How to spot a narcissist when online dating

How to spot a narcissist when online dating

With more people using the terms ‘gaslighting’ and ‘narcissists’, I thought we'd cover how to spot a narcissist when online dating.

I know this isn’t my usual cheery kind of blog but in an age where so much is now online, catfishing is gaining in popularity, and awareness of psychological abuse is being raised, I do think it’s important to touch on some of the dangers of online dating because hey, I want to make sure that all my gorgeous followers are staying safe.

Because online dating does not come without its risks.

It’s so easy to get swept up in the moment. When you’ve been swiping left for so long and finally, someone you feel you are really connecting with comes along, you just want to live in the moment and enjoy every single second.

Hey listen, I’m all for making connections and finding love online. Afterall, I did it myself but I just want you to exercise a little caution in the early days. 

You see, online dating is the ideal place for a narcissist to hang out. Because ultimately, it’s all about what they say. In the early days, they don’t need to be face to face so they can easily hide behind a screen without you being able to analyse their facial expressions or body language for signs of trickery!

Let’s be clear. This is not about catfishing, this is about narcissism and how to avoid falling into their trap.

What is a narcissist?

The term narcissist gets thrown around a lot these days. We generally tend to think of someone who is vain and always wants to get their own way but in reality, it is so much deeper than that.

Narcissistic people will exhibit traits associated with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NDP). According to The Mayo Clinic, ‘Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental condition in which people have an unreasonably high sense of their own importance. They need and seek too much attention and want people to admire them. People with this disorder may lack the ability to understand or care about the feelings of others’.

How to spot a narcissist when online dating

Spotting a narcissist when online dating can be challenging because they are experts at drawing people in. They know exactly what to say and when to say it and can be unbelievably convincing. Particularly in the early days, they have a tendency to make things all about you, making you believe they are literally your dream date!

But, there are warning signs and if you’re savvy, you’ll be able to spot it and stop the interaction in its tracks. If ever there was a time to use the term ‘red flags’, this is it!

Love bombing

Big fat red flag! If you are in the early days of a relationship and someone is love bombing you, caution is needed. Love bombing can mean that they are intensely flattering towards you, constantly messaging or calling, sending gifts, declaring their love, (“I’ve never felt like this about anyone before”), and wanting to spend the majority of their (and your) time together.


A narcissist may try to isolate you from your friends and family. Of course, it won’t be in an obvious way. It could be that they try to make you feel guilty about choosing to spend time with friends or family rather than them or they even deliberately cause an argument by manipulating you into having the same opinion as them. If you are suddenly rejecting offers to spend time with your new beau, ask yourself why.


A narcissist will believe that they are above most people. They may belittle someone to make themselves look superior. For example, they may be particularly nasty about an ex partner or even your ex partners in order to make themselves appear to be the bigger person.


There is a need for praise. As much as a narcissist may love bomb you, they will expect you to offer praise at every opportunity. They will fish for compliments and may become upset if they don’t receive the attention they feel they deserve.


We all love to boast a little, but a narcissist will take it to another level. They will have an inflated view of their own self importance and will boast about even the smallest of achievements. They need to be recognised as superior and they will not be shy about letting you know about how good they are at something.


You can not criticise a narcissist. They will take it extremely personally. Believing that it is you at fault and not them. It could be the smallest thing; for example, you may joke about something they are wearing in their online dating profile picture. To you, it will be a little humorous but to a narcissist, it will feel like a deep wound. They will likely react in an extremely defensive way resulting in you feeling like the villain.

It’s not me, it’s you

Possibly the most important trait to look out for. Gaslighting is real and can result in your mental health being extremely impacted. If you know something doesn’t feel right but the other person tries to make out like it’s you, not them, run a blinking mile!

The truth is, narcissists have many traits but trying to spot a narcissist when online dating can be very tricky. Because you don’t have a lot to go on.

Some of these traits can be coincidental and I don’t want you to walk away after reading this feeling disillusioned or even scared to date online as the majority of people you get to know will be great.

I just want you to stay safe and be a little cautious in the early days. Until you really start to get to know someone, look out for those all important red flags.

Happy and safe dating!

Need a little help to find love online?

I’m an absolute pro when it comes to helping singles stand out on dating apps. So if you’d like to get more profile views, more messages and more dates, I’d love to hear from you.


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