Narcissists can be so difficult to understand. That’s why there are many questions asked about them. Some people wonder if narcissists do 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 choose their friends is very different from how normal people do. A non-narcissist would choose a friend who makes them feel less lonely, someone 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 how they choose their friends and the kind of friendship they have with them.
Narcissists and Friendships
The desire to feel superior over 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 the good reputation without working for it.
Although narcissists are not that simple to understand. A malignant narcissist can befriend someone who has an excellent reputation that they are envious of just to destroy them overtime. (See also: how ageing makes narcissism worse)
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 relationship is 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, right? Humans were created in a way that they should be emotionally closer to each other not only physically but also emotionally. Our brain uses emotions such as loneliness and sadness whenever we find ourselves drifting away 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 so smart. 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, the narcissist may quickly devalue and discard them without negotiations. A mistake is interpreted as big or small depending on how it hurt the narcissist’s.
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.
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 malignant. In fact, some narcissists can be very good friends provided that you handle them properly. On of the things you should avoid if you want to get along with a narcissistic friend is to outshine them. Narcissists hate to find themselves in an inferior position. If you became more successful more than the narcissist, they may develop jealousy and hate you.
Of course, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t strive for success if you have a narcissistic friend, instead you should just avoid showing off or bragging about your recent achievements in front of the narcissists who failed to make such achievements. (See: what drives a narcissist insane)