Are You A Facebook Narcissist?
I’ve never really understood why people feel the need to live their lives out through social media sites such as Facebook. So, as a reluctant and somewhat bemused Facebook user, I confess to feeling rather smug after reading recently published research undertaken by Western Illinois University.* In a study of 294 students, measuring self-promoting Facebook behavior, researchers established a direct link between the number of friends you have on Facebook and the extent to which you are a “socially disruptive” narcissist.
Self promoting behavior includes activities such as; posting status updates and photos of oneself; tagging oneself and updating profile information. Such self promotion is typically combined with anti-social behavior such as; seeking social support more than one provides it; getting angry when people do not comment on one’s status updates and retaliating against any negative comments posted.
The study found that those students who scored highly on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory survey had a large circle of Facebook friends and were also more likely to tag themselves in photographs, in addition to posting frequent updates.
Although several earlier surveys had also identified a correlation between Facebook activity and narcissism, this latest research goes one step further as it links the number of Facebook friends to the most “toxic” elements of narcissistic personality disorder symptoms.
There are growing concerns that teenagers, in particular, are becoming progressively more narcissistic and obsessed with self image and shallow friendships. Social media sites such as Facebook provide a perfect platform for such narcissistic propensities.
*Christopher J. Carpenter – Department of Communication, Western Illinois University. Study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.
Do You Have Any Narcissistic Facebook Friends?
I ended a relationship several years back with a man who exhibited narcissistic behavior. Hence, my interest in this personality disorder. Narcissistic Personality Disorder in men is more common than in women. Whether or not he was ever diagnosed with full blown Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I don’t know. I didn’t wait to find out. Nonetheless, his social media behavior totally intrigued me.
Over a period of time, I noticed that this friend…let’s call him Adam for clarity …would regularly change his profile picture. Once, if not several times a week. Compare that to myself who has kept the same profile pic for over 5 years!!
Also, Adam continually added photographs of himself. But only of himself. Rarely were any friends or family pictured with him. Just Adam on his own. I would estimate that he has somewhere in the region of 200 photographs just of himself!
Adam was also being tagged, on a frequent basis, in his friends’ photographs. But these tagged photo’s didn’t actually picture Adam . Confused? So was I!
Initially I thought that maybe I was wrong and that these people clearly thought a lot of Adam to tag him on their childrens’ (his nieces/nephews/cousins etc) photo’s. Until it suddenly dawned on me that Adam was actually tagging himself!
Adam has also grown his friends’ list to nearly 500.
Adam’s daily posts comprise 90% of my Facebook news feed. He is relentless! I, on the other hand, feel satisfied if I manage to post a “Happy Birthday” to my friends and on the right day!
Sound familiar? Maybe you have some socially disruptive narcissistic friends also
How Not To Become A Socially Disruptive Narcissist
If you don’t want to get caught up in this social media trap, and become a socially disruptive narcissist, then try these few simple tips…
- Limit the amount of time you spend on Facebook.
- Don’t post unless it is really newsworthy.
- Delete those “friends” whom you don’t really know.
- Increase your privacy settings.
- Reduce the number of photo’s you have, just of yourself.
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