Anyone who's played the dating game has had a particular outing where the person you were meeting just felt off. Something seemed wrong, leaving you uncomfortable the entire time. Or, maybe they were less subtle, and the alarm bells were blaring for the duration of the date.
These sorts of signals can be life savers, but there are people out there who have learned how to mask this behavior, now able to get further into a relationship before showing their true colors. Even then, there are tells, tells you can learn, spot, then run far, far away from.
Dating can feel fruitless sometimes, like it's impossible to meet anyone decent and all the good ones left are just out of your reach. Luckily, there's hope, as relationship experts are sharing this secret technique that can help you find a quality partner.
In the world of dating, where emotions run high and vulnerability intertwines with hope, it is crucial to have a keen eye for early signs that may expose those with less-than-ideal motivations, namely narcissists. Narcissists can be charming and captivating, but beneath the surface lies a potential minefield of manipulation and toxicity. By understanding the red flags that reveal narcissistic traits during the initial stages of dating, we empower ourselves to make informed choices and protect our well-being.
Thankfully, narcissists also have a fair number of tells that can give them away before things get too serious. From their subtle manipulative tactics to their insincere mirroring of interests, there are a number of red flags you can spot if you keep your eyes peeled.
Bringing Up Their Exes Frequently
Narcissists have a habit of mentioning their exes, either by disparaging them as unstable, obsessed, or resentful, or by idolizing them in an attempt to pique your curiosity and enhance their own allure. However, these actions only reveal their emotional unavailability and toxicity.
During a first date, the focus should be on impressing you and genuinely getting to know you. If someone keeps bringing up their ex, redirect your attention to the present moment and distance yourself from this person who seems fixated on their past. If they can't let go of past relationships, they aren't ready for a new one.
Seeming 'Off' While Also Being Charming
The world is filled with narcissists who possess an uncanny ability to charm others almost immediately, as they can effortlessly win over anyone with their charisma. However, there's often a subtle coldness that gives them away if you look close enough. Despite their initial warm and kind demeanor, there are fleeting moments when they reveal their true nature through callousness, a lack of empathy, or a brief display of disinterest.
Recent studies suggest that narcissists may display subtle negative facial expressions, particularly in response to negative feedback or frustration, more frequently than others. These cues should not be overlooked. If you spot these, or if your gut instinct is telling you that something is simply wrong, you're better off running while it's still early.
Trying To Make You Jealous
Studies reveal that narcissists deliberately incite jealousy for various reasons, such as seeking power and control over their partners, using it as a test for the relationship, or as compensation for their low self-esteem. Maybe they openly check out others when you're out together, fondly bring up exes and list all their good qualities, or flirt with your friends right in front of you, all while covertly studying your reactions.
Cut ties swiftly and escape while you can. It's not worth engaging in a fight where you'll never win. A genuine partner that's deserving of your affection would never subject you to such competition.
To read more about this specific tactic, you'll want to read this: Research Proves Narcissists Provoke Jealousy On Purpose
Purposefully Drawing Out Your Empathy
Narcissists will sometimes become fascinated with someone else's empathy, as they tend to lack it themselves, and by watching someone else, they can learn how to mimic those same behaviors.
If they've chosen you to study, they may become captivated by what drives you. They seek to trigger your compassionate nature because they thrive on victims who turn a blind eye and sympathize with their manipulative tactics. This is why they often begin the first date or preceding conversations with tales of heartbreak and personal struggles. Their aim is to draw out your pity and portray themselves as vulnerable. They want you to feel compelled to rescue them, during which they'll sink their claws into you. If someone excessively seeks your sympathy on the first date, proceed with caution. Many trauma survivors with genuinely harrowing experiences choose not to disclose them unless necessary or prompted. A person who genuinely respects your boundaries would exercise discretion in sharing such sensitive information with strangers.
Over-Interested In Your Childhood
Narcissists not only make you focus on their issues but also pry into yours. It grants them insight into your vulnerabilities and insecurities—qualities they will later exploit to keep you in their cycle of abuse. They'll inquire about any issues with your parents or other family members, they'll dig into your past heartbreaks or traumas, whatever will get them that 'in' to your more private realm.
With this knowledge, they're trying to determine if you're more susceptible to their predatory tactics. They understand that victims with prior wounds are often easier to hurt again. They want to gauge your resilience and see if any of their usual tactics will work on you. Anyone relentlessly prying into personal matters at such an early stage is waving a massive red flag.
Boasting About Their Honesty
When someone eagerly proclaims their unwavering honesty and moral righteousness, heed the warning bells. Manipulators often employ this tactic to mask their own untrustworthiness, wanting to convince you that they'd never lie, especially about being honest. Beware the narcissists who pretend to have unshakable integrity and possess the moral values they actually lack. They may even launch assaults on others' characters when condemning immoral deeds while their own actions rarely align with their words.
Those who are genuinely honest don't bring it up all the time; they simply embody honesty and integrity in their day-to-day life. Narcissists rely on moral grandstanding to camouflage their true deceitful selves.
Having Too Many Shared Hobbies
Now, don't get me wrong, having shared hobbies with your partner is wonderful! It's a great way to bond and assures you'll always have a similar interest to talk about. However, narcissists use them in a very manipulative manner. They will feign shared hobbies and interests, even passions or dreams, to force a 'soulmate' connection. This is especially noticeable when they suddenly become experts or overly invested in an interest of yours you've recently introduced.
Once it's established that you 'have so much in common,' the narcissist may try to claim that you're soulmates, especially early in the relationship. It's possible to meet someone healthy with similar interests, but it's still best to keep your guard up a little bit until you get to know them better and can figure out their motivations.
Talking About The Future Too Fast
Beware when someone you've just met starts discussing marriage, vacations, mortgages, and even the names of your hypothetical children. Playful banter about the future is one thing, but extensive planning about decades' worth of love with a near-stranger is another matter entirely. They may lure you into envisioning things like romantic dates to start, then build it up further, discussing vacations, gifts, wedding ideas, family, kids. This is called 'future faking,' and while it often starts during the first few dates, it can keep going and going further in a relationship, continuously making you think about an idyllic future.
But that future will never come. Instead, you'll spend all that time working toward a dream that a manipulator implanted in your brain. Narcissists employ future faking for personal gain, using it to wring whatever it is they want out of you. If someone you just met is being too serious about the far future, tread carefully.
Seeming Jealous Of You
Narcissists have a penchant for surrounding themselves with individuals they consider special. Those who are talented, attractive, popular, or stand out in some other respect. They derive pleasure from using these people as a means to enhance their own image, piggybacking on their successes and, thus, diminishing them for the person who actually earned them.
During the initial stages of dating, the narcissist may appear supportive of you and your accomplishments, putting on their best behavior. However, beware if they ever subtly undermine you, make degrading comparisons, or belittle your achievements. The envy will only escalate as the abusive cycle progresses and leave you feeling worse. A healthy partner will never diminish your accomplishments and will only want to celebrate your success alongside you.
Love Bombing You
Narcissists often won't wait for the first date before deploying love bombing as a technique. They'll shower you with affection, give you endless amounts of attention, and want to talk to you all the time. Their intention is for you to be infatuated with them by the time the first or second date arrives, causing you to overlook their inadequacies. Love bombing also places you at the center of the narcissist's world, hoping you'll reciprocate. They want you to make them your primary source of validation, for attention, for whatever it is you'll miss if you ever leave them.
We all want love, but be wary of far too much love too early on. Healthy partners aren't interested in rushing intimacy because they're hoping for a genuine, slow, long-term formation of a genuine connection.
Fighting For What We Deserve
Recognizing these red flags and staying vigilant is essential for safeguarding our emotional well-being. Armed with the knowledge of their manipulative tactics, exaggerated virtues, and mirroring behavior, we're all better equipped to navigate any sort of social circle knowing we can spot and call out a narcissist when we see them.
By trusting our instincts and our observations, we can avoid falling prey to narcissistic individuals who may seek to exploit our vulnerabilities for their own gain. It is through understanding and recognizing these patterns that we empower ourselves to cultivate healthy relationships built on authenticity, respect, and reciprocity, because we all deserve a partner who values and cherishes us for who we truly are. By staying attuned to the signs and standing firm in our boundaries, we can pave the way for meaningful connections that invite love into our lives.
Trying to find those true connections is easier said than done, but there are techniques you can learn to help draw the people you were destined to meet right to you. This is the power of the Law of Attraction.
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