However platonic or romantic, brief or long-term, we’ve all tried to keep a narcissist in our lives.
And we’ve all found ourselves asking why?
They’re self-centered, extremely manipulative, attention-seeking, and cause us nothing but grief. All we end up with is a toxic relationship with someone who can’t love anyone but themselves. It’s a total nightmare.
And yet, according to science, people tend to be more attracted to narcissists than to non-narcissists.
So you might ease up on yourself a little bit. You’re not the first person to get attracted to narcissists. In fact, it’s actually normal.
Let’s find out why.
1. Narcissists appear to have high self-esteem.
It’s all about perception. In this interesting study by MacEwan University (Edmonton) psychologist, Miranda Giacomin and her colleagues found out that we are attracted to narcissists because we are attracted to high self-esteem.
“People can perceive narcissism without observing any behavior, based on physical appearance alone.” This perception leads you to overestimate the narcissist’s self-esteem, “a socially valued trait, which contributes to unduly positive impressions of narcissist.” You are drawn to people high in self-esteem, because you infer (rightly or wrongly) that they also possess many positive qualities and therefore you think you will like them.”
However, sooner or later, you will find out that narcissists, in fact, narcissists don’t necessarily have high self-esteem. They are only high in narcissism but very low in self-esteem. This is why they try to compensate by putting so much effort on their physical appearance.
This, in turn, leads us to perceive that they’re confident without fully observing their narcissistic behaviors.
2. Narcissists make such first great impressions.
The reason why we continue to try and build relationships with narcissists is that we are so focused on how great they were when we met them. They were so charismatic, lovely, full of life, and so attractive that we choose to ignore our “inner voices” warning us off.
Narcissists do whatever they can to impress you so that you become the admirer they so desperately need.
Another study conducted by Dr. Mitja Back fully explains why narcissist makes such great first impressions.
“Their overarching goal is to create and maintain a grandiose self instead of just a moderately positive self. This self-enhancement is a strategy that is accompanied by a promising hope for greatness which can be summarized by the slogan ― ‘Let others admire you!’ This strategy does not only aim at feeling good about oneself (having a high self-esteem) but at repeatedly reinstating one‘s grandiose self by feeling admired and ―special.”
Part of their job is to make themselves so appealing to us. And, like moths to a flame, we end up getting burned instead.
3. Narcissists know how to sell themselves.
Narcissists are like sales agents. They will do anything to convince you to buy their products. They feed off of your admiration to them,
As such, they won’t just stop at creating a great first impression, they will continue selling themselves in the best light possible.
You are attracted to them because they appear self-assured? They will continue to play that card. They will convince you that everyone else sees them that way. And this sense of boldness will appear so admirable to you that you will ignore all the other signs.
You won’t notice that they make everything about them, that they deliberately put the spotlight on themselves. This performance will look like it is directed to you. And it will make you feel special. However, although it may take time, you will start realizing that for a narcissist, it’s all about validating themselves.
4. Narcissists know how to manipulate you.
Narcissists don’t just know how to play the game. They invented the game. They will manipulate and twist literally everything to their advantage.
W. Keith Campbell’s work on narcissism suggests exactly that. Narcissists look at relationships as games they themselves are only allowed to play.
They do want to be in relationships. Of course, they do. They feed off of your love and attention. It’s only that they decide how long they want to be with you.
This is the reason why narcissists are serial daters. They prefer short-term relationships because sooner or later, their partners start to see through them, and they start getting bored.
Narcissists also prefer to pick people of low self-esteem as their victims because they are easier to manipulate.
Skillful narcissists are difficult to spot. They are extremely believable and even formidable in their skills. However, like all narcissists, they have kryptonite. They love their ego and that is their own undoing.
The next time you meet another charismatic individual, it may be better to reserve your judgment for later. Get to know them first and learn to recognize the signs of a narcissist before you invest your time and emotions with them.
Now that you’ve read about the magnetic power of narcissists, read our article on the “dark theory” that describes the nine traits of evil people. One of the traits is narcissism.