Do you have a narcissistic friend? Take a look at the characteristics of a narcissistic friend

Most of us have had practice at making friends since we were little toddlers. We make friends at places of work, through activities we do and even neighbors can become friends. If we are lucky, we have people in our lives that we know since we were young. These trusted friends are still in your life, because they have stood the test of time. A healthy friendship is built on a give and take foundation, and over time there was no need to count favors as you were always there for each other. Some people we call friends are only here for a season (a college friend), some for a reason (you had similar experiences together), and some of the lucky ones stay friends with you for your whole life. I like to look at life as a book. The book of your life is filled with different chapters and each chapter has a different storyline and different characters.

Not everyone in our lives was meant to be carried s into the next chapter. Often these transient friends are here to teach us something we must learn in order to grow. Sometimes they are here to teach you that not all people can be true friends, because they may be so self-absorbed. Now you learn about personality disorders. Until we learn this lesson, for example, the universe will keep bringing unhealthy people to us as if to say: “Pay attention. This isn’t what it seems.”

When someone has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, they need an audience of people that will illuminate their self-perceived greatness. This is where the friend pool comes in and it’s like a revolving door where no one will ever be good enough or praise them enough. You will notice right away that the people they surround themselves with are either ‘new’ friends or fake friends (fans). They can’t seem to hold onto people in their lives and that is always someone else’s fault.

Before we get deeper into the narcissistic friends’ behaviors, you need to first understand the DSM’s Criteria for any narcissist.

The disorder begins by early adulthood and is indicated by at least five of the following to be medically diagnosed as having Narcissistic Personality Disorder

An exaggerated sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
Believes he/she is “special” and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
Requires excessive admiration
Has a sense of entitlement
Selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends
Lacks empathy
Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him
Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes

Prefer to learn by watching video on Narcissistic Friends

If your friend is doing these things you need to evaluate no contact


Narcissistic people understand how to act compassionate and they can be so charming in the beginning. This will later prove to only be a tactic they use to get people into their spider web. A narcissistic friend is so fun to be around. Everyone loves them and you almost feel lucky to be in their presence. At first, they listen so intently and seem to really care about your life.
This brings us to idealization. The cycle of a narcissistic friend always begins with idealization. At this stage of the getting-to-know-you, everything seems to be perfect as you have more in common than any other friend. You like the same music, you do the same activities, you might even have the same background. These commonalities draw you closer very fast. The narcissistic friend wants to be with you all the time, they call and text you so often you begin to wonder how they lived without you. Every weekend is quickly filled with plans that they are coordinating to show you their world. It feels so good to have met someone that is so nice and that you seem to get along with so well.

Later, when you look back at this stage, you will see that you were being interviewed not only for what commonalities you have but also for them to learn your weaknesses. Were you an only child that longs for a sister? They can be her. Did you recently move and have no friends and miss your old friends? They will quickly be the solution, showing you around town, introducing you to everyone they know. Things moved so fast and you were quickly labeled their best friend. You felt safe.

What did you have to offer them? Are you smart? Could they use you for information or status? Are you beautiful, but not more beautiful than she is? Can you raise them up when you go out? There is always something they have determined that you have to offer them. Maybe you pick up the check to be kind and grateful for them taking you under their wing. While you won’t know what value, you have to them yet, in the next stage, you will start to see why you were targeted.

Narcissists get bored easily and it is hard for people to keep up with their demands for attention and validation. They know that after that idealization stage you will grow tired of them, because eventually everyone does. They are always hunting for new supply to meet their needs. Remember the excitement of meeting them and the fun you had; they need that attention always. Because the normal cycle of any relationship moves into a more sustainable pattern, they fear you are pulling away so they begin to devalue you before you can lose interest in them. They will suck everything they can out of you and move on.

Once they have found a new supply, you will quickly be dumped. The things that they will do to you during this stage are horrific and will make you feel like you are crazy. The difference between the person you got to know and this new evil person is in such contrast that your head will spin. They intend to hurt you by any means possible. Once the relationship reaches this stage, they are smearing your name and create false allegations against you to turn other people against you.

The behaviors below can happen throughout any of these stages and they repeat. I like to use the analogy of a washing machine because being in any relationship with a narcissist makes you crazy as you are loved and idealized, then put down, dumped and picked back up again on a hoover. It is painful and confusing.

In this final stage of a friendship with a narcissistic person, you can expect them to become aggressive in emotionally immature ways. Belittling you, calling you names, targeting your greatest strengths, smear your name to mutual friends, ruining your reputation are some tactics employed by them. They will also attack your greatest strengths to hit you in a place that attacks your core values and honor. This happens through a process called mirroring /projection.


Do you enjoy being around them? 
In the end, many victims do not enjoy time with their friends. It’s exhausting and takes so much energy to keep up the charade of playing the game. This is the game of knowing who they are and what they do, but still sitting and socializing with them.  Another tell-tale sign is when you have anxiety before you see them, and you are already anticipating and dreading the depression you’ll feel for allowing them to ruin your night. You may feel obligated to meet them because you do not want to risk isolating yourself from other friends,.

Is it hard to talk to your friend?
Does your head spin like you are being served “word salad”? Word salad is a term for conversations that go around and around in many directions with nonsense arguments that just don’t make sense. Think of Gaslighting and mix it with a dash of confusion, lies and crazy and you have word salad. Do they always bring up things from the past to use against you? Are your conversations blame-game conversations?

Are you always the loser? 
Is your role to never win when arguing? Narcissistic friends always need to win, so by default, that means you always need to lose. Even when evidence comes into play, perhaps you got a better grade or job, expect that they will seek to devalue your achievements. Narcissistic friends will often put you down and tell lies about you to take away “your win”. If the spotlight dances on you and you gain praise from other mutual friends, expect them to whip out an old argument or thing you did years ago. They are happy to smear your name whenever that light shines. This leaves a friend- victim always feeling the need to compete for any attention, depressed and never able to measure up.

Is your friend unable to accept accountability? 
Nothing is ever their fault. Did your narcissist friend always blame you for things s/he was doing? Did s/he leave the dog outside and then blame you? Does your friend blame everyone else for her own choices? As an adult, the narcissistic friend has not learned that it’s okay to make a mistake, because to them making a mistake and admitting it will make them less than perfect. Perfect is the mask they want the world to see.

The secret dance
When your friend first asked you to do something for them but not tell anyone, the dance began. From that point, you were probably covering up so many secrets you couldn’t keep track. If you did tell the secret, you probably paid the price, so you learned it was easier to go along with their lies to keep the peace. Later in life the secret game masks their fails and protects their lies.

Are you dealing with narcissistic friend rivalry? 
Is your narcissistic friend always in competition with you? Competition in sports among rival teams is in many ways accepted practice. Friend rivalry can drive you to no longer wanting to spend time with each other, because it is so painful to live in this role.

Are you the crazy one? 
To make themselves always look like the perfect person they will create stories about you to make you look like the crazy one. This can be overt where they are outright smearing your name and telling people you are crazy, or they could be more covert and be very subtly using tactics like creating an argument to make you look unstable or telling complete lies about you to people. This tactic is crazy- making, because victims are forced to defend themselves against these false accusations.

Do they honor your boundaries? 
Most narcissists are boundary violators and the reason for this is quite simple – they are entitled not to need to comply with your wishes. It probably started early in life where you didn’t even understand you were setting boundaries.

Has your narcissistic friend betrayed your confidence? 
Having a secret with a friend is quite common, but when a friend breaks that confidence you end up in a betrayal situation. Can you think back to times your friend betrayed you? How did it feel? Did you trust them again? If you did, please don’t blame yourself. You were fooled by a con-artist that knew more about you than you did. Going forward you will need to decide if they are trustworthy and even then, you need to always be careful to trust or reveal any information. Keep it light and remember to give them as little personal information as possible so you are not giving them data that they can betray you with.


Control is the key – they must always be in control. Which means you can play the friend game if you obey their rule and, their plans.

Entitlement – narcissists believe they are entitled to everything without having to earn it. This includes your friendship, your money and your time. They believe they are better than everyone else.

Take – take – take – Because of the entitlement factor, they are takers. They believe they are entitled to take from everyone. If you are a codependent, people -pleasing, poor- boundary person then you are a perfect target/friend for them. You give and they take! They take advantage of everyone in their lives and they use them and spit them back in heartless ways.

They have no empathy – because their own needs come before anyone else’s, they are generally uninterested in anyone else’s situation. You are expected to be there for them, but dare you need them in crisis! You can count on ghosting to occur, because they can’t handle showing compassion or empathy.  When you need them, which means they cannot be the center of attention then, they hide until your crisis is over. If they do show up for you, expect them to be unsupportive and passive aggressive so they can turn the situation around for them to get the attention off you and onto themselves.

Grandiose patterns – a narcissistic friend starts out so generous, giving to you and others, or even telling tales of volunteering.  They tell you stories of their grandiose behaviors and yet, you start to see patterns that they repeat the same story to everyone when they are trying to impress. These trophy hero acts soon become clear that they are just for show. They appear so generously giving to people, overdoing things just to impress. The truth is, that while they are using these grandiose tactics, they are harboring anger and resentment that people aren’t giving to them.

Pathological lies – narcissists lie even when there is no need to lie. I often wonder how they keep everything straight. They will lie about their past and every person that has ever been in their lives. Many of the lies they tell, help them paint themselves as the victim, but some of the lies paint them as a hero. A normal lie might be that you only ate three cookies, but the complex lies that the narcissist creates are much like storytelling as they add so many details. It becomes hard to detect where the line of truth comes into play.

Smear Campaigns – when you enter into the devalue stage, they seem to start a smear campaign against you, telling detailed lies to everyone. The truth is, that all along they have laid the foundation for this smear campaign, often by sharing concerns about you with other friends. Casually dropping these concerns about your drinking allows them to call you an alcoholic later and it show others that they were worried about you all along. Don’t be fooled.  These campaigns are not schoolyard tattle tails. These are designed to RUIN you.

Self-importance – a narcissistic person has a strong sense of self-importance and yet they need you to validate everything about them. If you don’t fall in line giving compliments right away, they will fish for compliments to feed their ego.  A basic rule is that you cannot outshine them, so don’t ask them how you look because they will simply turn it around to them.

Uses humor to hurt you and others – it’s ok for them to point out your flaws and they usually do it with a chuckle of humor. If you set boundaries or tell them that what they just said hurts you, they turn their behavior into an attack telling you that you are too sensitive, they were only kidding, or that you can’t you take a joke. This hurts your feelings as you start to see that this relationship is not equal. They easily point out your flaws under the cover of getting you to be a better person. They want to improve you because you aren’t good enough. This move allows them to be able to tell people later how hard they tried to fix you, but you wouldn’t listen.

Unable to take criticism – a true test of a narcissistic friend is when you criticize them. They will not like it and may give you the silent treatment to punish you and teach you that thou shalt never say anything bad about them. Their sensitive side comes out, but in a very unhealthy way. The old saying that ‘they can dish it out but can’t take it’ totally applies to a narcissistic friend.

Boundary breakers – a narcissistic friend will not listen to or respect your boundaries.

Overly helpful advice – over time you will see a side of them that feels like they are trying to help you, but it somehow feels icky. That is usually because they are trying to convince you that the choices you are making are not correct and that you should listen to what they say. It is a step in the pattern of control.

Complaining about everyone – a narcissistic friend has no loyalty to you or anyone else, so when they are with you, they will trash-talk other friends, yet in front of these friends they put on a friendship show that ends up being very confusing to watch.

They tire you out – they are demanding attention and time to do things with them. They are willing to play if you are doing what they want to do after that initial idealize stage. They will not do what you want to do. Your ideas and suggestions are quickly pushed to the side and you cave in to their ideas just to keep the peace and make it easier. Expect them to trick you into doing what they want.

They test your loyalty – and isolate you over time against your friends by monopolizing your time They don’t like to share. The reason that they don’t want you seeing normal friends is because then they will take second place and they need to be the most important. Eventually, they turn your friends against you by pointing out little things they do and then blowing that up to get you to walk away from your old friends. If you do not show loyalty to them, then you move down on the list of chief supply.

You don’t matter – they never listen to your worries, concerns and life events. They are very disinterested and show no empathy to help you in a difficult situation. Conversations always go back to them.

You become the ‘favor friend’ – Can you please watch my dog? Can I borrow some money? Can I go to the concert with you? I always wanted to see that band and I could never afford it? At first you comply, but over time as the unevenness of the relationship starts to show, and if you set that boundary and say no, you are punished by having them pull away.

The jealous friend – a narcissistic friend gets jealous of you and your accomplishments and can never be happy for you. They get jealous very easily and act like wounded little children if a new friend or lover comes into your life. They must monopolize your life, so the ugly head of jealousy comes out. If you wonder where they have been when they ghost you to cultivate a new supply, and you ask them where they have been, they accuse you of being jealous of this new friend. They turn it around making you appear as the jealous one.

Actions speak louder than words – this is true for everyone, but when we are dealing with a narcissistic friend, we can get charmed by them and overlook that they are not keeping promises. Life is a show to them, and they will act one way in public and then back-stab a friend (you) behind closed doors. If they say what they mean and mean what they say ‘always’, they are probably not a narcissist but if they cannot be counted on, you may be dealing with a narcissistic friend.

They are concerned for image above everything – social media is a tool that narcissists use to show the world how wonderful their lives are. They must project an image to the world that they are superior. They like to be seen with the ‘popular’ people or people that boost them socially. This may or may not be your role in this relationship, so you might see them post pictures of everyone else, but never you.  Because image is crucial to their existence. Never tag them in an unflattering image on social media because they will get very angry.

Quick relationship patterns – narcissists begin that love bombing idealization stage with new potential mates to confuse them and control them. It’s the same pattern you saw when they became your friend. Only now, they are pulling it with a potential suitor. You will see people come into their lives  very quickly and the friendship  goes from zero to sixty, where the new person is taking the crown of chief supply. They must do this process fast to make sure that the victim doesn’t have time to figure out what is happening.

Gaslighting patterns – gaslighting is when someone tries to deny your reality. They might deny that something happened when you know it did. They might deny saying something or tell you that your feelings don’t matter or that you are overly sensitive have no right to feel that way. They repeat these falsehoods so often, that you really do begin to think you are crazy and you doubt your own mind.

Angered easily – in the beginning you could do no wrong, but over time you find yourself walking on eggshells because they get angry easily and you never know what will set them off. This usually stops the victim from speaking up, because it just isn’t worth the cost of their wrath.


Learn to set narc-proof boundaries
This means to identify what behaviors are not acceptable. Set a consequence that is something you are willing to stick to. Share the boundary with them and create a reasonable consequence.  Tell them the boundary without explanation and tell them the cost of breaking that boundary. You must be determined to enforce the penalty, or they will learn that you will not enforce your penalty and therefore there is no reason to listen to your requests. Expect them to further abuse once this happens.  Take my “Building Narc-proof Boundaries Course”.

Remember who you are
The goal of this friend game is to brainwash you into being a minion to their needs. You might feel like you lost yourself because you are confused about what is happening. The painful things they say to you are just lies.  So, review them internally.  Is there proof and evidence of the things they are saying to you? Lies and smears get to our core and make us doubt things we know about ourselves. If you can get back to the truth and push away their lies, you will recover from this faster.

Often going no-contact is your only solution
It’s hard to walk away from a friend because you end up feeling like you are abandoning them. They have done bad things to you, or they will soon, so you must protect yourself. Block them on social media, block their email and phone number and cut off contact in every way. Until you decide to take control, they will continue to pull the strings hoovering you back into the relationship as they place you on the ‘b- list’ in case they need you again.  In order to heal from a toxic friendship, you must get free.

Narcissists do not like to play by a new set of rules and narcissistic friends that have had a lifetime of using people as a punching bag will not go down without a fight. The game you are playing now (self-healing) will piss them off and they may begin to jack up the pain and smears. Now is the time to consider going completely no-contact. It may not be easy to never see your friend again because of events that you may need to skip if they are there. Understand what the price of this choice will be. Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder about my narcissistic friend, but I know I am finally healing because of the drama being gone. If you cannot go completely no-contact, then learn Grey Rock techniques to manage the exposure you will have with them going forward. Only when you are free from the narcissistic friend are you free to heal and release the drama.

Never tell them you think they are a narcissist
This tactic never ends well. You are dealing with someone with no ability to care about you and are willing to up the game to destroy you no matter what the cost. This is a secret you will need to keep from them. When a narcissist feels like the game is up, the mask has fallen, and you are no longer going to be under their control Then the game changes and they will do everything to hurt you: the lies and the smears will reach epic proportions. Try to avoid this common mistake.

Protect yourself and listen to your intuition
There is no one that can tell you whether to have your friend in your life but yourself. Ask yourself what types of behaviors you are willing to allow from your friend and be honest with yourself to examine if they can keep their end of your guidelines. Your intuition has always been warning you of the dangers; now tap into that and listen to it.