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DATING ADVICE

The surprising truth about dating a selfish man (or a series of selfish men)

Lauren Gray

Hi Lauren! Thank you so much for all that you do. I’ve learned so much. My question is, what do you do if you’re dating a narcissist? Or in my case, a series of narcissists? It seems like every relationship I start, it’s all about what HE wants to do, or what HE wants to talk about, which is usually himself. I know I deserve more than that. What’s your advice when you’re dating a selfish man?
 
-Rena
 

Hi Rena,
 
Great question. In this blog I’m going to teach you how to tell the difference between a man you want to spend your time with and a man you don’t want to waste your time with - because at first glance these two types can look exactly the same – they can look, smell, sound and act like a “Narcissist.”
 
 

A Real Diagnosis
 
“Narcissist.” I hear this word floating around a lot. It seems like a slew of articles came out on the subject and now everyone and their mother has suddenly turned into a diagnostic therapist. But is this really fair? Do we really know enough about that person to put that label on them? Aren’t we all a little too quick on the draw with labels in general?
 
“Men are narcissists.”
“Women are crazy.”
 
We’re putting on labels when what we’re really experiencing is that men are more self-absorbed than women and women are more emotional than men. These are the symptoms we’re “diagnosing,” right?
 
I imagine you find it unjust, judgmental, and unfair when a man labels you “crazy” just because you have an emotional reaction to something he doesn’t.
 
Men and women’s brains are different and we react to various levels of stress differently. So, your emotional response to stress isn’t “crazy,” it’s biology. Just as he’s misunderstanding you, you may be misunderstanding him. With more insight we can correctly interpret each other’s behavior so that we can have compassion for one another instead of flinging around pop-psychology diagnoses.
 
I say all this not to make you feel bad for using the word. We’ve all thrown a label or two around. I say this because before I can give you dating advice for when you’re dating a “narcissist,” we have to define exactly what we’re working with.
 
 
Is he a “narcissist” or just a regular dude?
 
Narcissism is defined as “extreme selfishness.” This is an actual disorder. It's real.
 
BUT there’s a difference between a narcissist and just being a dude.
 
From a woman’s perspective, men in general tend to look extremely selfish.
 
But let’s examine the source.

 
Women have evolved to always think about and consider other people’s needs. We’ve spent thousands of years taking care of the children, working with other women in the village to make things run smooth and ensure the survival of the community. Yes, times have changed and men take care of the children now and women take on the jungle BUT our brains haven’t caught up to this shift. We’ve evolved to consider other people’s needs to the extreme; these social and communication skills helped us survive as a species. As women, we take those intuitive skills for granted.
 
So wherever a guy is at on the spectrum of selfishness, 1-Average Dude to 10- Narcissistic Disorder, it usually looks pretty “extreme” from a woman’s point of view based on her experience and how SHE sees the world.
 
So, if this is our lens, how do we tell if a guy is just an average dude or if he’s a certifiable narcissist? At least now we’re working with curiosity instead of assumptions. Now we can really get somewhere!
 
 
But he literally only talks about himself
(and he NEVER asks me questions)
 
A man’s selfishness often shows itself on a date when a man only talks about himself and doesn’t ask the woman any questions.
 
This is annoying. A woman’s reaction ranges from bored to offended. And it certainly doesn’t act as any kind of foreplay – I mean, no way is that guy getting lucky!
 
The important thing to know is that just because he doesn’t ask you questions, doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to hear what YOU have to say.
 
It just means that thinking of others in that way is outside his comfort zone and intuitive skillset. And if you’re pretty and interesting too? Forget about it! He’s less “thinking” and more just in survival mode: leaning on the tools he’s used to.
 
You scare him. Relationships and social skills and communication scare him. So he falls back on what works for him in the workplace (his comfort zone)– he talks himself up, he acts like an expert, and he takes charge of the meeting.
 
Sound familiar?
 
This may make it sound hopeless but it’s not! I’m going to show you how to bring out the man you want to date from the selfish man in front of you.
 
This is how you can really diagnose if he’s someone you want to be in a relationship with or if he’s a guy you don’t want to be in a relationship with. That’s all that matters. Let’s leave the disorder diagnosis to the professionals.
 
All we really need to know is – Can you bring out another side of him or not?
 
If you can, enjoy it! If you can’t, move on.
 
 
How to date a selfish man (without sacrificing your standards)
 
As I mentioned above, a man’s selfishness often shows itself on a date when a man only talks himself and doesn’t ask the woman any questions. So let’s talk about 3 strategies you can use on a date (or in a relationship) with a “selfish man” so that you actually have a lot of fun and enjoy yourself.
 
Strategy #1: Stop asking HIM questions.
 
Don’t worry about coming across as “rude.” Don’t ask him questions and then get upset when he answers them in the best way he knows how.
 
Strategy #2: Feel free to interrupt.
 
I’ve seen women on dates looking across the table nodding their heads, making eye-contact, making “hmhmm” noises and showing every sign that they are interested in what the man has to say.
 
Inside their heads, these women are thinking, “He is going on and on. When he is going to shut up? When he is going to ask me a question? This guy is such a narcissist!”
 
You’re giving the kind of attention you want to receive on the date but that just throws gasoline on the fire! Now he thinks you’re actually interested in his 6 month back-packing trip all over Asia.
 
So stop nodding your head and encouraging behavior you don’t want to encourage. Feel free to interrupt.
 
Strategy #3: TMI. (Aka: Too much information.)
 
So he didn’t ask you a question, that’s okay. You have a voice, right? You have something to say, right? So don’t wait for a question to talk about what YOU want to talk about. You don’t need a more explicit invitation than you already have.
 
What’s the invitation you already have?
 
He’s on a date with you! You’re not walking up to a random stranger, interrupting them and talking about whatever the heck you wanna talk about. He’s on a date with you! That means he wants to be around you, he wants to get to know you, he wants you to have a good time.
 
TMI is often discouraged socially. Giving people “too much information” has a reputation for making people uncomfortable. But in my experience with men, it’s one of my favorite tools in the she-shed.
 
Let me give you an example:
 
He’s talking about this amazing Thai food he made with this old Thai woman in a small village who was teaching him how to cook in exchange for him doing some manual labor for her; he’s explaining to you what lemongrass is as if you’ve never heard of it before… and you’re about to stab yourself with a fork just to feel alive.
 
Instead of stabbing yourself (or HIM!) with a fork, interrupt and TMI.
 
Find something within his story that relates to you in any way. Ex: Traveling? Places you want to travel? Places you’ve been? Cooking classes? Classes and education of any kind? Hobbies? Favorite Ingredients? Craziest food you ever had? Random jobs you’ve had in your life?
 
What sparks a genuine interest and passion in you? And then run with it. Let it take you to talk about whatever YOU want to talk about.
 
Will he cringe at your selfishness? No! That’s like worrying a fish will drown in water – he barely notices it.

 
Besides, men LOVE it when a woman lights up. When a woman is talking about something she loves, something she cares about, something she has an opinion about, something she’s proud of, something that matters to her – it is so freaking sexy to a man.
 
If you’re feeling self-conscious about talking so much and you’d like to enjoy more of a dialogue conversation so you’re not just on a date with yourself, here’s how to do it:
 
TMI and then ask a question about the topic that interests you.
 
For example, I like healthy cooking and creativity, so I might say:
 
“Right? I love how every culture has such a different and unique story with food. I’m such a foodie. You know I’m actually a Certified chef? Yea. I used to cater for health retreats. I love how creative you can get when you’re limited to healthy ingredients. Like Thai cooking, right? You’re eating all those vegetables and you don’t even notice it’s healthy because it tastes so good. Secret’s in the sauce. I love getting creative like that. I also really love to write and paint… Do you have a creative outlet you love?”
 
I like family and fun local activities so I might say:
 
“Totally! Lemongrass is cool but did you try eating chicken feet? Those things look so narly at the farmers market. Do you ever go to the Sunday farmers market here in town? I’ve been going with my parents for over 10 years now. It’s really fun and it gives us a chance to see each other. My family is so important to me and I just think my parents are super cool people. How about you? Do you see your parents often?”
 
A note about asking questions: If the answer is genuinely interesting, awesome. Now you’re talking about a subject that interests you too. If the answer isn’t interesting, interrupt with another TMI. You’re not a passive bystander here. It takes two to tango. You’re BOTH on this date.
 
 
Why you keep attracting these “narcissists”
 
Here’s the thing about these 3 strategies: They call on you to step outside YOUR comfort zone and act a little less “accommodating” and a little more “selfish.”
 
Often we attract the very people in our lives who can teach us something we need to learn. Maybe you’re attracting these selfish men because you’re not selfish enough. Maybe you need to be a little less accommodating and people pleasing and a little more self-empowered and take charge.
 
If you try these approaches and he still talks over you, ignores you, doesn’t listen to you, minimizes you, then my advice would be to move on. The only thing you can do is approach him differently to get a different result. If you approach him with these new tools and you don’t get a different result, well then, there’s your answer.
 
He may not be clinically “Narcissistic” but he’s definitely not a guy you want to be in a relationship with.
 
With love,
Lauren
 

read more blog posts from Lauren Gray
  • Jaylan&joan
     11/13/2016 10:16:23 AM
    This was really helpful lauren I've been dating this 63 year old man for 3 years he asked me if I wanted him to check over a car contract as I was going out of the country for 5 weeks I said yes please. However when a problem arose from the car company & I emailed him asking him to contact them he replied "No phone credit & that he couldnt return papers as I hadnt signed them " & that he was going to pass the papers to a friend of mine to sort out ! Iam very angry with him but have not responded to his e mail I have helped this man out on several occasions & didnt think I was asking too much from him what do you think lauren?...
  • Luci
     11/13/2016 8:23:40 AM
    A Real Narcissist on a first date? Is going to be ALL about you. That is the love bombing stage. They pepper you with questions about your likes and dislikes, and they will instantly amaze you when they respond, Wow! Me too I love that song, that food, that style. Whatever you say? Is going to be perfect, and they will instantly acquire the exact same likes and dislikes. So I would not be wary of a man who talked about himself if I could get him to talk to me using Lauren's strategy. But beware the man who showers you with compliments and appears to be your soul mate within 2 weeks of meeting them. Those are the real Narcissists. And the next steps after hooking you completely? Are Devalue and Destroy, and finally Discard. You will never in your life experience that much pain again. Good advice Lauren and so I wanted to add my own take on how a REAL Narcissist acts....


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