If you recognize these 9 behaviors, you’re dealing with a textbook narcissist

Trying to navigate interactions with people can be tiring, but it can get a lot tougher when you meet someone who has narcissistic tendencies.

They tend to believe that the world should revolve around them and behave in a way that disregards the feelings of others around them.

If you’re wondering whether someone may be a narcissist, here are some behaviors to look out for the next time you meet them.

1) They’re constantly showing off

The thing about narcissists is that they can never get enough about themselves.

To them, the world is their stage and they’re the main character.

In fact, they’re the only character.

Everyone else doesn’t matter. 

Whatever skill, knowledge or strength they have, you’ll know it in a matter of minutes.

They’ll either talk about it or show it to you (some even make up excuses just so they can display their strengths).

This boosts their ego and self-importance, and they feed off the admiration of the people around them.

Unfortunately, this also emboldens them to find even more opportunities to show off.

2) They expect special treatment

Because of how ‘good’ they are in their reality, they expect to be treated differently.

For example, some people know that they’re very attractive and expect people to give in to their requests (no matter how ridiculous).

Others may think that because they’re affluent or popular enough, they’re able to get whatever they want.

And when they don’t get that special treatment they’re expecting, they’ll end up throwing a fit or boasting about themselves so that this will somehow convince the other person that they deserve to be treated differently.

3) They think they’re the best

Not many people will say that they’re the best at what they do – unless of course, they’re truly good at it.

But textbook narcissists will find any opportunity to say this.

They may tell you ‘I’m the best’ or ‘I deserve all the credit for this because this project succeeded all thanks to me.’ 

No matter what happened during the course of the project, they’ve somehow painted a reality for themselves in that they single-handedly led the team to success (even though it was really a group effort).

And because of this, they expect everyone to be grateful for their effort.

4) They play the blame game

Textbook narcissists would rather die than have their reputation or image sullied.

That’s why when they make a mistake or do something to hurt another person, they’ll try their very best to shift the blame to anyone but themselves.

The last thing they’ll do is own up to their actions.

Instead, they’ll deflect responsibility, point fingers at others, and manipulate you into thinking that you’re the problem. 

Some may even successfully convince the people around them that they were wrongfully accused, and that they were actually the victim in that situation.

This effective gaslighting is a common characteristic shared among textbook narcissists and the bottom line is that whatever happens, it’s never their fault.

5) They love to manipulate

manipulate If you recognize these 9 behaviors, you’re dealing with a textbook narcissist

Textbook narcissists want to control the narrative and will do anything they can to gaslight, shame, and manipulate others into buying into their own version of a story.

I knew a girl once from school who was able to manipulate her way out of a ton of uncomfortable situations. 

She knew how to twist her words and play with the emotions of others so that they end up doubting their reality.

She’ll blatantly deny things, and claim that whatever perceptions others have of a particular situation are simply incorrect.

And because of how confidently she lied, everyone around her ended up believing her side of the story.

I’ve seen her wriggle out of punishment because she excelled at manipulating people.

Some narcissists even get a kick out of doing this.

6) They constantly seek validation

Another way to identify a textbook narcissist is that they crave admiration.

They need constant reassurance from others about how great they are and the role of the people around them is to feed their egos.

While some of them will ask for affirmation directly from the people around them, others may take a more indirect approach. 

For example, after they do something well, they may play down their strengths and owe it to luck instead, compelling the people around them to sing praises of their abilities.

7) They have zero empathy

Because they are so full of themselves, narcissists aren’t able (and are unwilling) to empathize with the people around them.

They consider the needs, opinions, and feelings of others as beneath them because these are all secondary to their grand narrative.

And the grand narrative is centered around themselves.

They may even belittle the feelings of others and play down their experiences.

If someone tries to share their negative experiences with them, they may respond by saying that they don’t have the time to listen to their problems.

They are also so used to having the spotlight on themselves that the conversation will eventually steer towards them – rather than providing the other person with the support they need.

8) They love the spotlight

Narcissists thrive on being the center of attention.

If the spotlight shifts away, they will go to great lengths to reclaim it.

This could involve dominating conversations, playing down the experiences of others (as mentioned previously), or exaggerating and employing dramatic tactics just to keep everyone’s focus on them.

When they aren’t able to get what they want, they may grow impatient and angry, resulting in (unfortunately) a public breakdown or tantrum.

And then they’ll once again manage to get people to focus their attention on them again.

They don’t see anything wrong with this behavior and will gladly go to such extremes to ensure that they’re always in the spotlight.

9) They emotionally neglect others

Since no one else is as important as them, narcissists are unable to consider the feelings of others and are unable to be there emotionally for them.

If you’re friends or partners with a narcissist, you may feel alone and ignored.

Your problems may fall on deaf ears, your need for care will likely go unnoticed, and even if you’re in the same room with them, you won’t feel seen.

Being emotionally unavailable is a common behavior of a textbook narcissist simply because there’s no one else as important as them in their own worldview.


If you’re dealing with a narcissist and it’s taking a toll on your mental health, it’s important to prioritize your well-being and distance yourself if possible.

While we’re unable to control the behavior of others, we’re able to control how we respond to them.

Trust your instincts, set boundaries, and try not to let their behavior get to you. 

It’s definitely easier said than done, but over time, you’ll develop resilience towards dealing with difficult people and develop skills on how to manage them.

Picture of Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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