To understand well if narcissists are capable of forming true friendships, the kind of people they like as friends, and why some narcissists choose to become loners, let me first briefly explain how narcissists view the world. While each narcissist is different and unique, what all narcissists have in common is that they not only have an intense desire to achieve superiority but they also strive to make sure that other people see them as superior beings.
This desire for superiority does not just affect their romantic relationships, their friendships, and their personality but it also affects every life area of the narcissist including insignificant things such as their driving style. Have you ever come across someone who will hardly allow someone to overtake them on the road while driving?
While it’s wrong to assume that every person who doesn’t like to be overtaken on the road is a narcissist, when a person has a big ego they do not only believe that they are better than other people but they also fight anything that may prove otherwise. In this case, being bypassed by another driver would mean that the other driver is better than them.
Narcissists and friendships
Normal people usually make friends with people who have the same interests as them, people who will make them feel less lonely, and people who will make them feel good. On the other hand, the desire to become superior greatly affects how narcissists make friends. As I said, narcissists are different and the type of narcissism a person has will determine what kind of friends they will need. For example, some narcissists try to achieve superiority by putting other people down. This kind of narcissist will be afraid of anyone who seems superior to them. Therefore they will only want a friend whom they perceive as inferior.
On the contrary, some narcissists try to achieve superiority by associating themselves with a “superior” group. These narcissists will befriend someone they perceive as more successful, attractive, or popular than them.
Narcissists who don’t have friends
There are also other types of narcissists who don’t seem to be interested in making friends. They like to be alone and put no effort in making friends. You may be thinking that these narcissists are mature, emotionally strong, and don’t need someone to help them feel good but that’s not true.
These narcissists are actually full of insecurities and lack social skills needed to make friends. Also called covert narcissists, these narcissists usually have other psychological problems such as social anxiety and low self-esteem. (See: are covert narcissists delusional).
Like other narcissists, these narcissists also have an intense desire to become superior and project an image of superiority but since they believe that they are very far from becoming superior, they choose to hide themselves and make sure that no one will see their perceived inferiority. Being friends with someone means that they will know more about you, your flaws, and your secrets. This makes some narcissists dread friendships.
Fear of closeness prevents narcissists from having quality friendships
For two people to have quality friendship they must get emotionally closer. This means that they will know about each other’s secrets, fears, problems, and flaws. When there’s absence of this emotional closeness, the person feels lonely despite having a lot of friends.
Narcissists are usually afraid of emotional closeness not only in friendships but also in romantic relationships. As I said, this is because narcissists are obsessed with projecting an image of superiority, letting someone else know about their true self feels so uncomfortable. For this reason, even if a narcissist may be so social and outgoing, they will always suffer from loneliness because of the absence of emotional closeness. See: do narcissists love their children?
How to Handle a Narcissistic Friend
The first thing you should do if you have a narcissistic friend is to understand them. Not all narcissists are bad people. In fact, some narcissists can be very good friends provided that you handle them properly. One of the things you should avoid if you want to get along with a narcissistic friend is to make them feel unimportant. Narcissists hate to find themselves in an inferior position.
Criticizing them, disrespecting them in public or even outshining them are some of the things that can make a narcissist feel inferior. In my post: are narcissists insecure or confident, I said that the more insecure a narcissist is, the more they become mean and jealous of others.