First Date Red Flags: How To Spot A Narcissist Early 

So you’ve swiped right, exchanged some witty banter, and now you’re sitting across from your new flame at their favorite café.

But between the butterflies of giddy uncertainty and sips of your latte, you feel an odd feeling that your date is not who they appears to be. Could it be that you’ve stumbled upon a narcissist in the wild?

Here’s how to put on your detective hat and find some clues before you get swept up by your date’s charm and charisma.

The Chronic Headliner

People approach first dates with a variety of desires and intentions. But generally, first dates are about sharing pieces of your lives, hopes, and values to find common ground. That isn’t easy when you can’t get a word in edgeways.

Imagine you’re in the middle of sharing a hilarious anecdote about your fur baby when suddenly your date takes the reins. Before you know it, you’re locked in a monologue about their life, with no intermission.

Your date seems to talk over you each time you try to insert yourself into the conversation, and you seem to be more of an audience member than a participant.

If your date seems more interested in hearing themselves talk than getting to know you, it might be a sign that they’re self-absorbed. Narcissists tend to dominate conversations to ensure that the focus remains on them, where they can receive the admiration and attention they crave.

The Relationship Martyr

Suppose every ex-partner was toxic and every ex-boss refused to play fair. In that case, your date could be letting you know something important about themselves: They’re not good at taking accountability for their actions and instead feel more comfortable playing the victim.

See also  How To Get Over a Narcissist? Follow These 5 Steps

To protect and affirm their grandiose sense of self-worth, narcissists deflect blame onto others, deny responsibility altogether, or use their negative experiences to justify their bad behavior. They’re the blameless victim in every bad interaction, and their behavior matches the energy of the person who wronged them.

If your potential partner shows signs of being quick to point fingers and slow to apologize, this could suggest a future in which they’re always the hero, and you’re always the villain, eroding the possibility of trust and growth in the relationship.

The Affection Avalanche

Excessive attention, compliments, and affection in the early stages of a relationship are flattering at first, but it could also be a red flag for manipulative behavior.

If your date is laying it on thick – telling you they’ve never felt this way before, bombarding you with constant texts and calls, and planning extravagant future dates before the appetizers arrive – proceed cautiously.

There’s a chance your date will abruptly switch gears as soon as you’re sure you’ve won the dating lottery. Love bombing is often a way to avoid true vulnerability.

Narcissists hide behind this illusion of intimacy and connection, making their partners more likely to question and blame themselves once the affection stops.

The Compassion Chasm

One of the hallmark traits of narcissism is a profound lack of empathy. It can feel unfair to pin such a damning trait on someone on the first meeting, but the red flags will show themselves in subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle ways. Pay close attention to how they react when you open up.

See also  How Do Narcissists Treat Their New Girlfriends? Better Than You?

Your date may appear distracted, disengaged, or unresponsive, particularly when you have the floor. They fail to ask follow-up questions or show genuine curiosity about your life.

How quickly do they steer the conversation back to themselves? They might react dismissively or insensitively when you share a particularly vulnerable experience.

Your date might seem charming and charismatic on the surface, but has their tone with the waiter rubbed you the wrong way? If so, it could be a sign that they’re more focused on themselves and less on how their behavior affects the people around them.

The Rogue Rulebreaker

Boundaries are an important part of a budding relationship. Making your boundaries known is like sharing your blueprint for a successful, safe coexistence. Narcissists tend to ignore boundaries – whether that means breaking social norms or pushing your limits.

Maybe they insist on ordering for you at dinner without showing interest in your preferences. Your date could pry for your personal information without sharing its vulnerabilities. Along with dominating the conversation, they could invade your personal space without regard for your comfort level.

Their lack of empathy, sense of entitlement, and need for control prevent them from seeing you as an autonomous individual or equal partner. You’ll find yourself being treated more like an extension of your date.

They could push you into uncomfortable situations and invalidate how you respond. “Why are you so sensitive?” or “This is not even a big deal.”

Narcissists may ignore or disrespect boundaries on a first date to test your level of compliance. They need to make sure that you can be manipulated, so they fulfil their own needs by pushing the limits without regard for their date’s feelings or autonomy.

See also  8 Deceitful Narcissist Cheating Signs You Should Not Deny

The Echo Chamber

Narcissists can be excessively charming to the point that you question whether you’ve met a stranger or a complete copy of yourself.

Do you want to have a family? They can’t wait to be dads but have no long-term relationships. You’ve always dreamed of traveling the world. Well, they’ve planned a round-trip for years, and they’ve been waiting to find the right person to share in this adventure.

You’re hard-pressed to find areas where your beliefs, goals, and values differ, yet you feel you have not learned anything unique about your date. This mirroring behavior is designed to win your admiration and approval while shielding the narcissist’s true nature.

Final Thoughts

No one is perfect, and not everyone with a big personality or a penchant for talking about themselves is a narcissist. It’s also unfair to diagnose someone based solely on a first date – when both are likely nervous, uncertain, and slightly uncomfortable. But that gnawing feeling in your stomach is too important to ignore.

The people we let into our lives have the power to change us, uplift us, and also harm us. Empower yourself to trust your instincts by learning about the traits you want in a partner and the traits you’d be happier to avoid.

We all deserve transparency in our partners because truly knowing someone, their faults, and their dreams while having a safe place to share your own is one of the most beautiful parts of the human experience. Guard your experience fiercely. 

Related Articles