narcissists are loud and proud. In fact, some are quiet and shy.
While noisy and boastful types are what people usually imagine when they think of narcissists, they can actually be quiet and reserved. Zlatan Krizan, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Iowa State University, explains that there are actually two types of narcissism expressions: grandiose, which is where it is exhibited and boasted, and timid, where a person may not be so outspoken "or be outside with a megaphone, but he's sitting in the corner, fantasizing about when his day will come and resenting others"
That does not mean that narcissists are always great or timid. In most people, there are elements of both shy narcissism and grandiose narcissism. "We like to put people in a box," Krizan said, "but when you look at how these personality traits occur, you see separation only at extreme levels."
3. They can often be found in leadership roles.
Not that it makes them good leaders, says researcher Jean Twenge, co-author of The Narcissism Epidemic with Campbell. But narcissists often find themselves in leadership positions because "people who are narcissistic want to be leaders, they do not necessarily make better leaders, but they want to, so they are more likely to end up in those positions."
4. They always manage to make the conversation about themselves.
"I could start talking to someone about how they have cancer, and very soon they will be talking about their new car," Campbell explained.
5. They are also guilty of renown.
Everything is in the name of self-promotion and its appearance, which includes the tactic to resign, says Campbell.
6. Not all the stories narrated by a narcissist are of victory. But even in the stories of tragedy or failure, there is an air of law and victimization.
Narcissists often tell stories about themselves, sometimes repeat the same story over and over again, and many times, the story is about an example of personal heroism or a feat. But even when a story is about something negative that happened, it will never be the fault of the narcissist.
There is "more emotional victimization," Krizan explained. There is still an air of self-reference "about not being understood or people who do not recognize its value, it's about me and how I'm great", but others are not realizing it.
7. They like pretty things.
Now, we are not saying that all shopping addicts or materialistic people are narcissistic, or that all narcissists are also addicted to shopping. But one of the hallmarks of narcissism is the desire to show high status, and this is often done with material elements, says Twenge.
"One place to differentiate is that sometimes the shopaholic tells you what deal he gave something, and the narcissist is more likely to emphasize how prestigious or oriented the state is," he said. . "The really prototypical example: they drive in a Ferrari, but they will not tell you what good treatment they got."
8. Appearance is everything to them.
Narcissists are not necessarily more attractive than other people, but "they take care of their appearance and give importance to being physically attractive," Twenge said. Not everyone who cares about their appearance is narcissistic, he adds, but "well-applied nails, hair, etc. would be an indicator."
9. They have many friends on social networks, and not a single bad image.
"People who are narcissists use it to maintain the state, and then what they do is they tend to have more attractive photos, and more self-promotional networks, wider, more ' friends' on Facebook, "Campbell explained.
10. They are very adverse to criticism.
Although no one can honestly say that as receive criticism, people with narcissism are hypersensitive to it, says Krizan.
11. Excuses are a narcissist's best friend.
Narcissists tend to externalize blame, blaming everyone but themselves.
"They're good at making excuses and not taking credit for the mistakes they make," Campbell said.
12. They leave a trail of debris behind them.
Does this person have a history of poor relationships and work experiences? Consider that a red flag. With narcissistic CEOs, for example, you will see that "they have gone to the companies, they have destroyed them, then they have changed to something else," Campbell explained. "In relationships, they may have infidelity, which destroys that relationship, and then they will move on to another."
13. And in that sense, they are more likely to cheat.
That's because a narcissist will not put the feelings of the partner above his. There is also the undeniable impulse of self-esteem that arises when you discover that another person, even if that person is not your partner, is attracted to you. Together, these two elements help explain why infidelity may be more common among narcissists, says Campbell.
14. Everything is personal.
Particularly in the quieter narcissists, there may be no signs of self-reference and overt promotion. But there is defensiveness and reactive anger if they are not recognized or if they can not get away with it.
"If you do something for [the narcissist] that he does not like, it means you are against him or you do not understand," Krizan said.
15. A narcissistic person probably has no idea that he or she is a narcissist.
"Narcissism in itself is a kind of double whammy, not only because it has disturbances or believes it is special in some way more than others, but because those things in themselves they will prevent you from seeing that you have these problems, "Krizan said.
In the more timid narcissists who may also experience symptoms of depression or anxiety, those other things may prompt them to get professional help. But "great people, because they feel superior or because they may even have initial success, are very unlikely to seek treatment," he explains. "It would be only after they develop so many problems that they ask, 'I feel so good, I know I'm amazing, but why did they all leave me?'"
16. You are here resorting to adulation simply to keep the peace with a narcissist.
While the best way to deal with a narcissist is to cut the cable and run, there are certain circumstances in which you have no choice but to contend, says Twenge. Maybe the narcissist is a member of the family, or maybe he is their boss. In these cases, adulation is the best way to avoid conflict.
17. Narcissists are not with low self-esteem.
A common belief is that people with a high level of narcissism are secretly low in self-esteem, but this simply is not true. When it comes to narcissists in a typical population, "they have a very high self-esteem and, as far as we know, they do not have a deep-seated insecurity," says Twenge. In fact, Campbell adds that narcissists seem to be confident from start to finish.
18. Men are more likely to be narcissistic than women.
And the level of narcissism is higher among millennials today than previous generations at similar ages, Twenge adds. As to whether some professions or cultures have more narcissists than others, more research is needed to determine it.