Facebook and narcissism go together like coffee and biscotti.
Studies botholdandnewseem to show that FB cultivates narcissism and/or attracts narcissists.
FB is an ever-ready source ofnarcissistic supply. The stuff narcissists must have. Kind of like us mere mortals must have food. Or oxygen.
While the rest of the narcissist’s world is sleeping, at work or on the road, FB is always there to recharge his batteries. All he has to do is log on and suck up the love.
Obviously, the rest of us want to steer clear of narcissistic people, at least when possible. In person, a savvy individual can usually suss out a narcissist after a few meetings. But FB relationships are by their nature, ripe with the potential for deception. (It’s not called Fakebook for no reason, you know.)
Our best advice: If you use Facebook, only use it as a tool for professional reasons or to stay connected with family and truly close friends. If possible keep most or all of your personal information invisible to everyone, except people you know well.
But if you must broaden your connections, for example, if you run a group or a page for a business or cause, how can you tell if you are connected with a narcissist on FB?
(Just because you are connected with one, doesn’t mean that they are actually a threat to you. Usually the most they can do on FB is annoy you.)
We came up with this (admittedly crude) FB narcissism detection tool, based on behaviors which are sourced in narcissism. This isn’t a proven diagnostic tool, obviously, but it does offer some red flags you might want to be aware of. Of course, a more strategic narcissist might exert far more subtle control over his narcissistic suppliers than our indicators below.
The Therapy Soup FB Narcissist Red-Flag Spotter
If at least four or more of the following indicators are present, you might want to consider going lightly with what you share with this person. Or even unfriend them. If you must stay connected for some reason, perhaps they are a business client or colleague, categorize them as an “acquaintance” and be sure to only post important or personal information to “close friends”.
1. The Narcissistic Facebook Friend (NFF) posts often, but rarely comments on others’ comments or posts.
2. NFF might however “like” or comment on comments or posts directly praising or complimenting him.
3. NFF’s posts often receive a flurry of comments from “friends” but after a few weeks, the friends stop commenting from lack of feedback. There is a fairly constant “friends’ turnover.
4. NFF often posts selfies, but they are rarely spur-of-the-moment shots. Usually they are posed, sometimes seductively, and show off NFF’s best features.
5. NFF’s posts are often grandiose and might be repetitive. She just jetted down to a private island and wants all her closest 4132 FB friends to know this. He gives a play-by-play of all his conquests, work or personal. She changes her photo repeatedly, often giving reruns of favorites, and asks people what they think. He posts each new poem he writes at least 20 times.
5. Some NFF’s have stratospheric numbers of friends and will accept friend requests from anyone and everyone and/or constantly make friend requests. (They could also be buying ads to gain friends like many celebrities and politicians have been doing on Twitter.)
6. Some NFF’s prefer quality over quantity. Manipulating a few eager devoted followers is far more satisfying to them.
7. If compliments are lacking the NFF often isn’t too ashamed to ask for them outright.
8. The NFF asks you for more information about yourself and then never responds to your messages or comments.
9. The NFF invites friends and followers to dis/insult/verbally “gang up” on a person who was or still is one of his FB friends.
10. The NFF openly brags about his tastes, acquisitions, partner/spouse, house, children, friends, money or looks.
11. The NFF “fishes” for compliments by mildly putting down his tastes, acquisitions, partner/spouse, children, friends, house, money or looks.
12. The NFF FB “likes” are designed to impress others. His likes read like a who’s who of brands, celebrities, causes, etc.But how can you tell? One example: He “likes” many trending social or political causes, but is only moved to post about shallower topics or himself.
Photo by Emilio Spada