Why Narcissists Are So Damn Attractive Despite Being Totally Toxic

If you’ve ever dated a narcissist before, you know all too well how draining and toxic they can be. You probably vowed to yourself to never get involved with such a self-centered, inconsiderate, and downright insufferable person again, and that’s fair enough. However, you shouldn’t blame yourself for falling for them in the first place — narcissists are often incredibly attractive in ways that make them hard to resist.

  1. They’re full of confidence and charisma. Narcissists are generally self-assured, assertive, and not afraid to go after what they want. If you’ve been with people who are insecure or needy, someone with such a strong sense of self is not just refreshing, they’re downright hot. They know they’ve got it, and that certainty is sexy.
  2. They exude an aura of mystery. In the initial stages of a relationship, narcissists purposely cultivate a sense of mystery to intrigue you and reel you in. They’re aloof, unpredictable, and seem to be totally laid-back in ways that seem alien (especially when you’re freaking out because you really like them). You often end up feeling like you can’t figure them out, and the desire to do so pulls you in.
  3. They’re experts at flattery and seduction. This is one of the biggest reasons narcissists are so attractive. They will stop at nothing to make you putty in the palm of their hands. They may shower you with attention or love bomb you (when it’s convenient for them, of course), and they’re also usually great in bed. No wonder it’s so easy to fall for them.
  4. They seem like the ideal partners on paper. Initially, narcissists can trick you into thinking they’re the partner you’ve been waiting for forever. They do everything right, tell you exactly what you want to hear, and just seem perfect. You find yourself wondering where this person has been all your life, and you don’t realize until way too late that they’re not your dream person, they’re a total nightmare.
  5. They have a dominant and powerful presence. One of the things that make narcissists so attractive is the way they carry themselves. You notice them when they walk into a room because they just have presence. That confidence I mentioned earlier is a big part of that — swagger, rizz, whatever you want to call it, they have it in spades.
  6. They’re the life of every party. Narcissists always manage to have a pretty stellar social life. Because they’re so good at charming people, they end up being pretty popular and very well-liked. Of course, you don’t realize that most of their “friends” are really more like acquaintances who have no idea what they’re really like below the surface. And until you do realize that, you think their likability makes them hotter. You’re only human, after all.
  7. They’re incredibly intense and passionate. Because narcissists are so intent on getting under your skin, they tend to be pretty intense. Everything with them is dramatic, over-the-top, and passionate to a degree you’re likely unfamiliar with. This is pretty hot, especially when you’re used to dating people who acted like they couldn’t care less. As a result, you let your guard down and allow yourself to be swept away. Sadly, the fairy tale doesn’t last long.
  8. They’re spontaneous and adventurous. Narcissists get bored very easily, so they’re always desperate for excitement and novelty. On the plus side, this makes them really adventurous and spontaneous and means they’re always up for a good time. If you’re someone who loves trying new things or needs a high-energy partner who’s a lot of fun, you’ll find a narcissist attractive because they fit that to a T… at least for a while!
  9. They know how to reel you in with their stories. Narcissists can be excellent storytellers because they’re all about intense detail and a whole lot of embellishment. It’s not uncommon to discover that a story (or most stories) they told was 99% BS, but in the moment, they sure can spin a yarn. This ability to narrate and engage is a ridiculously attractive quality, and you can’t help but be drawn in by it.
  10. They present a major challenge. Let’s be real, this is one of the biggest things that makes narcissists so attractive to so many. Even when you get past all the smoke and mirrors and begin to realize what a truly hot mess this person is, you might be tempted to stay because you see it as a challenge. In your eyes, they just need the right person to come along to show them the error of their ways so they can change them and become the partner you always imagined them to be. I shouldn’t have to tell you this is a mistake, and it’s a lesson you won’t want to learn the hard way.
Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill