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The word 'narcissist' gets thrown around a lot to describe people who might come across as irritating, arrogant or argumentative.

But narcissism actually only affects between 0.5 and1 per cent of the population. So, spotting a real narcissist can be harder than you think.

Whilst you should, therefore, leave a diagnosis to a professional, here are some of the telltale signs that can help you identify narcissism whether in a friend, a partner or yourself.

They lack empathy

For example, narcissists may fail to show any interest in other people's lives or zone out when the conversation is not about them.

This means narcissists are often bad listeners: instead of listening in conversation, they wait to speak.

A grandiose personality

Narcissists have an exaggerated sense of self-importance and superiority, which helps them stand out from the pack.

However, with this self-importance comes fragility.

Eddie Brummelman, a fellow at Stanford University, told Psychology Today:

Narcissists feel superior to others.

But they are not necessarily satisfied with themselves as a person. 

In fact, losses and failures may knock narcissists particularly badly as it confronts them with their own vulnerability.

They seek admiration

Narcissists want people to gush over them and shower them with compliments in order to fulfil their need for validation.

Mitja D. Back, a psychologist at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, said:

Seeking admiration is like a drug for narcissists. 

In the long run it becomes difficult because others won't applaud them, so they always have to search for new acquaintances from whom they get the next fix.

They are status-driven

Narcissists crave leadership, control and situations where they can impress others without having to cooperate.

Scott Barry Kaufman wrote for Psychology Todaythat narcissists look for:

Leadership situations where they can dazzle and dominate others without having to cooperate or suffer the consequences of a bad reputation.

HT Business Insider

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