Emanuel Jauk, an Austrian researcher released a study revealing that narcissists are more attractive for dates than non-narcissists. I’m sure deep down, non of us are surprised by this finding, but why do we love people who love themselves?
Narcissism isn’t a word we’d normally associate with good things. We think of self absorbed people, who are attention seekers and selfish. Non of us want to think of ourselves in that way. So why is that type of personality more appealing to us in potential mates?
The most obvious reason to me follows a saying I’ve been told by my parents and teachers alike. You can’t love someone else if you don’t love yourself. They probably weren’t telling me to become a narcissist, and yet the traits of a narcissist show just how far self love can take you.
Narcissists believe themselves to be attractive. They might not be particularly good looking by normal standards, but their confidence in their looks elevates their overall attractiveness. It’s amazing how confidence can effect things such as your posture and body language, which our subconscious picks up on.
They will generally be very well groomed. If you love yourself, especially your looks, you’re going to obsess over those looks. People who make sure their make-up is always in place, or that their clothes are always perfect, are going to come across more attractive because they put the effort into their personally appearance. It’s normal for us to be attracted to someone who looks after themselves.
If you notice public figures who show traits of narcissism, they’ll tend to be entertainers, such as Kanye West, or politicians like Donald Trump. They have a strong amount of charisma as well as that ambition for more attention that propels them into the spotlight, and as much as you may dislike them personally, you can’t deny their popularity.
If you add these traits together, confidence, self-grooming, and charisma, it’s no wonder we’re attracted to narcissists. But it’s not just the instant attraction, we’re actually also pretty good at falling in love with them too.
Narcissists often show great skill in manipulation, knowing how to get people do give them the attention they want or manoeuvre situations to favour themselves. You’ll find them complimenting you a lot and making you feel special. It might sound weird, but this practice in complimenting you can simply be their way of complimenting themselves.
By surrounding themselves with people who they think are high quality, it verifies their own quality. This means that by complimenting you, they are acknowledging their own success, whilst making you like them more.
Why does is suck then, to be in a relationship with a narcissists? You’d think it be wonderful being with someone who was confident, charismatic and thinks you’re amazing.
Narcissists have wondering eyes, and very rarely make good partners to settle down with. They need the constant attention and attraction of other people to continue to validate themselves. They thrive on the thrill of the hunt, and the success of acquiring new mates which verifies their attractiveness.
It sounds surprising, but studies have shown that narcissists can actually be shown to have low self-esteem, so whilst they can be confident in their looks, they also need the constant reassurance of it. By needing this, they’re unable to commit to long term relationships and are more likely to cheat.
Yet we often show traits of liking people that reject us even more. If you’re dating someone, you start falling for them and then you tell them you want something more serious and then they leave, you don’t suddenly not like them anymore. Instead, you agonise over what you’ve done wrong, what you could have done differently and you start thinking of them as “the one that got away.”
There’s something strange in the way we want things we can’t have. We want the person who loves themselves to much to love us, because we know how strongly they’re able to love and wish we had that for ourselves. We want them to love us because then it validates our own self-worth. We’re attracted to people who might hurt us, because the feelings of elation from their attention feels worth the risk.
Finally, it’s not impossible to have a long term, successful relationship with a narcissists. In the end, they want the attention and validation, the security in themselves to beat their low-self esteem. If we can provide the love to give them a sense of security and safety, then they’ll be able to mature beyond their natural selfish ways.
That being said, there’s no way of knowing how successful in that endeavour we’ll be, if they’re ready to mature beyond their narcissism, or if we’re simply not “the one” for them. It’s sad and frustrating, but ultimately, not your fault.