Do Narcissists Have Friends? The Answer Might Surprise You

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Do narcissists have friends? Could there still be room for real connections with their ever-bloated ego and constant search for admiration?

What kind of people are they likely to keep as friends? How do those friends keep up, if any? Is their social life as complicated as they are?

We’ll find out in this article. We’ll also look at ways we can fish out the narcissists in our lives and how to heal from terrible narcissistic friendships.

Do Narcissists Have Friends?

Yes, they do. Narcissists may have friends or people who admire them, but these connections are usually not deep.

When we understand the signs and behaviors of a narcissist, it helps us protect ourselves and build healthy relationships with people who truly value and care for us.

Why Do Narcissists Attract Many Friends?

Narcissists can make a bunch of friends easily. Isn’t that strange, considering the selfish nature of narcissists?

Narcissists have many friends for a few reasons. While a few of them might benefit the narcissist’s friends, most of them favor the narcissist.

Let’s look at some.

Charm and Charisma

Narcissists may have a large circle of ‘friends’ because of their charming and charismatic personalities. Most people are easily drawn to that. Narcissists also work hard to make a good first impression.

Manipulation Skills

Narcissists are good at manipulating people, so you might not even realize they’re narcissists. They may seem fun to hang around in the beginning. But, as their character unfolds with time, it becomes clear that they control and manipulate others for their gain.

Also, they are good at finding and using the weaknesses of those close to them. They can tell what others want and give it to them. Hence, they attract friends by skillfully playing with people’s feelings.

Friends’ Need for Validation

Narcissists look like they have everything figured out and act confident. This can attract people who like the idea of being friends with someone who’s successful and steady.

By creating a facade of success and importance, narcissists attract people with low self-esteem. This category of friends may eventually become enablers. Potential friends might hope that being around the narcissist will make them feel successful and powerful too.

Note that friendships with narcissists are never deep because they’re only self-focused.

6 Signs You Have a Narcissistic Friend

Identifying a narcissistic friend early protects you from potential emotional harm. Here are six common signs you can find in a narcissistic friend.      

1.   Leeching

Relationships are supposed to be ‘give-and-take’. But when you relate with a narcissist, you’ll notice that they rarely give you anything. Instead, they just take.

The worst part? They don’t appreciate what you do. They feel like they deserve everything they take–whether it’s money,  your time, or even affection.

2.   Selfishness

A narcissist’s world is all about themselves. Other people’s needs are secondary to theirs. This trait plays out in their conversations–they prefer dominating conversations.

Your stories are just a stepping stone for them to tell their own epic story. If your conversations, plans, or decisions are all about meeting their needs, it’s a red flag.

3.   Irresponsibility

A narcissistic friend struggles to admit when they make a mistake. Apology requires a level of humility which narcissists view as a threat to their worth. Because of this,  they’re more likely to blame others when confronted with their mistakes. Better still, they may downplay the significance of what they did, or deny any wrongdoing at all.

4.   Jealousy

You just completed a project or landed a dream job, but instead of joy, you get a cold shoulder. A narcissistic friend may be resentful towards your successes because their sense of superiority is challenged.

They can’t comprehend the idea of anyone else getting the same attention or praise as they do. And because of their insecurity, they downplay the achievements of others.

5.   A Constant Need for Admiration

Think of narcissists as plants that crave sunlight. Just as plants need sunlight to thrive, so do narcissists need praise and admiration to feel good about themselves. It’s a big part of who they are.

They might brag a lot and be loud about how amazing they are at everything or how cool their achievements are.

Narcissists feel bad when they don’t get praised all the time. This makes them feel inadequate and insecure, which fuels their constant search for external validation.

6.   Silent Treatment

Narcissists give their friends the silent treatment at the slightest provocation. They don’t healthily communicate their feelings. Instead, they withdraw and ignore their friends.

Narcissists use silent treatment as a means of punishment and asserting their dominance. They enjoy knowing that they are so important to you that they can hurt you.

Relationship Between Narcissists and Narcissist Enablers

Narcissist enablers, simply, are people who support narcissists. They contribute to narcissistic abuse by knowingly or unknowingly providing the narcissist with approval.

They may do this by ignoring the narcissist’s behavior, making excuses for them, or protecting them from the consequences of their actions. Thus, having an enabler around encourages a narcissist to act without thinking of consequences.

Why Do Narcissist Enablers Do What They Do?

●     Fear

The number one reason is fear. The narcissist enabler could be afraid of the narcissist’s anger or actions if they express their thoughts. They might have seen or experienced the narcissist’s emotional abuse in the past and fear a repetition.

●     Need for validation

The enabler’s desire to feel important to the narcissist may also make them approve of their behavior. This feeling is often so strong that the enabler might tie their value to satisfying the narcissist’s needs, even at the cost of their well-being.

Lastly, chances are that narcissist enablers have narcissistic tendencies themselves.

Hence, it’s important to watch out for these enablers and handle them the same way as narcissists.

How Does Narcissism Affect Friendships?

Narcissists are so manipulative that their friends may constantly suffer gaslighting and guilt-tripping. This behavior can lead to a toxic relationship where the narcissist dominates the relationship, making the other person feel like they don’t have a place or voice

The narcissist’s competitive nature can also lead to strained friendships. The narcissist may feel threatened by the accomplishments of their friends and try to outshine them. This will cause unhealthy and unnecessary competition. In some cases, their friends may not be able to share their accomplishments because they fear that it will hurt the narcissist’s self-esteem.

Narcissists always prioritize their needs over their friends’. A narcissist may not even provide emotional support for their friends during hard times but feels entitled to special treatment.

When their friends don’t meet their high standards, narcissists may discard them. This selfishness makes their friends feel like they’re less important and may eventually try to end the friendship to protect themselves.

Effects of Narcissistic Abuse on Victims

  • Loss of self-esteem: Narcissistic abuse can make victims lose touch with who they are as a person. One sign is that victims may start to feel they caused the abuse.
  • Trust issues: Narcissistic abuse can lead to insecurity and a fear of vulnerability. Victims may have trouble letting other people into their space, even after they’re no longer friends with the narcissist.
  • Emotional Instability: Victims of narcissistic abuse often experience heightened emotions, including frequent mood swings, anxiety, and depression.
  • Self-Doubt: Victims may subconsciously form a habit of doubting their decisions, as the narcissist often invalidates their feelings.
  • Fear of Rejection: The constant criticism and rejection from the narcissist can create a fear of rejection and abandonment.

In summary, a narcissist’s personality traits make it hard to build healthy long-lasting friendships.

How to Heal from Your Narcissistic Friendship

Here are six sure steps you can take to heal from a narcissistic friendship:

1.   Acknowledge Your Experience

Acknowledging your experience means you’re not ignoring that the friendship was bad for you. You’re taking a step towards healing by facing what happened and letting yourself move forward.

2.   Don’t Retaliate

Resist the urge to fight back–It’ll only hurt you more. If you can’t avoid them, stay calm or ‘grey rock’ them. If you need to vent, talk to someone who doesn’t know the narcissist. A mutual friend might tell them what you said, or the narcissist might engage you in triangulation through these friends.

3.   Set Boundaries

Boundaries simply include saying what’s not accepting and sticking to it. Many narcissists don’t get better, and in most cases, ending the friendship is the best decision. Ending such friendships and setting boundaries gives you the space to heal and find new friends who will treat you well.

4.   Seek Emotional Support

Connecting with others is a key part of recovering from narcissistic abuse. You don’t have to go through it alone. Share your feelings with friends, family, or someone you can trust; this can make a huge difference as they can offer advice and comfort.

5.   Focus on Self-care

Prioritize your mental and emotional health by doing things that make you happy and relaxed. Moving out of a narcissistic relationship can also be a chance for you to rediscover who you are. Be open to trying new things as you grow.

6.   Therapy

You might need to see a therapist, depending on the damage done. They’ll listen without judging and help you figure out how the friendship affected you. The therapist can help you set limits, rebuild your esteem, and learn to trust people again.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do Narcissists Treat Their Enablers Any Differently?

Narcissists might be a bit nicer to their enablers, compared to others. But know that how a narcissist and an enabler get along varies. It depends on the people involved and the situation.

Can a Narcissist Change and Become a Better Friend?

Personality disorders are tough to beat. Some people can change for a little while, but it’s uncommon to completely change without help from a professional. For a permanent change, the narcissist needs to be patient and put in a lot of effort.

Why do Narcissists Seek Social Interactions if They Struggle with Genuine Connections?

Narcissists want everyone to like and praise them. They like talking to people even though it’s hard for them to make real friends. Feeling important and special is a big deal for them. But it’s tough for them to genuinely connect with others because they mostly care about themselves and what they want.

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