Narcissists are an emotionless, grandiose, and self-entitled group of people who manipulate others for their use. If you have ever been involved with a narcissist, you’ll know that they employ many devious tactics to get what they want.

What Is the Narcissistic Stare?

One of these manipulative tools is the narcissistic stare. Those cold, dead, unflinching eyes seem to bore into your very soul. But what exactly is it and why do narcissists use it? What other types of body language are typical of narcissists?

Let’s start with the stare.

Much like the psychopathic stare, narcissists use this same tactic as a form of control. As a rule, staring at someone for a prolonged length of time is seen as rude and unsocial. Not only that, but not many people can stare at another person without feeling uncomfortable themselves.

Narcissists stare for several reasons:

As a form of intimidation

Staring at someone for longer than a few seconds goes against all social norms. It is seen as a form of aggression, so it can feel intimidating when you are on the receiving end.

Studies show that people who are shy or lack confidence are likely to avoid eye contact. It can also indicate underlying disorders such as ADHD, Asperger’s Disease, or depression.

To make someone feel uncomfortable

According to studies, you should maintain eye contact for 3.33 seconds, then look away. Further research suggests that to maintain appropriate eye contact, use the 50/70 rule; look at someone for 50% of the time when you talk and 70% when you are listening.

Because most eye contact is within these boundaries, it can feel unsettling to receive too much.

As a form of love-bombing

Have you ever spoken to someone and it is obvious they are giving you their complete attention? Did you feel as if they were looking into your very soul with their intense gaze?

Narcissists will often use this intense stare to introduce a sense of closeness. Staring deeply into another person’s eyes is intimate and even sexual. You feel as if you are the only person that matters.

Remember, narcissists are schooled in charisma, and present themselves as the ideal partner, at first.

8 Non-Verbal Signs of a Narcissist

1. A blank expression

The blank expression is at the opposite end of the spectrum to the narcissistic stare. Sometimes, a narcissist will look right through you. Or they have a vacant look on their face. This isn’t because they are concentrating on what you are saying. Far from it.

Narcissists don’t listen to other people unless they are the hot topic of conversation. So, if you are not talking about them, their eyes will glaze over as they lose interest.

2. Distinctive eyebrows

Dating a Psychopath

According to a recent study, eyebrows are the windows, or at least – the frames, to the narcissistic soul. We use our eyebrows to communicate different emotions such as surprise, fear, and anger.

However, research suggests that we can also use eyebrows as a marker for narcissistic traits.

We associate narcissism with well-groomed or distinctive eyebrows. As the study authors said:

“Individuals reporting high levels of narcissism tend to wear more fashionable, stylish, and expensive clothing; have a neater, more organized appearance; and look more attractive.”

3. Imposing and disdainful posture

As well as the narcissistic stare, if you want to spot a narcissist, look for someone with an imposing posture. Narcissists look down on people and whether they are aware or not, their disdain shows in their body language.

Narcissists hold their heads up high and puff their chests out. They physically make themselves larger and occupy more space. Watch out also for the power stance. Politicians use this to command respect. This is where people in power stand with their legs far apart.

4. Inappropriate reactions

Narcissists are not empathic, nor can they properly read other people’s body language. They don’t understand typical social cues, such as sadness when a person is upset, or joy when they are happy.

A narcissist will react inappropriately to these situations. For example, they may laugh at a funeral or remain emotionless when someone tells them good news.

5. Palms facing inwards

Most people use open hand gestures to convey a sense of friendliness and a willingness to listen. This includes non-verbal signs such as open arms and a relaxed posture.

However, the narcissist is not interested in how you are feeling. It is all about them remember? So they tend to keep their palms facing inwards towards themselves when they gesture. This is a subtle reminder to you to concentrate on them.

6. Personal space invaders

Have you ever met someone for the first time and they have immediately invaded your personal space? Did you feel uncomfortable and try and back away? Could you tell they had no idea how awkward you felt?

Whether it is physical or psychological, narcissists have no boundaries. If there is a queue, they have to be in front. They are happy to interrupt a conversation and insert themselves into the dialogue.

They are even known to push others out of the way to get attention from a group.

7. They dominate conversations

conversational narcissism

Sometimes it is relatively easy to spot the narcissist in the room. Simply listen for the loudest voice or the one person dominating a conversation. Of course, some people just like to be the centre of attention. That doesn’t make them narcissists.

However, listen to the content of the dominating voice. Are they disclosing personal information that is not appropriate for a social gathering? If so, there’s your narcissist.

It is that boundary thing again. As well as invading your personal space, narcissists like to shock others into noticing them. They will do this by revealing something others would normally keep to themselves.

8. Eye rolls, smirks, and yawns

Narcissists not only reveal inappropriate details of their life, but they are also unconcerned with how they appear to society in general. What is deemed as normal social etiquette bypasses the typical narcissist.

This shows up in their body language as inappropriate social behaviour. For example, if they are bored, they may yawn in front of the person. If they disagree, they roll their eyes.

Narcissists conduct themselves outside societal norms because they don’t care about hurting other people’s feelings. People usually hide these types of feelings. They may look away or stifle a yawn, but narcissists do not.

Final thoughts

It is not just the narcissistic stare that exposes narcissists in society. Thankfully, many other non-verbal signals alert us to their presence. If you know of any other signs of a narcissist, we’d love to hear from you.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Mel

    Unfortunately, half of these things may also be done by neurodiverse individuals, especially those on the spectrum who are masking.

  2. Jess

    Narcissists try at all costs not to be openly reactive. Yes they can yawn or roll their eyes, but their moves are usually subtle so no one can accuse them of “reacting.” Most of the time, they don’t like others to think that someone’s behavior affected them at all. They play it cool despite feeling rage inside. But it doesn’t matter how they look to outsiders, the narc will explode somehow in a mean way, with the rage they think is under control. What they hate the most is that somebody figured them out; then their true ire shows. If outsiders would pay close attention, they will see the narc’s true ugly self shows. But the worst punishment is the one they give themselves: living in a constant state of insecurity and seeking approval from outsiders provides them with a life of deep anxiety and lack of mental peace. This quote applies here (attributed to Abe Lincoln but who knows who said it): “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

    1. Janey Davies, B.A. (Hons)

      Very insightful Jess. I’ve only ever seen a narcissist explode with rage once in my life and that was truly frightening.

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