5 Clues to Spot a Narcissist in Conversation

Clue #1: Self-centred topics.

Have you ever found yourself stuck in a conversation where it feels like you’re just an audience to someone else’s monologue? This is the first clue in spotting a narcissist in conversation: the overwhelming dominance of self-centered topics. When you’re talking to a narcissist, you’ll notice this ongoing pattern: the dialogue orbits around them. They’ll tell you stories of either the hero to be admired or the victim to be pitied. It’ll feel like the conversation is a stage and they are the solo performer. And this can be tricky when you’re an empathetic person like you and me because we’re naturally interested in people, we’re caring and concerned when they’ve had hardships, and we’re happy to celebrate when someone else has an achievement.

A Book: Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men.

To directly address and navigate the challenge of self-centered conversation, employ the probe and pivot method. This strategy is not just about finding a way to enter the conversation, but also serves as a subtle test to see if the person can shift focus from themselves to genuinely engage with your perspective. First, use a straightforward question to check engagement. Ask something like, “Would you like to hear my experience with that?” This question not only offers you an opening to share your perspective but also serves as a litmus test for their interest in a two-way conversation. If the response is more self-focused talk without acknowledgment of your question, it’s time to pivot. Excuse yourself from the conversation with a polite but firm exit, such as, “I just remembered I have to do something else; let’s catch up another time.”

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