Dating is tricky. It always has been but now that we know what we know about narcissists, it adds a new layer of concern into the mix that may have never been there before. In the past, we may have hoped for a “nice” or “cute” one but now we look for one who won’t make our life miserable and cause ongoing mental damage for the rest of our days. Dramatic? Maybe, but it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Narcissists manifest in various forms, ranging from the grandiose to the more subtle covert style. The grandiose narcissist tends to be flamboyant, displaying a clear desire to be the focal point. They definitely demand to be the life of the party. Unlike their covert counterparts who conceal themselves behind a facade, these narcissists are more stealth, making them trickier to identify.
One of the initial warning signs to spot a narcissist is how quickly a narcissist proceeds in a relationship. If they promptly exhibit excessive behavior, expressing that they’ve never encountered someone quite like the victim, watch out. This swift and overwhelming approach aims to quickly establish a deep connection, leaving the victim little room to truly understand them.
Another indication is that narcissists frequently label their previous partners as the crazy ones, positioning themselves as victims of those relationships. Red flag!!
When you inquire about the lessons these potential partners have learned from their life experiences, it often elicits resentment directed at their past relationships. I encourage my clients to consider the disparities between their supposedly ‘crazy ex’ and their own experiences. A genuine victim has taken steps to comprehend their own vulnerabilities and the wounds that rendered them susceptible to narcissistic manipulation. They’ve put in the effort to recognize the traits of a narcissist, address codependent tendencies and people-pleasing habits, and have realized the importance of setting strong boundaries. If they haven’t done these things, they absolutely should or they are only setting themselves up for another relationship gone wrong. By delving deeper, you uncover that they haven’t undergone the necessary self-work and growth. Another red flag!
Narcissists have a reputation for disregarding the boundaries of others, making it crucial to establish and communicate your boundaries right from the first date. As you meet for your outting, it’s important to establish a timeframe. While expressing your enthusiasm for the meeting, kindly mention that you’ve allocated two hours for the interaction. If, at the two-hour mark, they attempt to extend the encounter or persuade you for another drink, their response will reveal their approach towards boundaries, potentially highlighting a newly-identified red flag.
On the first date, a narcissist’s desire to be the focal point becomes evident as they make the entire conversation revolve around themselves. However, what many individuals fail to notice are the subtly probing questions that, on the surface, seem like genuine attempts to get to know you better, but are actually designed to assess your potential as a source of validation. It is crucial to safeguard yourself by refraining from divulging personal details about your past until you have ascertained their trustworthiness. A narcissist will exploit every word you utter to manipulate and harm you.
Although it may be challenging to gauge someone’s integrity during a first date, pay attention to how they treat others, such as the wait staff. By actively listening to their stories and asking follow-up questions, you can assess whether their behavior aligns with their claimed values. This approach allows you to determine if their facade withstands the test of integrity.
Don’t worry or feel badly that you may be judging someone unjustly or too quickly – if anything feels off, don’t explain it away. Our gut reactions are there for a purpose. Someone that you just meet does not deserve a second chance to make a first impression. Take your knowledge and let them tell you who they are. You just have to listen.
Watch this short video that quickly explains WHY it is so important to follow Tracy’s RED FLAG check list!