Are extraverts narcissists and what about introverts?

Last updated May 12, 2022 | Linked personality traits

Are extraverts narcissists and what about introverts?

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Is being an extreme extrovert, the same as being a narcissist, as many people have suggested?  Can you have an introverted narcissist? Is Narcissism a trait linked with extraversion?

Extroverts often don’t understand introversion, tending to assume company (especially theirs) is always better than no company, where introverts tend to enjoy alone time.  The more extravert somebody is the less they tend to imagine why someone would need to be alone.

Narcissism: A trait linked with extraversion?

Narcissism is a trait, often linked with high extraversion. However, to say extroverts are narcissists is no more true saying all introverts are shy.

Narcissists crave recognition and admiration which some see as part of extraversion, hence why some people link extraversion and narcissism. Narcissists tend to assertive (bordering on aggressive?) behaviour in promoting their own interests (their interests, often not the same as the business interests). It doesn’t sound unlike many extraverts so far!

Narcissists are highly competitive and put down rivals; responses tend to be more personal than business oriented.

Narcissists often respond in an over the top manner to perceived slights and aggressively to insults. This can make it hard to work for a narcissistic manager, unless you’re happy to always let them know how wonderful they are.

Wanting others to like you

Narcissists know they’re special and want others to know it too. It’s always good when others to like us, but narcissists go beyond this, actively seeking admiration (they normally call it the respect they’re due). Identifying a narcissist can get more complicated in business when one overlays a need to market oneself (either to get business, or promotion).

All business owners should be looking to market their skills and using the testimony of others (‘admiration’) to do so, but those who take it to extreme often alienate others.

Psychology Today discusses the ‘interpersonal circumplex’ model which looks at two dimensions of interpersonal behaviour:

  • agency  – getting ahead and attaining social status.
  • communion  – getting along with others and maintaining warm relationships.

Narcissists tend to be high in agency and low in communion (Furnham, Richards, & Paulhus, 2013). Going further most definitions of narcissism include phrases like (arrogant, self-centred, manipulative, need for admiration and demanding).

How about an introverted narcissist?

It’s possible to be an introverted narcissist. Wanting to get ahead and attain social status (high agency), plus not good at maintaining warm relationships (low communion) could be linked with a preference to think internally and not being keen to socialise, could make an introvert narcissist.

Introversion, extraversion and narcissism?

The introvert/ extrovert scale is not linked to being/ not being, narcissistic. An extreme extrovert is not the same as a narcissist, in the same way as shyness is not the same as introversion, you can be an introvert narcissist.

Reminder for small business owners.

This article started in response to several business owners asking about extrovert narcissism, as they’ve watched many business owners over promote themselves, especially when networking. Perhaps an issue for some business owners is not conflate social status with getting ahead (growing ones’ business) and to remember that effective networking is about getting along with others (high in communion), not just getting ahead (high agency).

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