Narcissism isn’t a good trait. The word itself means egotistical, self-focused and vain.”Narcissists build up their self-esteem through the reactions of others,” says Art Markman, Ph.D., YouBeauty’s Psychology Expert. “They need to feed on the energy of other people to maintain their self-image and their confidence.”
Narcissism is often the root cause of bad relationships and toxic friendships, as extreme narcissists tend to take more than they give back. Often, when we get philosophical in our attempts to pinpont the root cause of a relationship gone south, we’ll ask ourselves, is this because she or he [insert name of significant other, family member, frenemy in question here] is a narcissist?
It turns out that the answer to this question is shockingly easy. A new series of studies has found that that single best way to determine if someone is a narcissist is to just ask them!Yup, that’s right. Researchers determined that they could reliably identify narcissistic people with one simple question, worded exactly like this: “To what extent do you agree with this statement: ‘I am a narcissist.’?” Participants in the study rated themselves on a scale of 1 (not very true of me) to 7 (very true of me), and the results were remarkably on point—meaning they synced up with a longer form Narcissist Scale that was 40 questions long. You can take the scale yourself, here, or just coyly send it to the suspected narcissist in your life.
Why so simple? It turns out that part of being a narcissist is that you’re OK with owning up to it. “People who are willing to admit they are more narcissistic than others probably actually are more narcissistic,” said Brad Bushman, co-author of the study, which was published in the journal PLOS ONE.”
People who are narcissists are almost proud of the fact. You can ask them directly because they don’t see narcissism as a negative quality—they believe they are superior to other people and are fine with saying that publicly,” says Bushman.So no more wondering if you’re dealing with a narcissist. The next time you’re faced with one, simply ask them, and then help them follow these steps to stregthen—and even save—your relationship.
READ MORE: Are You a Narcissist? Find Out.