Are They A Narcissist Or Just Annoying? How To Tell

It’s easy to overuse the word “narcissist.” If someone puts their needs before yours or criticizes you while begging themselves up, you might quickly label them a narcissist, but are they really? Here are 15 ways to tell the difference between someone who’s annoying and someone who actually has this personality disorder.

1. Narcissists don’t ever agree to disagree, whereas annoying people can be more open.

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Narcissists won’t handle disagreements or criticisms. They take them highly personally, so they’re not open enough to consider someone else’s views or even just agree to disagree. By comparison, someone who annoys you with their stubbornness will at least consider your opinion.

2. Narcissists have intense anger or rage, whereas annoying people don’t.

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Although an annoying friend might lose their temper sometimes, it’s nothing in comparison to someone who has narcissistic tendencies. They can fly into a rage at the smallest thing and it’s intense. That’s because they won’t even entertain the idea that life isn’t going their way 100% of the time.

3. Narcissists aren’t empathetic, whereas annoying people are.

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The thing about narcissists is that they lack empathy. They can’t imagine other people’s feelings, whereas someone who’s annoying will consider what other people are going through and want. They may not change their behavior, but they at least have the ability to get where other people are coming from.

4. Narcissists are always playing the victim, whereas annoying people won’t be so extreme.

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Maybe your annoying friend sometimes throws you sob stories about their life when they’re in a bad spot, but narcissists tend to play the victim all the time. Nothing’s ever their fault and the world’s always out to get them. It’s a role they’ll never give up, especially since they often use it to manipulate people and situations and avoid accountability.

5. Narcissists are emotionally manipulative, while annoying people don’t have this toxic trait.

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Sure, an annoying person might seem fake at times or make you wonder if they’re using you, but they’re not as extreme as narcissists, who will guilt-trip people, criticize them, and manipulate others to get what they want.

6. A narcissist’s self-worth is tied to being right, whereas an annoying person doesn’t try to be superior.

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Narcissists tend to equate a high self-worth with being right. That’s because they have a superiority complex. While annoying people might try to be perfect at times, they won’t go to extreme lengths to be seen as flawless.

7. Narcissists don’t listen to what you say, whereas annoying people do.

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Although annoying people can be self-absorbed, this selfishness is nothing compared to narcissists. They’ll dominate conversations and totally brush you off because it’s all about them. They’ll also be demanding of your time and expect their needs to be met.

8. A narcissist has grandiose ideas.

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A narcissist tends to have grandiose ideas about themselves. So, they might say that they’re going to make a million dollars in one year at their new job. By comparison, annoying people might have some out-there ideas, but they’re more realistic. They’re also open to other points of view to keep them grounded.

9. An annoying person might exaggerate their accomplishments, but a narcissist does this to bring you down.

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Of course, it’s annoying to deal with anyone who brags about their success. The difference is that a narcissist will play up all their achievements with the goal of bringing you down and making you doubt yourself.

10. An annoying person might be a control freak at times, but a narcissist will break your self-esteem.
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Someone who annoys you might try to control you at times, or throw a backhanded compliment your way, but a narcissist will do this to the point of trying to break your self-esteem. They want to tear you down to shreds.

11. Annoying people can be charming, but narcissists will use charm to manipulate others.

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Although some toxic people can be annoying in the way they love-bomb you at the start of a relationship, a narcissist will use this in the extreme to make you think they’re in awe of you – in reality, they’re using love-bombing techniques to use and manipulate you.

12. Although annoying people can be rude, narcissists have abusive tendencies.

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Many people can be rude from time to time, but that doesn’t make them a narcissist. Someone with narcissistic tendencies will be rude and even abusive if they don’t get the treatment they think they deserve.

13. Annoying people might get upset if you don’t have much time for them, but narcissist will isolate you from loved ones.

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Someone who’s controlling might try to dominate your time. That’s bad enough, but narcissists will try to isolate you from those you love. They want to be the only one in your life.

14. Annoying people might shut down, but a narcissist will shut you out of their life.

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Annoying people might struggle to express their emotions or shut down when they have to be vulnerable. They could do this because they have insecurities. A narcissist, on the other hand, will run from vulnerability. They might even shut you out of their life ’cause they can’t handle it.

15. Annoying people might see similarities between you, but a narcissist will think you’re both super-special.

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It’s irritating when someone you’ve met tries to find things you have in common as though it’s fate that you’re together. But, a narcissist will behave as though you’re both special. If you’re not exactly like them, they’ll shut down because they want you to be perfect – as perfect as they think they are. Yikes.

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Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.