How to avoid dating a narcissist

In this article I will teach you how to avoid dating a narcissist by showing you the most common traits of narcissists. I will explain what early signs you need to look out for, what makes someone develop narcissistic personality disorder and what are the four main types of narcissistic personality.

How are narcissists made?

“Because narcissistic parents are experts at making everything look good, the child of the narcissist may not know anything was wrong. A common response in therapy is ‘I had a great childhood with caring parents. I should be happy.’” – Heather Sheafer

Narcissists are made, not born. Narcissistic personality disorder starts to develop in childhood when kids are over-indulged with superficial things. Parents of narcissist children offer them the best material things they can have.

They invest in their future, in their appearance, they go on best holidays and they pressure the child to excel in sports or education.

On the other side, narcissistic children are deprived of emotional support and attention. Parents of narcissist children don’t listen to the needs of their children, they are not present in their life and they are not expressing any affection towards them. These children feel valued only when they achieve goals their parents set for them.

Moreover, narcissism is a learned behaviour. Children observe the behaviour of their parents. If their primarily care giver is manipulative, self-centered and loves appearance and superficial things, children could mirror their behaviour. This is not to say that all the children that have come from this type of environment become narcissists.

What is more, research has shown that children that come from narcissistic parents are more likely to choose a narcissistic partner.


The 4 types of narcissistic personality

Narcissism and self-deception are survival mechanisms without which many of us might just jump off a bridge.”-Todd Solondz

Dr. Ramani classifies narcissistic personality into 4 main types:

1. Classic narcissists – They are grandiose, arrogant, attention and validation seeking, they don’t listen to anybody, they are entitled and they are lacking empathy.

2. Malignant narcissists – They have all the traits of classic narcissistic but they are also very mean, borderline psychopathic, they rarely feel any guilt, they lie, cheat or steal.

3. Covert narcissists – They feel they are great but the world doesn’t recognise their qualities. They victimise themselves by blaming others if they don’t achieve their goals. They are passive aggressive, they feel like life have done them wrong, that the world never got their greatness.

4. Communal narcissists – They are out there volunteering, trying to save the world, but only to make others recognise, validate and admire them. They either post it on social media or they talk about it a lot.


How to identify narcissists

“Narcissistic love is riding on the roller coaster of disaster filled with a heart full of tears.” -Sheree Griffin

In order to identify if your partner could suffer from narcissistic personality disorder, you need to recognise at least 6 of the following behaviours and personality traits:

  • They gain their self-identity from other people.
  • They experience low levels of empathy for other people.
  • They brag and believe they are better than others
  • They are self-centred- They like to talk about their accomplishments and pay little to no attention to what anyone else says
  • They are manipulative and emotionally detached
  • They don’t like to obey rules, they could go as far as committing small crimes in order to prove they are fearless
  • They deny saying things they have said to you in the past
  • They gaslight people close to them (Gaslighting is manipulating someone by psychological means into doubting their own sanity)
  • They believe they are self-entitled; they want to be treated as they are special
  • They are very superficial and choose their friends based on their status
  • They are very concerned about their appearance and the appearance of people around them
  • They would do anything to gain admiration, triumph and respect from others
  • They are controlling, they need to be in control all the time
  • Their reputation is more important than your relationship
  • They would do anything to be right and change your opinion to match theirs
  • They cannot take criticism and they become angry and defensive if people don’t agree with their point of view/way of living life
  • They don’t feel any remorse
  • They belittle others as they believe they are the best
  • They see themselves as more attractive than they really are
  • They use silent treatment in relationships in order to punish their partner (they believe talking to them is a gift)
  • They have nothing positive to say about other people and they treat everyone’s success as a challenge
  • They are scared of commitment; they want the benefits of the relationship without commitment
  • They get pleasure out of the misery of other people
  • They don’t want a partner that makes them feel good, they want a partner that makes them look good
  • They think they are always right and they don’t need to change
  • They love social media attention (they are so insecure inside that they regulate their self-esteem by getting approval from others)
  • They are arrogant, grandiose and entitled
  • They are constantly seeking admiration and validation
  • They cannot tolerate frustration, criticism or disappointment from others
  • They are very dishonest
  • They cheat in a relationship to build their ego
  • They are often very financially successful
  • They feel the world is not just or fair (in case they don’t succeed)
  • They don’t care about anyone else except themselves
  • They are very charming and attractive
  • They are invalidating other people feelings, they lack compassion and respect
  • They are cold and indifferent
  • They see human relationship as conveniences
  • They exaggerate every detail in any story as they want to be perceived as heroes
  • They act like they have everything under control, but they rarely do
  • They have unrealistic expectations of their partner, expecting perfection
  • They usually recognise, admit and are proud to be narcissists
  • They cannot be changed or fixed

How to avoid dating a narcissist- Early signs to look out for

“I don’t care what you think unless it is about me.” – Kurt Cobain

In order to identify a narcissist before you commit to a relationship, try to look for early signs. In order to avoid dating a narcissist, you need to pay considerable attention to the following behaviours:

  • Narcissists are very good at conversation, they are confident, seductive and charming.
  • They have a relaxed, confident manner to approach you and make you feel seen, heard and special.
  • They have very interesting stories to tell about themselves and they love to brag about their accomplishments.
  • They know how to look at you, how to make you feel beautiful and they know what to say to catch your attention.
  • They are almost too good to be true.

Tip: Pay attention if they have any interest in your life, achievements or hobbies. If they don’t, there is a big chance the person in front of you is a narcissist.


Final thoughts

I hope this article has helped you better understand how narcissistic personality disorder manifests and how to avoid dating a narcissist.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to answer them.

All the best,


  (Accredited Counsellors, Coaches, Psychotherapists and Hypnotherapists)

For counselling and coaching appointments scan the QR code or press here.

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16 thoughts on “How to avoid dating a narcissist”

  1. Hey,

    Really interesting article. I’m so pleased reading this that my girlfriend most certainly isn’t a narcissist, and I’m pretty sure I’m not one either :).

    Hopefully you can help a lot of people who are currently dating a narcissist, but didn’t really know they were until now, with your advice.

    Thank you for sharing and keep up your amazing work.

    All the best,


    • Hi Tom,

      Thank you very much for your comment. I am happy my article has helped you identify that your partner is not a narcissist. I will explore the subject more in depth in future articles and hopefully help many people identify at early stages of their relationship if they are dating a narcissist.

      Kind regards,

  2. Hi Ioana,

    Thank you so much for bringing this out. I believe there are more and more narcissistic people out there. Perhaps this has something to do with the upbringing of the younger generations? What do you think of it?

    Sadly, ending up a relationship ( romantic or friendly) with a narcissistic person is hard.
    It’s good to have this information in the back of your mind!

    • Hi Cathrine,

      Thank you very much for your comment. Unfortunately, you are right. Research shows that the number of people diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder is increasing. I will research the reasons why this is the case and write an article soon explaining them in depth.

      Kind regards,

  3. Although I’m happily married so (hopefully) won’t be in a position to start dating ever again, I still checked this out as I find it fascinating.

    I found it useful and eye opening because everything you’ve put together can be applied to anybody in your life, be it dates, friends, colleagues, or even family!

    It’s always good to see people for who they are, and if you can’t remove the toxic ones from your life, at least you can manage how you deal with them.

    Keep up the good work!


    • Hi Tony,

      Thank you for your comment. It is difficult to manage someone suffering for narcissistic personality disorder. The best way is to identify them before you start dating. I hope this article helps many people prevent the painful process of having to date a narcissist.

      Kind regards,

  4. This was very useful! Could you elaborate more in future articles about how to spot and identify narcissists in early stages of dating? Sometimes it’s still hard to spot them as you’re just getting to know a person from scratch and a lot of things are misleading. And you tell yourself maybe I should give them another chance to see how they behave, but actually end up wasting a lot of time. Thanks!

    • Hi Diana,

      Thank you for your comment. I will definitely elaborate in future articles how to identify narcissists at early stages.

      Kind regards,

  5. Excellent article Ioana and there is obviously a lot of research and work put in to it. You have described the different types with clarity and I like the images used as well

    Every success to you

    • Hi Trevor,

      Thank you for your comment. I am happy you enjoyed reading this article. I hope to see you back here soon.

      Wish you all the best,

  6. This is another amazing article that so many of us can learn from, I never knew there were so many types or even exactly what these people’s characteristics were.
    I wish I had known this before I married my high school sweetheart, she was narcissistic. I just was not good enough for her and I could never please her.

    By any chance did you ever date a person of this type yourself?


    • Hi Jeff,

      Thank you very much. I am sorry to hear that you had to deal with someone suffering from narcissistic personality disorder. Fortunately, having studied psychology, I have recognised the narcissistic traits at early stages and did not progress the relationship. I hope this article will help many people identify these traits before it is too late.

      Wish you all the best,

  7. I definitely know some people who are included in this category! Thank you for helping us to spot them so easily! I will make sure I’ll stay away from them in future.

    • Hi Elena,

      Thank you for your comment. I am happy to see that my article helped you identify how to stay away from narcissists.

      Kind regards,

  8. Hey, this was a very eye opening article. I’ve dated a couple of narcissists in the past and it is never a good experience. I now feel better equipped in knowing what to look for early on. I think regardless of dating everyone should read this as spotting narcissists in friends and colleagues is also very important. Everybody will come across this at some point so knowing how to handle this is key. Thanks for such an informative read.

    • Hi Natalie,

      Thank you very much for your comment. I am happy to see that my article helped you understand how to avoid dating narcissists and how to spot them very early.

      All the best,


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