Strangely, there’s no evidence narcissists use the word “I” more often.
Narcissists tend to use more sexual language and swearing to grab attention, research finds.
Other signs of narcissism include acting more extraverted, being less agreeable and expressing negative emotions loudly.
The conclusions come from a study that tracked the everyday behaviour of 80 undergraduate students.
The study’s authors explain their results:
“…narcissism was associated with more extraverted behavior (e.g., talking about friends), more disagreeable behavior (e.g., swearing), and more sexual language use (e.g., “nude”).
Furthermore, exploitativeness/entitlement—the most maladaptive facet of narcissism—was associated with more academic disengagement (i.e., not attending class).”
Many people believe that a common sign of narcissism is focusing on the self when talking.
However, another study has found no evidence that narcissists use the pronoun “I” more in conversation (Carey et al., 2015).
Still, there are some conversational signs of narcissism to look out for:
- Narcissist are overly dramatic in their facial expressions and their hand gestures.
- Narcissists tend to use a loud voice.
- Narcissist look over your shoulder while speaking: they want to see if there is someone else to talk to.
Narcissism is not all bad though.
It has both positive and negative aspects, the study’s authors explain:
“…while most narcissists (especially women in this particular sample) exhibit many extraverted behaviors that are likely to make a good first impression (e.g., socializing, talking about friends), they also exhibit disagreeable behaviors, which probably helps to explain the difficulties they have maintaining favorable reputations over time.
Furthermore, narcissists are probably not aware of all of these behaviors, pointing to the importance of going beyond self-reports in understanding narcissism.”
The study was published in the Journal of Research in Personality (Holtzman et al., 2010).