How to Avoid Dating a Narcissist

Unfortunately, if you are looking for someone to date, it can be hard to completely avoid narcissists. Narcissists, for the most part, have spent their whole lives learning to be charming, and they almost effortlessly draw people in. Rather than trying to avoid them and beating yourself up when you fall for one, you need a way of identifying narcissistic behaviour and shutting it down when you do.

Here are some tips to help you:

1. Be aware of the symptoms of narcissism.

The symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder can vary depending on the person. However, there are key symptoms to watch for if you want to avoid getting into a relationship with a narcissist.

In particular, look for bragging -- if the other person always seems to be talking about how they are better than everyone else, that is a clue that they may be a narcissist. Also, look for defensiveness. Narcissists hate to admit they are wrong, and they are great at blaming their mistakes on other people.

For example, if your new boyfriend picks you up an hour late for your date, look at what happens when you tell him that you don't appreciate that behaviour. Does he sincerely apologise, or does he jump to rage and found some reason that it is your fault? If the latter, he is likely a narcissist.

2. Create firm boundaries.

If you've been in a relationship with a narcissist before, you know how hard it can be. They can be extremely controlling and emotionally abusive, and they often run hot and cold. One minute, they may be professing their love to you and extolling your virtues, and the next minute, they may be telling you what a loser you are.

To avoid this reality, you need firm boundaries. Be honest with yourself about what you don't like about narcissism and what constitutes a relationship "deal breaker". For example, your line may be emotional abuse or it could be picking you up late (and getting angry and defensive about it) more than once.

3. Identify why you are attracted to narcissists.

In addition to creating boundaries, create some self awareness and figure out why you may be attracted to a narcissist. Do you see love through a similar lens? For example, many people create their working definition of love based on their early childhood experiences. If you had parents who shamed you a lot or who yelled at you a lot, you may be innately drawn to this type of narcissistic behaviour.

To clarify this last issue, you may want to speak with a psychologist or seek counselling.