8 Signs Your Friend Is a Narcissist

They're not misunderstood

Christine Schoenwald
5 min readOct 8, 2021


Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

Everybody should come with a warning label that says, "People may not be as they appear." It could help us make better decisions when it comes to making friends and keeping friends.

I've often friended people others see as difficult and realize that difficult can be another word for a narcissistic. If everyone tells you someone isn't good for your self-esteem or is toxic, listen to them or at least consider what they're saying.

I've always had at least one friend who was more challenging than the others. It made me feel good that no matter how much of a loner or how exhausting someone was, I had the skill set to be their friend.

I learned how to coexist with my narcissistic mother; why wouldn't I be good with narcissist friends and partners? I'm not saying I exclusively surrounded myself with narcissists, but there have been several in my life over the years.

Sometimes, I had the sense not to go all-in with them, and other times I didn't. Nostalgia, a history, or an emotional pull could stop me from ending a relationship when it had already served its purpose.

Other times, it would take me until the relationship was over to see with clarity and know that they were toxic, a narcissist, or both. It's easy enough to ignore the signs of a narcissist in the people we care about — they ignore those signs themselves.

Photo by Izzy Park on Unsplash

Studies have found that friends are pushed away by the hostile behavior of narcissists after some time, which according to the Contextual Reinforcement Model, eventually makes the narcissist's friend leave the relationship.

There may come a time when you can't ignore them, and you'll need to choose to stay in the relationship or let it go. Be honest with yourself if you can be friends or partners with someone…



Christine Schoenwald

Writer for The Los Angeles Times, Salon, Next Avenue, Business Insider, and Your Tango Christineschoenwaldwriter.com