Why Do Women Fall For Narcissistic Men?

Why Do Women Fall For Narcissistic Men?

Ever fall hopelessly for a man who was more in love with himself than he was with you? Get in line.

According to a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology:

“We tend to be attracted to people who possess the four qualities (flashy and neat dress, charming facial expression, self-assured body movements, and humorous verbal expression) that narcissists tend to (initially) possess…After the first meeting, narcissists were rated as more agreeable, conscientious, open, competence, entertaining, and well adjusted by the other members of the group.”

That’s all well and good, and it explains why charmers make strong first impressions. But further studies show why they’re such bad relationship partners:

Ever fall hopelessly for a man who was more in love with himself than he was with you? Get in line.

“Narcissists don’t play well with others, and this becomes clearer in the long-term. Narcissists don’t tend to do well in long-term relationships, and suffer from all sorts of intra- and interpersonal problems. Paulhus (1998) found that after the seventh roughly 2.5 hour student work group session, narcissists were rated by the other members of the group as less agreeable, less well adjusted, less warm, and more hostile and arrogant.”

So, the article asks, “What are we supposed to do, intentionally go for those who show the traits that are exactly the opposite of what is generally considered attractive?” The author suggests that the answer is an unequivocal YES:

“My message to all those who are sick of being duped by narcissists, assholes, chauvinistics, etc. is to change the script entirely. Girls, next time you go to a club, approach every single guy you see who looks shy and awkward and is standing in the corner of the dance floor sipping his drink too fast. Give the guy a chance who approaches you and isn’t smooth at all but seems like he is genuinely interested in you. Give those a chance who don’t at first display all four super attractive qualities and see if after talking to them for a little while and you’ve given them a chance to open up a bit, if they start to naturally turn on the qualities you are seeking in a potential mate/friend. If they truly aren’t attractive after getting to know them, then you might want to look elsewhere, but give them a chance.”

Personally, I think that’s a little bit extreme. Not every single well-dressed, confident, funny guy is a toxic narcissist (cough, cough), and you shouldn’t avoid all engaging men like the plague. But nor should you be seduced by them. The qualities that matter most in a 40-year-marriage are not necessarily displayed in an online dating profile, in a 15-minute party conversation, or on a brief coffee date. And you’d be well-served to give men who are not so “smooth” a good fair shake before you determine they’re not worthy of you.

One other amusing conclusion from the author:

“I think blogging is a terrific arena for narcissists, if not the best arena imaginable. Narcissistic bloggers can get a constant stream of admiration from complete strangers in the form of comments after each blog post. The blogger doesn’t have to value the commentator or form a relationship with the commentator. In fact, the commentator is helping to feed the narcisstic blogger’s addiction for instant admiration. And comments that are too critical can easily be deleted.”

Um, no comment.

Read the article here. Your thoughts, as always, are appreciated.

2
10

Join 5 Million Readers

And the thousands of women I've helped find true love. Sign up for weekly updates for help understanding men.

I hate spam as much as you do, therefore I will never sell, rent, or give away your email address.

Join our conversation (39 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 31
    Sparkling Emerald

    Sara #29
     
       I am confused, in your list of narcissist traits you list feeling superior to others and fragile self esteem.  Don’t they cancel each other out ?
       Thanks.

  2. 32
    starthrower68

    Karl, I tend to agree with you, but to take it a step further, there is the clinical personality disorder of Narcissism and then there are those who maybe just have tendencies but not a personality disorder.  Based on my interaction with one who is full on NPD and one who just has tendencies, one huge distinguishing factor is their ability to be grounded in reality.

  3. 33
    sarah

    @Karl – You’re right, I just read the synopsis, not the actual article. Oops
    @Sparkling Emerald – I didn’t come up with that list, I located it online

  4. 34
    Sarah

    @Karl – Ok one more thing and then I’m done. I read the article, and its interesting. But I don’t feel like its mind boggling. The study itself that they are using with the 73 freshmen isn’t exactly a great control group. I mean, they’re saying the people  are narcissists like its a fact, when in reality they took a “self-report narcissism questionnaire”. That isn’t exactly the same thing as being diagnosed with narcissism as starthower68 points out. I was just noticing the disparity because from what I had previously read only a small portion of the population would be diagnosed as actually narcisitic. I found this exerpt under US NEWS Health – “This past summer [a study of] a nationally representative sample of 35,000 Americans found that 6 percent of Americans, or 1 out of 16, had experienced [clinical narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)] at some point in their lives. And there was a big generational effect. You’d expect that people who are older would have a higher percentage of having experienced this because they’ve lived so many more years. But only 3 percent of people over 65 had had any experience with NPD, compared with almost 10 percent of people in their 20s. Given that you can only diagnose this when someone is 18, that’s a pretty short number of years in which to have this experience” So about 6% of the population would actually qualify, and they make a great point. The previous study had been of 18 year olds and only a specific group of them in this one class. That isn’t a broadbased study that they’re gleaning these conclusions from.

  5. 35
    Cat

    The problem with identifying a narcissist is that we can all have a bit of it in us. e.g. I know I can be a bit self absorbed and rave on about my stuff to friends, can be sensitive to criticism, and sometimes can be a bit insensitive.
    However to have narcissistic personality disorder means having more traits and expressing them more strongly. When you know you are not a perfect person, when you meet a full blown narcissist you may make allowances for the behaviours you observe. e.g “”öh we can all make the occasional catty comment””, ” I can be self absorbed so if he talks non stop and doesn’t ask questions about me, I have been guilty of that”” etc
     
    However, the defining characteristic of narcissists is lack of empathy. LOok for lack of empathy. Mind you some narcissists know they lack empathy so they will mouth the words they know they are expected to say in certain situations., which can throw you off a bit until you add up all the  mean, disdainful comments.
     
     
    Believing that you’re better than others
    Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness
    Exaggerating your achievements or talents
    Expecting constant praise and admiration
    Believing that you’re special and acting accordingly
    Failing to recognize other people’s emotions and feelings
    Expecting others to go along with your ideas and plans
    Taking advantage of others
    Expressing disdain for those you feel are inferior
    Being jealous of others
    Believing that others are jealous of you
    Trouble keeping healthy relationships
    Setting unrealistic goals
    Being easily hurt and rejected
    Having a fragile self-esteem
    Appearing as tough-minded or unemotional

  6. 36
    Tina

    I just left a four year relationship with a narcissistic man who also exhibited extreme jealousy and control. It is true exactly how they go way overboard and put you in a pedestal in the beginning, doing everything imaginable to sweep you off your feet, that lasts about 6 months, then the mask is pulled off and you are left with the worse nightmare guy u could ever know if your life!!! Run as fast as you can, save your soul and never look back. They are extremely sick really abusive. I have never knew this kind of man could exist. I am extremely grateful that I did not marry him. They are sooo deceptive and manipulative. It’s one scary relationship that will rock your world and damage your soul so bad that you will never think you can heal again. Trust me, always look for the guy who doesn’t know how to pick up women, who fumbled and blushes when he tried to talk to you, because that is the one who will win a wants heart and show her the love that is rare. Not the cocky I am on top of the world better than anyone else guy-b2

  7. 37
    Anna

    I agree with Evan that not every confident, well-dressed man is a narcissist. And not every shy, awkward man has a heart of gold. Two of the worst narcissists I’ve ever known were shy and awkward and not very physically attractive who, rather than charm, used guilt and sob stories to reel people in. They were both absolutely toxic people. Some of the meanest, most self-absorbed people I’ve known have been shy and socially awkward. It’s better to understand the red flags and character traits of narcissism so you can recognize them for what they are, regardless of the package they come in.

  8. 38
    Anon Narc Survivor

    Be careful! I feel head over heels in like with what turned out to be a mask for a full-blown, covert narc: and he was the quiet, shy, awkward one sitting in the corner. I would always seek him out and say hi. I projected all this goodness, none was really there. Once we were together: He was condescending, mean, judgmental, self-absorbed, withholding of affection and even a Happy Birthday. Totally toxic and enjoyed humiliating me in public, putting me down, disagreeing with everything I said, very contemptous (esp of my kindness). I felt stupid and incmpetant around him (I have a masters and quickly made it to management in my company, so I know this was a prejection). So was my last shy guy. So no my “type” is NOT the OVERT narc, I get turned off by that…but even my type, the shy guy, can be narc’s…best thing to do is take it slow, watch for signs and red flags, and wait for the mask to drop :/

  9. 39
    Liz

    what about narcissistic women? Narcissistic men abound, but I’d love to read a post about them. My mother is your classic narcissist. For years, I had tried to define the behavior that demolished her family. In the shinning of her marriage, she was an angel. People all around love her. But no one could fathom her behavior if they spent even a week in our household. famous English playwright wrote a quote a quote that shook me at my core when I read it:” 

    “It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.”

    This is what the narcissist capitalizes on. To the world, they are gracious, hardworking, and honorable. My mother is, in fact, a hardworking and ambitious woman. She is a doll to everyone she meets. Many people know her in our hometown and simply love her. But they haven’t gone past her public self and descended into the nightmare that she created at home.
    My father was an uneducated scum. He was an embarrassment. He had the heart of a hyena. He had no clue how to raise his children, and couldn’t even provide for his family (he was making $250k/year). she was college-educated and a wonderful catch; he forced her to marry him. According to her, she had to marry him because his incessant presence made her give in.
    Her children did whatever they wanted–stayed out past 2 at the age of 12, stole, ditched school. But it was all my dad’s fault. They inherited his bad genes–his aggressive gene, and his dislike for school gene. Everything good in her children came from her. Every negative consequence that was due to her poor actions were everyone else’s fault. The washing machine broke because my dad bought poor quality ones. Did she forget that she washes her clothes one at a time?? But no, she is NEVER at fault. Ever. Her daughters talk too much and are annoying; no one will ever want to marry them.  
    The list goes on and on. Her ability to say one thing and vehemently deny it a minute later when confronted never ceases to amaze me. Our attempts to reason with her and to instill some clarity in her became akin to punching a brick wall…over and over, like screaming but nothing comes out. 
     
     

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>