In whatever way you are meeting people, you can make your life easier if you learn to spot and avoid a narcissist. It does not matter if you are making friends, hiring employees, or joining a club or an organization.

When in relationships with these people, they will want to make it very clear that they are superior, and they will accomplish this through public humiliation, insults, demeaning comments, and other mind games. They will also demand constant attention, fail to reciprocate your affection, and even spend your money on other people.

At work, these people can spend lots of time talking to co-workers in order to boost their self-image. They will lie often and make fake promises, and they will not be above taking credit for your work.

When in superior roles, they will often bully you in front of others and speak ill of those above them in their absence and yet praise them in their presence.

Narcissism and Superiority

The nine criteria for identifying narcissism as listed in the DSM-5 lean towards superiority. These people have arrogance, demand for admiration, lack of empathy, exploitation of other people, and the delusion that they are special.

About 6.2% of people can have this problem, and there is nothing you can do to change them. So, don’t blame yourself for their behavior towards you, and when you raise the issue with them, it becomes a fight. Even parting ways with them through a divorce can be difficult.

Spot Them Through the WEB Method

This is a three-pronged approach to spotting a narcissist. WEB is an acronym for words, emotions, and behavior. About 90% of people would never do the things that a narcissist would.

1. Their Words

Narcissists take their words to the extreme as they can use very negative or very positive words when describing you or other people.

Examples:

Positive or seductive words they use include: You are my world. I will treat you better than anyone ever has. I know I will be very famous one day. Your ex was a loser.  

Negative words: I think I will have to get him fired. I can’t wait to see them get humiliated. The fact that they could not see my side of the story is clear proof of how stupid they are.

Words that show lack of empathy or interest: When you tell them about a vulnerability they have, they will not bother responding with anything related but will instead say something like, “Let me tell you something funny that happened to me once…”

Victim words: When a narcissist is exposed for who they are, they play the victim. So they might get turned down at a job interview and say something like “they are unfair.”

2. Your Emotions

Another way to spot a narcissist is to look within and examine your emotions to see how being around that person makes you feel. For instance:

If it feels too good to be true: They use words that make you feel euphoric to charm and win you over, and they will do this with anybody. So, don’t think it’s anything special.

Feeling stupid and inadequate: Narcissists will often put you down in order to lift themselves up. You might end up with crippling self-doubt after such encounters because you wonder if they think you are smart, talented or even attractive.

Feeling suffocated: These people love to be the center of attention. They ruthlessly hog all the attention and you might have no space to vent your emotions or express yourself because it is all about them.

3. Their Behavior

In addition to taking note of the things they say, you should be careful about what they do. Their words might be a distraction from their destructive actions. If there is an issue in your relationship and you bring it up, do they do something to make things better? If they ignore and take you for granted, then you might be dealing with a narcissist. Understand that they cannot change.

Blame game: Narcissists will always put the blame on someone else when things go south. They might even find minor things to blame you for as they naturally love conflict. “You should have done what I asked you to do.” They can blame anyone, including spouses, kids, parents, friends and even neighbors.

Also, take note of things they do most people would never do, or you would never do yourself. However, good they are at explaining themselves out of such situations, be very careful.

To Sum Up

The words, emotions, and behaviors that come with being involved with a narcissist should warn you of their true nature. If you cannot get out of the relationship, at least this information can help you understand and manage such relationships better. Protect yourself, while also understanding that they don’t choose to be like this.