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How Do You Spot a Narcissist on Facebook?

a painful appreciationNarcissists tend to use Facebook for validation, posting about their accomplishments including their diet and fitness routine, according to researchers at Brunel University London.

I do it. In fact, I do it all the time. I post to Facebook about how I worked out early or how great I’m doing at my fitness routine.

I share these posts because you wouldn’t think I do any kind of fitness, and because I want to encourage myself to continue to exercise. I’m sort of accepting my body and body-shaming myself at the same time.

But according to the study published in Personality and Individual Differences, people who are constantly documenting their reps, fitness routines and hours spent at the gym are most likely narcissists.

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Researchers questioned 555 Facebook users via online surveys to look at the Big Five Personality Traits: extroversion, neuroticism, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness, as well as self-esteem and narcissism, and how these traits influenced the topics they chose to share in their status updates.

The researchers found that narcissists repeatedly posted updates about their diet and exercise routines, which suggested that they use social media to brag about the major effort they put into their physical appearance. The motivation for these frequent updates appears to be their need for attention and validation from the Facebook community.

Also, these fitness updates seem to receive a lot more likes and comments than other kinds of posts. This excessive Facebook fitness bragging on the narcissist’s part is reinforced by all the extra attention they get. And narcissists crave attention.

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Lead author on the study, Dr. Tara Marshall, said, “Although our results suggest that narcissists’ bragging pays off because they receive more likes and comments to their status updates, it could be that their Facebook friends politely offer support while secretly disliking such egotistical displays.”

While it’s true that constant Facebook boasting and bragging can be annoying, getting social media attention does have its benefits.

“People who receive more likes and comments tend to experience the benefits of social inclusion, whereas those who receive none feel ostracized,” Dr. Marshall said.

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Once again, it’s about balance. The occasional Facebook share about how you finished the marathon or how you increased the number of minutes you spent on the treadmill are OK, just don’t post something about how incredibly fit you are multiple times throughout the day. Think about how you react when someone is always Facebook bragging.

“Greater awareness of how one’s status updates perceived by friends could help people to avoid topics that annoy more than they entertain,” said Dr. Marshall.

If you have to brag about everything you do for your hot body, maybe create a fitness journal. You can relive your exercise glories whenever you want without crowding your friends’ feeds with your bragging.

This guest article originally appeared on People Who Post Their Fitness Routines On Facebook Are Narcissists.

How Do You Spot a Narcissist on Facebook?

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APA Reference
Guest Author, P. (2018). How Do You Spot a Narcissist on Facebook?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 7 Oct 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.