A study points out our natural reaction to narcissists.
There's music that the more I listen to it, the more I like it. With narcissists, the opposite is true — the more exposure one has to a narcissist (and their true personalities start to come out), the less we like them.
- They're generally attractive, and obviously take care in their appearance. You're never going to see a narcissist in a stained shirt and torn jeans.
- They're almost always confident and self-assured. It's comforting to be around someone who's so sure of everything.
- They know how to work a crowd. And they make sure they've acknowledged everyone in a way that's warm and charming.
- They have a great sense of humor. Most narcissists know how to break the ice with a joke or a funny story.
The problem is that narcissists also possess some not-so-attractive qualities like:
- An inflated sense of entitlement
- An overwhelming need for admiration
- Extreme vanity
- The belief that they're special
- They are master manipulators
Once you catch on to who the narcissist really is, you'll want to stay far away. They aren't interested in your life, and love the sound of their own voices so much that they don't listen to anybody else (though they're pretty good at faking listening).
With narcissists, it's all about them unless something goes wrong. Then, it's someone else's fault.
Research led by psychologist Mitja Black showed that narcissists are more short-term orientated, looking for immediate admiration rather than mutual liking.
Narcissists are more popular with zero acquaintances because of the charismatic cues they produce. When people first meet them, they thin-slice (making a quick decision about someone with very little information) and form an impression about the narcissist without any further knowledge.
W. Keith Campbell, Ph.D and Stacy Campbell developed a new model of narcissism in which they discuss the emerging zone (involving situations involving unacquainted individuals, early-stage relationships, and short-term associations), and the enduring zone (involving situations of people who already know each other, continuing relationships, and long-term consequences).
It's in the enduring zone that narcissists start decreasing in popularity. As a relationship develops, more of the narcissist's true colors start to come out such as their arrogance and aggression.
Another study by Mitja Black tracked changes in narcissistic popularity over time. The research found that narcissists have an overarching goal of maintaining a grandiose sense of self, which is supported by narcissistic admiration (assertive self-enhancement) and narcissistic rivalry (antagonistic self-protection).
Narcissistic admiration explained initial popularity, while a decrease narcissistic admiration and an increase in narcissistic rivalry over time was responsible for a decline in popularity.
In other words, it doesn't take long for people to find narcissists untrustworthy, and in turn the narcissist's instinct to exploit others (to feed their sense of entitlement) will rear its ugly, egotistical head. And that doesn't exactly help make people think of them in a good light.