When it comes to dating, confidence is one thing, but narcissism? That's something else entirely, right? Nobody wants that. Or, well, so we thought: As much as we may all try to exude the former trait in order to make a great first impression, it also happens that being self-centered and seeking validation to an extreme (e.g., narcissism) pays in dividends in the world of dating, too.
According to a piece in New York magazine's Science of Us section, a recent study found that narcissism is an extremely potent predictor of how appealing a potential mate is judged to be. As it turns out, we actually find narcissists appealing, too, at least when judged upon early impressions.
The new study, led by Emanuel Jauk of the University of Graz in Austria, finds that individuals who ranked high on the narcissism scale ranked high with mate-ability, flings, and long-term relationships. The study group was formed using speed-dating, a surprisingly neat and effective way to study snap judgments and gut responses to certain personality types and/or physical attributes. Having participants rate people they've just had a short date with captures the impact of these otherwise easily lost first impressions and the information they provide us.
A clue to understanding why narcissists did so well on their speed dates lies in the two other characteristics that stood out: extroversion and good looks. Often, narcissistic individuals are confident and charming at first blush. They likely talk about themselves with ease and cast positive light on their stories. They also likely pride themselves on their appearance. Only after spending more time with a true narcissist might their darker, more bothersome tendencies and obsessions bloom in full.
The actionable takeaway here? When meeting a potential partner for the first time, dial up your typical narcissist's interest in appearance (i.e. look your best!) and exude self-love (maybe start with these energy-healer approved bedroom essentials?) rather than too much self-deprecation. Just don't get carried away, okay?
What qualities do you look for in a partner? Tell us below.
This post was originally published June 26, 2016. It has been updated by Sacha Strebe.