Narcissism, it’s one of those words that you hear every now and then used to describe someone but it’s not always clear exactly what it means, or what the implications of being labelled a ‘narcissist’ are. That’s what we will cover in this post.
What is Narcissism?
Narcissism, simply put, means the state of being self-absorbed. We all know someone who always puts them self first, with disregard to the feelings of others.
For a great overview of narcissism in society today, check out this great book: Narcissism Epidemic Living Age Entitlement
It’s the person who will drop you at the drop of a hat if something better comes along that will benefit them more.
It’s the person who wants to go out for a drink and a chat, and then talks about their life and their own problems constantly all night, without even a casual enquiry about you, your life and your issues.
The problem with narcissists
If you recognise the traits above in anyone you know, it’s time to ask yourself a question: why exactly are you friends with this person? Is it really serving your life to be around them?
You see, the problem with narcissists is that they are often quite charming. Their self-obsession usually means they are exceptionally well groomed and presentable. They are often socially adept, and form (shallow) relationships easily.
They give you the illusion of being their friend. But the sad truth is, narcissism, by its very nature, leaves no space for friendships with anyone other than their own ego.
Friendship involves giving. It comes from a position of abundance. If you’re stuck somewhere without transport and you give me a call, likelihood is I’ll come and give you a lift. That’s what friends do. With a narcissist, it’s different.
They are all take, no give.
Their self-centeredness puts your whole relationship way out of whack. You’ll be doing stuff for them, but never them for you.
So what can you do?
Learn to recognise this kind of self-destructive personality type. That is the first step: identification. You’ll know one when you see one.
Second, limit your interactions with them to a purely superficial or professional level. If you work with them, be civil but have as little to do with them as possible. If you meet them socially, exchange pleasantries and then politely excuse yourself and walk away.
It’s just not worth getting caught up in the black-hole of self-absorption and drama.
And if you are already ‘friends’ with, or ‘involved’ with someone that matches this personality type, check out this great book for some powerful insights into how you can get out of that situation and avoid succumbing to it in future: ‘Freeing Yourself From The Narcissist In Your Life‘