Why We Love Narcissists

March 9, 2016

Narcissists are self-centered, arrogant, exploitative, and still manage to captivate us and make us fall in love.

A recent psychological investigation has determined that we feel strangely drawn to narcissistic people, for their egocentric personality, mastery of situations, and even their hostility.

Even psychologists suffer this narcissistic fascination. They wonder how they manage to have such influence on people and why they embody so many paradoxes.

woman narcissist

Narcissists and their charm

The social psychologist Mitja Back and her colleagues decided to investigate narcissism. They asked 73 students, who did not know each other, to introduce themselves to others, one by one. Each person was evaluated by others regarding their sympathy. They completed several questionnaires, including an assessment of narcissistic personality traits.

The results showed:

  1. Narcissists are the most popular. They are substantially more appreciated by others than non-narcissists.
  2. Participants appreciated the narcissists’ sense of authority. In the evaluation questionnaires, students had to consider four aspects of narcissism: leadership, authority, self-admiration/egocentrism, arrogance-superiority and exploitation tendency.
  3. Some of the characteristics of narcissists that were found appealing were their appearance, tone of voice and their mastery of facial movements. They usually have a charming and attractive air when we meet them.

We are instantly drawn to narcissists because they use know how to use a facial expression, how to use a voice that inspires confidence, wear clothes and have a fashionable haircut, and are more fun.

Obviously, these are just first impressions. Their narcissistic tendencies are usually discovered early on and are immediately rejected.

Few people deal with a friend who takes advantage of them and who is self-centered, arrogant and an authoritarian.

The paradox of narcissists

There are many paradoxes in narcissistic behavior and the way they operate. Psychological research raised some questions we tried to answer:

  • Why do narcissistic people continue to behave selfishly, even though they know they can ruin their relationship with others?
  • Why do narcissists tend to underestimate others when they go from being admired to being rejected?
  • Why don’t narcissists know how to identify when it’s time to stop their behavior before they are abandoned?
narcissism and ego

The first two questions can be partially explained by considering that this behavior is, at first, appealing to others.

For narcissists, behaving selfishly causes the admiration of others, making them dependent.

On the other hand, underestimating those who reject them is a way of hiding that they are already looking for other “victims” of worship.

Besides, there is the reason for which the narcissist does not detect when it is time to stop before losing their partner or their friends: the attraction generated in people cannot last too long. Whoever wants to criticize this narcissistic attitude flees before facing them.

Narcissists and reality shows: a perfect marriage

The best showcase for narcissists, today, is a reality show. This study clearly demonstrates why narcissists are the perfect contestants for these programs:

They immediately capture our attention and sympathy with their behavior and self-confidence. Moreover, they are bold and arrogant.

Later, when we get to discover their true nature, we tend to despise them. All of these feelings cause us to be unable to take our eyes off the screen.

By applying the lessons of this study, it can be said that there is no need to encourage narcissistic people by paying attention or provoking them.

They cannot only cause us harm but can also inexorably keep us locked in the vicious circle of attraction and rejection.