Do Narcissists Compliment Others
Do Narcissists Compliment Others

Welcome to a deep dive into the intriguing world of narcissism. When we hear the term “narcissist,” our minds often conjure up images of self-centered individuals who are obsessed with their own image and achievements. While this perception isn’t entirely inaccurate, there’s a lot more to narcissism than meets the eye.

In this article, we will explore the puzzling question: do narcissists compliment others? The quick answer is: Yes, they do, but the motivations behind these compliments are far from ordinary. This journey will take us through the complexities of narcissistic personality disorder, examining why narcissists feel the need to praise others, and most importantly, how to navigate this territory with caution.

So, let’s begin by understanding what narcissism is and why it matters in our relationships and interactions with others. Buckle up; it’s going to be an insightful ride.

Understanding Narcissism

Defining Narcissism

To truly comprehend why narcissists offer compliments, we must first grasp the concept of narcissism itself. At its core, narcissism is a personality trait characterized by an excessive love for oneself, often at the expense of empathy for others. It’s essential to emphasize that not everyone who displays narcissistic traits has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), a clinical condition that takes these traits to an extreme.

Narcissists can be found in various settings, from workplaces to social circles, and they can display a wide range of behaviors. Some may come across as charming and confident, while others appear more vulnerable and insecure. To understand why they compliment others, we must delve into the nuances of these narcissistic characteristics.

Types of Narcissism

Narcissism isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept; it comes in different shades and variations. Two primary types of narcissism are often discussed: grandiose narcissism and vulnerable narcissism.

Grandiose narcissism is what we typically associate with narcissists. Individuals with this trait tend to display an inflated sense of self-importance, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. They often believe they are superior to everyone else, and their compliments can be seen as a way to reinforce their perceived superiority.

On the other hand, vulnerable narcissism is less outwardly arrogant but equally self-centered. Those with this trait are hypersensitive to criticism and often struggle with low self-esteem. They may offer compliments as a means of seeking validation and reassurance from others.

Understanding these distinctions is crucial because the motivations behind narcissistic compliments can vary significantly based on whether a person leans towards grandiose or vulnerable narcissism.

In the following sections, we will explore why both types of narcissists feel compelled to praise others, and more importantly, how to decipher their true intentions. So, let’s dive deeper into the mind of the narcissist to uncover the secrets behind their compliments.

Why Do Narcissists Compliment Others?

Now that we have a better understanding of what narcissism is and the different types of narcissistic traits, it’s time to delve into the burning question: Why do narcissists compliment others?

While it is well known that narcissists like compliments, it seems counter-intuitive that they should dole out compliments.

Well, there are 3 main reasons why narcissists compliment others. Let’s take a look at them.

Manipulation and Control

One of the key reasons narcissists offer compliments is for manipulation and control. Narcissists are masters of manipulation, and they often use flattery as a powerful tool to get what they want. These compliments may seem genuine on the surface, but they are carefully crafted to serve the narcissist’s agenda.

Imagine a scenario where a narcissistic coworker praises your work excessively. They might say, “You’re the most talented person in the office, and we couldn’t do it without you.” At first glance, it feels good to be appreciated. However, the narcissist’s underlying motive might be to keep you under their control or to use your skills for their benefit. They’re aware that by boosting your ego, they can gain your loyalty and commitment.

Real-life examples are rife with instances where narcissists employ compliments to manipulate those around them. It’s essential to remain vigilant and question the intentions behind such praise.

Narcissistic Supply

The concept of “narcissistic supply” is central to understanding why narcissists feel compelled to compliment others. Narcissistic supply refers to the admiration, validation, and attention that narcissists crave like oxygen. They need these affirmations to maintain their fragile self-esteem and inflated ego.

When a narcissist compliments someone, they are seeking narcissistic supply in return. It’s a form of transactional behavior where they offer praise with the expectation of receiving admiration or validation in response. In essence, they compliment others not out of genuine admiration but as a means of ensuring a steady supply of adoration for themselves.

Strategic Compliments

Narcissists are strategic in their actions, including compliments. They often use compliments strategically to achieve specific goals or to control situations. These compliments are not expressions of genuine admiration but rather tools in their arsenal for manipulation.

For example, in a romantic relationship, a narcissist might shower their partner with compliments, making them feel like the most loved and cherished person in the world. However, this can change rapidly when the narcissist’s needs or desires shift. They may withdraw compliments and replace them with criticism or indifference when it suits their agenda.

Understanding the strategic nature of narcissistic compliments is crucial for protecting your emotional well-being. Sometimes it requires you to get into the mind of the covert narcissist.

In the next section, we will explore how to recognize the red flags and navigate these compliments with caution. It’s a vital skill to have when dealing with narcissists in various aspects of life, be it personal or professional. So, let’s move forward and learn how to be careful with narcissistic compliments.

How to Be Careful with Narcissistic Compliments

Now that we’ve uncovered the motivations behind why narcissists compliment others, it’s essential to equip ourselves with the knowledge to navigate these compliments wisely.

The first thing you need to do is familiarize yourself with covert narcissist compliments and what they actually mean.

Once you figure out the different things that covert narcissists can say (compliments being one of them), you will be able to recognize red flags and respond appropriately is crucial in maintaining our emotional well-being.

Recognizing Red Flags

One of the first steps in handling narcissistic compliments is to recognize the red flags that often accompany them. Here are some signs that the compliments you’re receiving might be insincere or manipulative:

  • Excessive Flattery: If someone showers you with praise continuously, it might be a tactic to gain your favor or control you.
  • Inconsistent Behavior: Narcissists can be inconsistent in their compliments, offering them when it serves their purpose and withholding them when it doesn’t.
  • Lack of Genuine Interest: Pay attention to whether the person seems genuinely interested in your well-being or if their compliments are merely self-serving.
  • Conditional Praise: If compliments are given only when you fulfill a specific role or expectation, it’s a sign of manipulation.
  • Mood-Dependent Compliments: Narcissists’ compliments can be mood-dependent; they may praise you when they’re in a good mood and criticize you when they’re not.

Understanding these red flags is the first step in protecting yourself from potential emotional manipulation by narcissists.

Trusting Your Gut

In addition to recognizing red flags, it’s crucial to trust your instincts and tune into your intuition when dealing with narcissistic compliments. Your gut feeling is a powerful tool in discerning the authenticity of praise. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s worth taking a step back and evaluating the situation.

Narcissists often rely on their charm and charisma to disarm their targets. By trusting your gut, you can maintain a healthy level of skepticism and avoid falling into their manipulation traps. If a compliment feels too good to be true or raises suspicions, it’s okay to take your time in responding and assessing the situation.

Setting Boundaries

When dealing with narcissists, setting boundaries is crucial for maintaining your emotional well-being. Establishing clear and firm boundaries helps protect you from being manipulated or controlled through compliments. Here are some tips on setting boundaries with narcissists:

  • Clearly Define Your Limits: Be explicit about what behavior is acceptable and what is not.
  • Consistency is Key: Enforce your boundaries consistently, even if the narcissist attempts to push against them.
  • Stay Firm but Respectful: You can assert your boundaries firmly without resorting to hostility or aggression.
  • Seek Support: If you find it challenging to set and maintain boundaries, seek support from friends, family, or a therapist.

Remember that setting boundaries is an act of self-care, and it’s entirely reasonable to prioritize your emotional well-being.

Responding Wisely

Responding to narcissistic compliments requires wisdom and self-assuredness. Here are some strategies for responding constructively:

  • Stay Grounded: Maintain your self-esteem and self-worth regardless of the compliments or criticisms you receive.
  • Thank Politely: You can acknowledge compliments politely without getting overly invested in them. Use clever phrases to disarm a covert narcissist.
  • Avoid Defensiveness: If you sense manipulation, avoid becoming defensive. Calmly assert your boundaries.
  • Limit Engagement: Limit your engagement with narcissists if their compliments are consistently insincere or manipulative.
  • Seek Support: If dealing with a narcissist becomes overwhelming, consider seeking support from a therapist or counselor.

Remember that responding wisely is about protecting your emotional health while dealing with complex personalities.


So, do narcissists compliment others? Yes! And there’s always a nefarious motive behind each compliment. And to protect yourself, you need to understand what that is.

Understanding the complex motives behind narcissistic compliments empowers us to protect our emotional well-being. By recognizing red flags, trusting our instincts, setting boundaries, and responding wisely, we can navigate these challenging interactions with self-compassion.

Your emotional health should always be a priority, and seeking support when needed is a sign of strength. Thank you for joining us on this journey, and please share your experiences and insights in the comments below. Stay vigilant, stay empathetic, and prioritize your well-being.

Additional Resources

If you’d like to delve deeper into the topic of narcissism and learn more about dealing with narcissistic personalities, consider exploring these valuable resources:

  1. Books:
  2. Support Groups:
    • Joining local or online support groups for individuals dealing with narcissistic relationships can provide a safe space to share experiences and gain support from others who have faced similar challenges.
  3. Therapy and Counseling:
    • Consider seeking professional therapy or counseling if you are navigating a challenging relationship with a narcissist. A qualified therapist can provide personalized guidance and strategies for coping.

Remember, knowledge and support are your allies when dealing with narcissistic personalities. These resources can offer valuable insights and assistance on your journey to understanding and effectively managing these complex relationships.