Email might give you some clue, but odds are good he or she is on best behavior so you won’t see the signs.
Phone might give you some clue, but odds are good that he or she is on best behavior so you won’t see the signs.
That said, here are some pink flags that will probably turn into flaming red flags if you’re interacting with an NPD:
1. There’s a lot of use of “I” and “me.”
2. She or he states they feel completely comfortable with you; like they’ve known you for years.
3. You feel completely comfortable, like you’ve known this person for years. Odds are you have – in your last relationship or marriage, through a parent, or even through friends you might have.
4. There is a great deal of emphasis on this person’s accomplishments followed by self-deprecating “humor.” (fishing trips)
5. The individual seems to present as a victim of circumstance.
6. The individual will be all OVER you in email and phone.
7. The individual will rush you; he or she will make statements that lead you to believe they’ve developed a serious interest in you. (you haven’t even met yet, remember?)
8. If you have to reschedule your first meeting due to a legitimate conflict in your schedule the individual pushes you to meet them on the original day, anyway.
9. The individual’s profile reads like “extreme” goodness, empathy, compassion, etc. He or she has “extreme” interests, and their listed interests have more extreme high-brow and obscure literature, film and music references than you would expect.
10. The first email from the individual isn’t introductory, rather; the person has zeroed in on only one aspect of your profile and then proceeded to ask questions as though they are an expert on the subject.
11. The individual shrugs off your opinions, or becomes argumentative. Usually up front, they will shrug off your commentary and very adroitly and charmingly turn the conversation back around to themselves. This is a sign they don’t want to hear about you.
12. There is little flow to the conversation. Your input is generally negated (but in a passive and gentle manner – for now!).
13. When you ask a tough question, they won’t answer it. The subject will be changed.
14. Most importantly: Listen. You will hear yourself being repeated back to you. What you think is warm, loving, giving, compassionate, witty, or socially graceful conversation will likely be the N pulling from the storehouse of information he or she already has about you. They are very perceptive people, superficially. They have to be, since they can display no emotion that is truly theirs other than rage. You will find this person wonderful because you are being reflected back at you. The N has no capacity for empathy and has no real feelings of his or her own. The wonderful person you think you are talking to is yourself.
There are more flags, but this is enough for now.
Remember – READ those profiles. Get a friend to read them with you, particularly if you are contacted by someone who is easy on the eyes, charming, witty, and does NOT send an introductory email – but sends one zeroing in on only one aspect of your profile. Anyone who is truly interested in YOU will comment on most, if not all, the aspects of your profile that they found admirable or interesting. They will send a well-thought-out and well-written email, not:
“Ay! Do you do large metal sculpture in the style of (someone they’ve searched on Wiki)? Are you familiar with (something they’ve searched on Wiki).”
Beware of any email that begins “Ay!” (snort!)