Culture

A Friend and a Narcissist

I recently had a conversation with a friend who is certain he works for a narcissist, maybe two. It was very interesting to consider the...
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March 20, 2020
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My friend works for a narcissist.  

I recently had a conversation with a friend who is certain he works for a narcissist, maybe two. It was very interesting to consider the intricacies of his situation, because he is extremely vigilant, perceptive, cautious, and creative with how he approaches each interaction.

For those of you who think you might be in a similar situation, Bernardo Tirado offers four suggestions:

1. Make them feel special and unique – they already feel this way about themselves, and you’re not going to change it anyway, so you might as use this to advance the conversation.

2. Provide solutions – appeal to the narcissist’s sense of self-importance by allowing him/her to be part of the solution. This plays to the narcissist’s desire to be the hero (which they probably already think they are, but they might appreciate your feigned recognition of their ability to solve difficult problems).

3. Limit their options – use the same approach I did with my first child and give them options to choose from. If you tell them what to decide, they will not be committed to action. But if they make the decision, they can internalize and accept it. This allows you to constrain the outcomes, while still granting them the ability to think they are in control.

4. Express your emotions – this is totally counterintuitive because you’re dealing with someone who clinically fails to recognize the feelings or perspectives of other people. However, leading with your feelings forces them, at least intellectually, to acknowledge your existence. This might enable them to modify their thinking, even slightly, to take your perspective into account as they continue to work toward their own objectives and desires.  

If you want to read Tirado’s article, here’s the link:  https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/digital-leaders/201302/working-narcissist

And if you’re not sure whether you’re a narcissist, too, go ahead and assess yourself: http://psychcentral.com/quizzes/narcissistic.htm

[This post was originally published December 6, 2017, on LinkedIn by Jeff Holman.]

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Jeff Holman
Jeff Holman draws from a broad background that spans law, engineering, and business. He is driven to deploy strategic business initiatives that create enterprise value and establish operational efficiencies.
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