Narcissists can be so difficult to understand. That’s why there are many questions asked about them. Some people wonder if narcissists have any true friends, the type of relationship they have with them, or if they can make and keep new friends like normal people do.
Most narcissists actually do have friends but the way they select their friends is very different from how normal people do. A non-narcissist would choose a friend who makes them feel less lonely, someone with whom they have common interests or someone they get along with. But for narcissists, their desire to project an image of superiority in order to hide their true self influences a lot how they choose their friends and the kind of friendship they have with them.
Narcissists and Friendships
The desire to feel superior to everyone else plays a big role when it comes to narcissists and making friends. Some narcissists choose friends whom they consider inferior in order to feel that they are the only outstanding person in the group. Others prefer to join smarter, successful and more attractive friends in order to feel that they belong to a superior group. This helps them get a share of good reputation without working for it.
Although narcissists are not that simple to understand. A malignant one can befriend someone who has an excellent reputation that they are envious of just to destroy them overtime through gossips and back-stabs. This is common among psychopaths as well. (See also: do narcissists get worse with age)
Narcissists’ Friendships and Intimacy
Narcissists fear emotional closeness not only in romantic relationships but also in friendships. For people to form an intimate friendship, they have to let their guard down, know about each other’s problems, weakness, strengths and the real inner self. For this to happen there have to be mutual trust and a feeling of equality.
Narcissists have an attitude of “nobody should know about my weaknesses because they would use them against me.” This prevents them from ever getting closer to anyone emotionally. They may have many friends and fans but their relationships are usually superficial.
You may be wondering, what is the problem with having superficial friendships, after all you would eliminate the chances of your weaknesses ever being used against you. Humans were created in a way that we should be emotionally closer to each other not only physically but also emotionally. Our brain uses emotions of loneliness whenever we are being emotionally apart from others. Loneliness can also cause depression, anxiety and other mental health issues if not dealt with.
Loneliness cannot be ended by having several fans and superficial friend. Emotional closeness is the only thing that can help someone deal with loneliness. A person who has 50 superficial friends may feel lonelier than an introvert who has only two intimate friends. Our brains are smarter. A narcissist may enjoy the highs of getting a narcissistic supply from their fans, but sooner or later their mind will send them negative emotions when it realizes that there is still a big gap in their intimacy. That’s how our brain works and this happens to all people not just narcissists.
A Friendship with a Narcissist is Anything but Stable
A narcissist’s friend can turn into an enemy overnight. When a friend does a big mistake, a narcissist quickly devalues and discards them without negotiations. A mistake is interpreted as big or small depending on how it hurt the narcissist’s ego. (See: why are some narcissists so mean)
Their desire for always being glorified usually drive some people away. They usually get along with less confident people, co-dependent ones, and people pleasers. A disagreeable person can hardly become a narcissist’s friend. (See: why some narcissists are so jealous)