How to tell if someone is a narcissist with one simple question

Narcissism is a personality disorder that is characterised by a preoccupation with one’s own image, and a need for admiration from others. They tend not to understand other people’s feelings, and seek personal gratification at any cost.

If you know someone who displays these traits, you may have wondered if they could be officially defined as a narcissist. But you don’t need them to fill out a questionnaire in order to define them. The easiest way to find out is just to go ahead and ask them.

In a study published in the journal PLOS ONE in 2014, researchers found that you can ask one simple question to work out whether you are dating a narcissist.

All you need to ask is ‘To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement: I am a narcissist.’ The researchers suggest that you can also give them a helpful definition of narcissism, which apparently helps them to identify their behaviour as such. So you could add that ‘the word ‘narcissist’ means egotistical, self-focused, and vain.’ 

The way that a narcissist views the world means that they are more likely to say that they do agree with this, as they don’t see that this behaviour is negative. 

The research backs it up by showing the results were the same when cross checked with longer surveys to determine narcissism (such as a ten or even forty question surveys that exist to find the same result). The results mean that the one-question survey can be used when time is an issue or the number of questions is limited. Ideal for data analysts, but also very useful for everyday folk that want to know whether someone is worth spending any more time with. 

Have you got anyone in mind that you would like to ask this question?

This article was written in partnership with Over60.