Narcissistic friends are those who spend hours telling us about their problems and experiences without even being able to ask us how the day has gone. It is that person who is always late, who always happens the most unlikely things when we need it … It is in essence, a figure that sooner or later we wonder if it is worth keeping in our lives.
Why do we come to establish a friendship with this kind of profiles?
This is perhaps the first question that comes to mind. Now, it should be noted a simple aspect. Many (and more seen the issue from outside) may seem simple that “if I have a narcissistic friend I book him and that’s it.”
However, things are not always so simple when we talk about human relationships. In the first place there is the bond of affection. Occasionally, we maintain for decades a link more by habit; because there are many years and many shared experiences. Other times, we are not fully aware that this person responds to a narcissistic profile until the damage accumulates, until the erosion suffered by that bond is already deep.
Also, there is another aspect. As explained in an interesting study by psychologists Dufner, M., Rauthmann, JF, Czarna, AZ, and Denissen, J (2013) narcissists are, at first, very attractive personalities. They know how to connect, they are enthusiastic and they transmit a very positive energy in that previous phase, when they seek at all costs to connect with someone.
Therefore, it is easy to “fall” into this type of friendships that first attract, then catch and later, when we are already fully aware of their effect and collateral damage, we do not really know how to act. Let’s see more data below.
Narcissistic friends, how are they and why do they act in this way?
We are not going to use the terminology “toxicity” here. This word of popular use and metaphorical sense lacks a clinical entity, and in this case, when we refer to a narcissistic personality, we enter into more complex, profound and singular aspects that are worth understanding.
To begin with, narcissism enters into a spectrum. There are people with mild narcissistic features and profiles that would already present a narcissistic personality disorder. Studies, like the one carried out by Dr. Elizabeth L. Kacel, from the University of Florida (United States), point out that the origin of this behavior often depends on three dimensions: genetics, neurobiology and environmental factors.
Thus, an aspect that usually explains much of these behaviors in narcissistic friends is the effect of an unfavorable family environment. They seek the validation that they did not have in their childhood, they long for the recognition they did not have in the past, and they often tend to repeat those behaviors of abuse and use that their parents probably exercised with themselves.
Understanding this can explain many things to us. However, it is also essential to recognize which patterns and behaviors characterize narcissistic friends.
The point of support on which the whole conversation revolves are themselves. It does not matter that the dialogue starts from something casual, something that has happened to us or a news of full relevance. The narcissistic friend will end up always taking him to his land.
Unforeseen things always happen to them
If they arrive late it is because they have had a mishap. If they have not been able to be with you when you needed them, it is because something unexpected and almost always serious has happened to them, something that exceeds many
ho to what may happen to you. They are those people that it is hard to trust because you know they will not be there, those who are always caught by the unexpected, the most unusual thing we can imagine. With this they always achieve what they most desire: to be the center of attention.
Minimize your problems and magnify yours
It does not matter what happened to you at work, with your partner, with your family. What you have in mind and that you worry about, will be insignificant when you explain it to a narcissistic friend. Not only will it minimize what happened, but what it will underestimate. What you can explain, he or she has also lived it (and if he has not done it he will invent it).
With this, it displaces the attention of your person … to put the focus on itself. You boycott and with it, manages to be once again the protagonist in the theater of life.
They will not be happy about your successes, they will not share your happiness
Narcissistic friends present, in general, low self-esteem and low self-concept. Something like that implies something that in the long run can be very destructive: they will always prefer us to their height or below it. That is to say, they will tune in more with us if we are unhappy, if our ability to achieve is minimal, if we are insecure, if we are permanent tenants in our comfort zone.
Now, when the successes arrive, when we reach goals and we feel happy, they will, once again, minimize each achievement. And they will do it for a very simple reason: they feel envious. They are unable to control that state, that harmful and dangerous emotion, with which they can do us much harm if we do not put up barriers of contention.
What can we do with narcissistic friends?
Narcissistic friends are not good traveling companions in the adventure of life. They put brakes on us, they blur the landscape, they do not let us see and they even lead us down the wrong paths. Therefore, we could say that the best thing will undoubtedly be to leave them at the nearest station and travel thus lighter, freer and with better health.
However, as we have pointed out at the beginning, narcissism enters into a continuum. There will be people, friends who do deserve second chances. Hence, it is essential that they understand the effect (and consequences) of their actions and behaviors. On the other hand, there will be profiles that do not respond to our suggestions and warnings.