Don’t waste your time. 🙅
Spotting a narcissist in the early stages of dating isn’t as easy as you’d think, which is why so many people end up in relationships with them.
Narcissism exists on spectrum; it’s possible to have some characteristics of narcissism without having full-blown, clinically diagnosed narcissistic personality disorder. There are some telltale signs, though, says psychologist Craig Malkin, author of the book Rethinking Narcissism: The Bad — And Surprising Good — About Feeling Special.
“Although there are many varieties of narcissism (outgoing and bombastic, shy and introverted, or proudly self-sacrificing), there are common traits,” Malkin said. “What they all have in common is a powerful aversion to sharing authentic emotional vulnerability.”
What other traits do they have in common? Below, Malkin and other experts share six red flags.
1. They’ve planned your date itinerary to a T.
You have to hand it to your date: He or she picked the restaurant, effusively recommended things on the menu and knew exactly what bar you should head to after dinner. It might be nice to have someone plan everything out for you for a change, but narcissists call the shots for a very particular reason, Malkin said: Open-ended plans might end with them not getting their way ― something they don’t respond well to.
“Instead of asking for what they want, narcissists often arrange events to make them happen,” he explained. “If your date insists on planning out the entire date, it could be a fun sweep-you-off-your feet experience, but it could also signal something far more ominous: someone who demands that everything always goes their way.”
2. They love-bomb you.
You’re still waiting for your appetizers, and your date has already expounded on all the weekend getaways you should plan and how well you click. Their clear interest in you may be alluring at first, but watch out: Love-bombing ― overblown demonstrations of attention and affection meant to win someone over ― is a marker of narcissism, said Virginia Gilbert, a Los Angeles-based marriage and family therapist.
“The adoration is so intoxicating that you may ignore the fact that it’s way too soon to be planning a future together,” Gilbert said. “Reality check: Your date is using love-bombing to hook you so you’ll give him what he wants ― most likely physical intimacy, money, connections, or taking care of them.”
3. They subtly slip humble brags about themselves into the conversation.
Most narcissists brag, but those who rate high on the narcissism scale have figured out ways to do it covertly. That’s because they’re experts in impression management and have learned to keep their arrogance in check in the early stages, said Tina Swithin, a divorce coach and the author of Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield.