Narcissists, or people who have been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder have certain personality traits in common: grandiosity, or an inflated sense of their own self importance, unfounded beliefs that they are ultra powerful (or beautiful or important), groundless beliefs that they are better than other people in one or more ways, a belief that they are entitled to special treatment, a tendency to exploit and take advantage of the people around them, a profound or even pathological lack of empathy (the ability to put themselves in the shoes of other people), and a conceited, pompous, "full of themselves" manner.

Things You Will Need

You will need a deep desire to steer clear of narcissists.

Step 1

Everyone has encountered some narcissists, but what are the best ways to avoid them? Well, if you notice someone with any of the unappealing personality traits described above, that is someone to steer clear of, to the very best of your ability. There is no need to be rude (even if they are rude to you, as some narcissists are prone to be). Just find ways to remove yourself from their presence. (It's okay to make up excuses as long as they sound legitimate and as long as you make them in a polite way.)

Step 2

Sometimes it's not quite so easy to avoid the narcissists in your midst. For instance, if you work for a narcissist or if one of your colleagues is a narcissist, there is no way for you to avoid such people completely. But what you can do is limit the amount of contact you have with them (as much as you are able).

Step 3

You can also make a serious effort to "set the terms" of your interactions with those narcissists that you can't avoid completely. In other words, if you work with one, you can make sure that every single conversation you have with this person revolves completely around specific work matters. If a narcissistic co-worker tries his hardest to steer the conversation in a different direction (perhaps to his favorite topic of all: himself), then just gently steer the conversation back to the work topic by ignoring his interjections and returning to the subject at hand.

Step 4

In addition to limiting the amount of time you spend with narcissists that you can't avoid completely and setting the terms or ground rules when you must spend time with them, be aware that it is nearly impossible to "change" someone who suffers from narcissistic personality disorder because to a certain extent they may just be "hard-wired" that way.

It is particularly ill advised to become romantically involved with a narcissist. Sometimes people are under the mistaken impression that they can "help" or "rescue" or "save" narcissists from themselves. But here is an unfortunate newsflash: most narcissists have no desire to change. They like themselves just the way they are. Indeed they love themselves just the way they are, and they imagine that everyone else loves them just the way they are as well. So, whenever possible, steer clear of narcissists!

Tips & Warnings

Avoid people who are bad for you is an important step in safeguarding your own mental health and emotional well-being. Of course, there are times when you can't avoid such individuals. For instance, if you have a colleague who struggles with these issues and you have no intention of leaving your job, you will need to be around that person from time to time. Just do your best to limit your time spent with such people.