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Whilst narcissists are known to be arrogant with delusions of superiority, many are also great charmers.
Narcissists learn how to charm because they have a desperate need to be admired. Narcissists need almost constant attention, and they know that if they can charm someone into liking them, they’ll get the adoration they crave.
Once the honeymoon period is over, however, narcissists often use and abuse their supplies. This can cause them to be pushed away, so they need to quickly charm with fresh supplies—which is why many learn to be master charmers.
Narcissists develop a whole armory of tactics designed to charm people and draw them in. Here are some common tactics:
1. They shower us with compliments.
Many narcissists chuck around compliments like confetti when they want to draw someone in. Narcissists know a compliment helps gain favor and trust. Who doesn’t like someone who likes you?
If we listen carefully, there’s usually little substance in their compliments. They might comment on how “amazing” we are but don’t specifically say what’s amazing about us.
Sometimes narcissists go overboard with their compliments and lay it on too thick, but who would argue with an over-the-top compliment?
2. They claim we’re soul mates.
Many narcissists talk about being “soul mates,” or having a “special bond” with us. It’s flattering to hear this—who doesn’t want to have a special connection with someone?
This is an attempt to manipulate us into believing we share a special and otherworldly connection, but in reality, it’s the narcissist securing themselves as someone irreplaceable in our lives. Once they’re irreplaceable, they can get away with more narcissistic behavior.
We’re all guilty of magical thinking from time to time; it’s surprising how this sucks in even the most intelligent people. The giveaway is that they usually spout the same rhetoric to everyone.
3. They say I love you too soon.
Most narcissists know these three words are the most powerful words they can utter. Narcissists often say this early in a relationship, inappropriately early. They might even try to cajole the same response back.
They may ask if we feel the same or act upset if we don’t reciprocate. It’s easy to succumb to the pressure of returning the love. Even if we don’t feel these feelings, we feel guilty for saying we love them when we don’t—this can lead us to convince ourselves that we do.
4. They mirror our behavior.
Narcissists often mirror the person they’re trying to charm. They copy their interests, likes, and dislikes. Some go as far as copying mannerisms, persona, and even dress sense.
They may agree with most things we say and learn about our thoughts and beliefs to mirror them back to us. This leaves us thinking we’ve found the perfect partner or friend.
Narcissists mirror us back to ourselves and we fall in love with a reflection of us.
5. They give constant attention.
A narcissist may charm someone by bombarding them with almost constant attention, like phoning several times a day.
It’s flattering and hard not to feel charmed by it—but there’s more to it than this. Because we spend so much time with them, our whole world begins to revolve around them. We end up neglecting friends and family. We become dependent on the narcissist, which is exactly their aim.
6. Fight for a good cause.
Some narcissists impress us with their ”selflessness” and “empathy,” talking at length about good causes. They may show specific interest in the causes we care about for extra charm points.
Most narcissists talk a good game, but don’t actually do anything. There are many who will publicly post support for various causes online, but don’t lift a finger to actually help, even when they have the opportunity to.
It’s certainly not lost on the narcissist that this helps their public image and helps them build trust when charming others.
Who doesn’t think of someone more highly when we find out about their social conscience or their charitable works?
7. They lie about their past.
Narcissists lie about their past to make themselves out to be kind and caring, like how they nursed their grandparents through their final years.
They also lie about how they were treated in past relationships, often making themselves out to be the victim. They like to make us feel sorry for them, thinking they’re a victim can help us trust them and deflect attention away from their narcissistic behavior.
Narcissists might regularly move from area to area, or change jobs or friends often.
8. They are great storytellers.
Narcissists are often good storytellers; they don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.
Narcissists sometimes “borrow” other people’s stories and insert themselves in. They can tell the same rehearsed stories to anyone new they meet and show what a great person they are.
9. They buy us gifts.
Some narcissists buy us lavish gifts to charm and impress and some go to great expense. They know people feel beholden when receiving lavish gifts.
Not all narcissists are good gift buyers, as they often buy things they would want. Or they might buy things inappropriately expensive early in a relationship. Once a narcissist has someone reeled in, the gift buying usually stops. It is then only reserved for when they want something or need forgiveness.
Becoming aware of when people are manipulating us with charm is important to finding positive relationships that nurture us. We shouldn’t be too skeptical of others’ good deeds, but wary of the deeds that leave us feeling confused, empty, or duped.