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How to Spot a Narcissist on Instagram?

Look Closer: How to Detect Narcissism on Instagram

How to Spot a Narcissist on Instagram? by Som Dutt

Ever noticed someone on Instagram who posts way too many selfies and shares endless updates about their amazing life, events, vocations, stories, their pets, sharing too many details about their life, and posting overly dramatic stories? If yes, there are huge chances are you’ve come across a narcissist. 

Maybe that friend who constantly posts bikini shots or gym selfies fishes for compliments in the comments. Or the one who shares a perfectly posed photo from their luxury vacation every single day is trying too hard to make the rest of us jealous. 

“When a toxic person can no longer control you, they will try to control how others see you. The misinformation will feel unfair, but you stay above it, trusting that other people will eventually see the truth just like you did.” ― Jill Blakeway

Instagram has given narcissists a platform to demand attention and praise from thousands of people at once. But now you’ll be able to see right through their excessive posts and call them out for what they really are. 

The Influence Of Instagram on Narcissistic Behavior

Instagram is a narcissist’s paradise. The platform is tailor-made for self-promotion and curating an idealized image of your life. If someone in your feed ticks a few of these boxes, they may have some narcissistic tendencies:

  • Constant selfies and photos of themselves: Their feed is dominated by selfies, posed photos of themselves, and a perfectly curated aesthetic.
  • Excessive hashtags: They overload their posts with hashtags to gain more likes and followers. It’s all about popularity.
  • Follower obsession: They frequently check their follower count and like count. They follow and unfollow people just to gain more followers.
  • Oversharing: They post an excessive amount of details about their personal lives, relationships, and achievements. It’s like they have no filter.
  • Lack of reciprocation: They rarely like or comment on other people’s posts. It’s all about them.
  • Vague or inspirational captions: Captions are usually either empty or meant to make them seem deep and motivational. Lots of “living my best life” or “grateful for this journey.”

The platform makes it easy to feed narcissistic needs, but for your own well-being, avoid comparing yourself to these accounts or getting caught up in their quest for attention and adoration.

Focus on connecting with people who share authentically and build you up. Your self-worth isn’t defined by followers or likes, no matter what certain accounts would have you believe.

Follower Obsession and Lack of Real Connections

While narcissists curate a glamorous image, they lack genuine connections. See if they frequently brag about follower counts or make follow/unfollow requests. Look for a lack of comments or likes from real friends on posts.

• Do they make frequent posts about reaching new follower milestones?

• Do most or all comments seem to come from strangers or bots rather than friends and family?

Exaggerated Sense of Self-Importance

Narcissists believe they are special or unique. Look for posts that make exaggerated claims about achievements, talents, or intelligence or that trash-talk others.

Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash

• Do they make posts congratulating themselves or make condescending comments about others’ perceived flaws or failures?

• Do they claim to be an expert or have elite skills without evidence or qualifications to back it up?

If several of these signs ring true, you may be dealing with a narcissist. The healthiest approach is usually to avoid engaging and set firm boundaries. Their need for control and validation can be exhausting! But if you must interact, do so cautiously and avoid feeding their ego or sense of entitlement.

“When we meet and fall into the gravitational pull of a narcissist, we are entering a significant life lesson that involves learning how to create boundaries, self-respect, and resilience. Through trial and error (and a lot of pain), our connection with narcissists teaches us the necessary lessons we need to become mature empaths.” 

― Mateo Sol

Excessive Vanity — A Major Red Flag

If someone’s profile is filled with selfies, especially pouty or sexy ones, they may be a bit too self-obsessed.

A normal level of selfies for social media is around one in every six or seven posts. Much more than that could signal a narcissist.

Watch out for:

  • Posts centered around their appearance, looks, body, lifestyle or possessions. Narcissists believe these attributes make them special and better than others.
  • Lots of bragging or showboating. This could be about achievements, intelligence, talent, wealth, success or popularity. They incessantly try to impress others.
  • Envy of others masked as contempt. They may put down the achievements or lifestyle of others to make themselves feel superior in comparison.

The saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” On social media, people’s photos and posts can reveal a lot about their character and priorities.

Do They Constantly Compliment Themselves?

If someone is posting selfie after selfie with captions that frequently compliment their own looks, style, achievements, or lavish lifestyle, that’s a red flag. The narcissist believes they are the greatest and wants to make sure everyone knows it.

Photo by Mesut Kaya on Unsplash

Do They Seem to Post For Validation?

Rather than sharing posts because they genuinely want to connect with others or share a fun memory, narcissist posts primarily to get likes, comments, and compliments. They rely on the constant validation of others to feel good about themselves. Each like and heart-eyed emoji is a hit of dopamine and fuels their ego.

“Since narcissists deep down feel themselves to be faultless, it is inevitable that when they are in conflict with the world they will invariably perceive the conflict as the world’s fault.” 

― M. Scott Peck

Are Their Posts Usually About Themselves?

While everyone posts selfies and personal life updates at times, the narcissist’s feed is predominantly focused on themselves — their looks, their expensive purchases, their glamorous getaways, their achievements, and so on.

They rarely share posts highlighting or promoting others

Of course, social media only provides a curated glimpse into someone’s life, so look for these clues in real-world interactions as well before making a judgment. But their Instagram can be quite revealing!

Grandiose and Arrogant Captions

Narcissists love the spotlight and showing off on social media. Their Instagram profiles are shrines to themselves, filled with selfies, boastful captions, and a perfectly curated life.

Narcissists believe they are special and superior to others. Their photo captions will be self-aggrandizing and boastful. You may see captions like:

  • “Too hot to handle.”
  • “The most interesting man in the world.”
  • “Bow down to your queen.”

Of course, some people are just playful and silly on social media. But if someone’s entire profile is dedicated to proclaiming their own greatness, that level of self-absorption could signal narcissism. The captions never show vulnerability, humility, or gratefulness towards others. It’s always “me, me, me.”

Oversharing Personal Details for Sympathy

  • They share emotional life stories or health issues to gain sympathy and draw attention. The stories are often exaggerated or manipulated to make themselves appear victimized or heroic.
  • Their captions are less about the actual photo and more about themselves. They talk at length about their feelings, relationships, or perceived injustices.
  • They may even argue with or delete critical comments, blocking anyone who doesn’t feed their ego.
  • Their profiles focus almost entirely on themselves. They rarely post about friends, family, nature, hobbies or interests — unless they are in the photo or it relates back to them in some way.

Constantly Comparing Themselves to Others

Narcissists are constantly sizing themselves up to others in their feeds. They may make snide comments comparing their pictures, likes, or followers to people they know in real life or even celebrities and influencers. 

“The main condition for the achievement of love is the overcoming of one’s narcissism. The narcissistic orientation is one in which one experiences as real only that which exists within oneself, while the phenomena in the outside world have no reality in themselves, but are experienced only from the viewpoint of their being useful or dangerous to one. The opposite pole to narcissism is objectivity; it is the faculty to see other people and things as they are, objectively, and to be able to separate this objective picture from a picture which is formed by one’s desires and fears.” 

― Erich Fromm

Don’t be surprised if they try to make you compare profiles with them so they can come out on top. Their worth depends on being better than everyone else.

To spot a narcissist on Instagram, look for:

  • Posts focused on their appearance, achievements or lavish lifestyle. Their photos are curated to make their life seem more glamorous and enviable than it really is.
  • Excessive hashtags, especially on selfies, to increase visibility and likes. #blessed #livingmybestlife #nofilterneeded
  • Following lots of celebrities, influencers, and attractive people but barely following back. They see others as objects, not real connections.
  • Needy comments on other people’s posts fishing for compliments. “OMG so jealous of your trip!” “Looking good!” 😍 👑
  • Lashing out or unfollowing people who don’t provide them praise and adoration. Your worth depends on stroking their ego.

Analyzing The Tone And Content Of Their Instagram Bio

The tone and content of an Instagram bio can reveal a lot about someone’s personality and motivations. Look for some telltale signs that point to narcissistic behavior:

It’s all about them

A narcissist’s bio will focus almost exclusively on themselves — their own interests, hobbies, and pursuits. There’s little mention of anything outside of their own little world. They believe they are the main character in everyone else’s story too.

Follower obsession

Someone preoccupied with follower count is likely more interested in popularity and status than actually connecting with others. A narcissist sees followers as a measure of their own greatness and will do anything to gain more — even buying fake followers.

Vague or non-existent links

If there are no links to an actual website, blog, or business in the bio, that’s suspicious. Most public influencers and entrepreneurs use Instagram to drive traffic to their own platforms or products. 

“When I look at narcissism through the vulnerability lens, I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary. I see the fear of never feeling extraordinary enough to be noticed, to be lovable, to belong, or to cultivate a sense of purpose.” 

― Brené Brown

Rules don’t apply to them

Narcissists believe they are special and the rules that govern regular people do not apply to them. If the account shows a disregard for Instagram’s terms of service or community guidelines, that entitlement and lack of responsibility are major red flags. No one is exempt from the rules, no matter how popular or famous they claim to be.

Posed and filtered photos are the norm.

Their photos are carefully curated and filtered to portray them in the best light. Group photos will show them as the center of attention. Posed photos may look unnatural. Behind the scenes, they probably took 100 shots to get one perfect photo.

Lack of meaningful tags or mentions of others.

Narcissists are focused on themselves, so you won’t see many tags, mentions, or heartfelt captions about friends, family, or significant others. 

Look for a lack of authentic, personal connections or tributes to others.

Notice If They Post Frequently, Especially Photos Showing Off Their Looks, Bodies, and Possessions. 

If their Instagram feed is filled with photos showcasing their looks, outfits, muscles, or possessions, that’s a red flag. 

Some other signs to watch for:

  • Do they frequently tag brands and companies they want to associate themselves with? Narcs love namedropping and clinging to status symbols.
  • Do they mostly post glamorous and curated photos of themselves and their exciting or luxurious lives? While we all put our best face forward on social media, narcs construct an idealized image to make themselves seem more important or special than they really are.
  • Do they get defensive or retaliate if they don’t get enough likes or receive criticism? Narcs have fragile egos and lash out when they feel threatened or less than adored. 

Are their outfits or poses sexually provocative?

Some narcissists use suggestive clothing, seductive facial expressions, or sensual poses to seem desirable and gain admiration. Of course, anyone can post a sexy photo now and then, so look for a pattern of posts that seem designed mainly to provoke lust or envy in others.

Do they change their appearance frequently or dramatically?

Check if their hairstyle, hair color, or makeup is different in nearly every photo. Frequent or extreme changes to their appearance could signal narcissism.

Do they boast about their looks, body, or accomplishments?

Narcissists can’t resist bragging about themselves on social media. Look for captions that frequently mention how attractive, stylish, successful, or accomplished they are. Healthy people don’t need constant validation and praise from others about their appearance or achievements.

“Narcissists are consumed with maintaining a shallow false self to others. They’re emotionally crippled souls that are addicted to attention. Because of this they use a multitude of games, in order to receive adoration. Sadly, they are the most ungodly of God’s creations because they don’t show remorse for their actions, take steps to make amends or have empathy for others. They are morally bankrupt.” 

― Shannon L. Alder

While sexy or stylish photos alone do not prove someone is a narcissist, a pattern of provocative and boastful posts designed primarily to elicit admiration and praise from others could be a red flag. Of course, the only way to know for sure is through direct interaction and observation over time. 

Watch For Posts Putting Down Others Subtly. Narcissists View Relationships Competitively.

Watch for posts that subtly put down others or make passive-aggressive comments. Narcissists view relationships competitively and will often make posts implying their superiority over others in some way.

  • Pay attention to posts where they make backhanded compliments or comments that subtly put down others. Things like, “Most people can’t understand this, but you’re smart enough to get it.” Or, “My true friends are the only ones who stuck by me.” These kinds of posts are meant to make their followers feel special while putting down others.
  • Watch for a lack of posts showcasing meaningful relationships. While narcissists crave admiration and praise from followers, they typically lack truly close friends or family in their lives. You probably won’t see heartfelt posts about their spouse, children, or close friends very often, if at all.
  • Look for a tendency to play the victim. Narcissists frequently make posts portraying themselves as victims of circumstances or the hurtful actions of others. 

Lots of Followers but Little Engagement

While narcissists may have accumulated a high number of followers over time through follow/unfollow tactics or buying fake followers, their actual engagement rate is low. 

Their followers don’t genuinely care about them or their posts. Narcissists also rarely like or comment on other people’s posts because they lack empathy.

Captions on a narcissist’s posts will be either vague or greatly over-exaggerated. Things like “amazing night out!” or “so blessed!” without details. Or they’ll make over-the-top claims about their lives to make themselves seem more impressive or successful than they really are.

“The silent killer of great men and women of achievement — particularly men, I don’t know why, maybe it’s the testosterone — I think it’s narcissism. Even more than hubris.” 

— James Woods

Promotes Their “Brand”

A narcissist views themselves as a brand to be marketed. They’ll promote paid sponsorships, blog posts, YouTube channels, online courses, or whatever platform where they are the star of the show. 

Spotting these signs can help clue you into whether that Instagram influencer or new friend is just a harmless attention-seeker or an actual narcissist. If the person in question exhibits several of these behaviors, they likely have an unhealthy obsession with themselves that extends far beyond social media.

Check If They Excessively Use Filters And Editing. Narcissists Feel A Need To Portray Themselves As Perfect.

Narcissists feel a constant need to portray themselves as perfect. Their Instagram feeds are carefully curated to show an idealized version of their lives. They rely heavily on filters, editing apps, and other tools to manipulate their photos and hide any perceived flaws or imperfections.

  • Examine the photos closely. Do they seem overly polished or artificial? Are the effects over the top or distracting? If every single photo seems heavily edited or filtered, that could be a red flag.
  • Look for signs the photos have been retouched like blurred lines, distorted backgrounds, or a noticeable lack of pores or skin texture. Retouching tools are often used to make someone appear thinner, or younger, or to change facial features.
  • Check if the captions seem to frequently focus on the narcissist’s appearance, looks, or attractiveness. 
  • Compare the Instagram photos to any unedited or unfiltered photos you can find of the same person. Do they look dramatically different? If so, it suggests a high degree of manipulation to craft their image.

While some editing and filters are common and normal on Instagram, narcissists take it to an extreme. 

Looking for these signs of excessive use of filters and editing can help determine if you’re dealing with a narcissist.

Look For Mostly Impersonal, Non-relatable Content. Narcissists Lack Empathy For Others’ Experiences.

If the Instagram account you’re looking at seems impersonal and lacking in relatable details about the person’s actual life experiences, that could be a sign you’re dealing with a narcissist.

“There is simply no winning with a narcissist. He will treat you so horribly that you will become withdrawn and depressed and then he will turn around and say, ‘You’re no fun anymore, you’re always so depressed. I need to be with someone more positive.’” 

— Susan Williams

Look for a lack of vulnerability or authenticity.

Narcissists have a hard time opening up or being genuinely vulnerable on social media. Their posts will seem curated to portray an image of perfection. You won’t see messy moments, struggles, or imperfections. Everything looks polished and pristine.

Rather than sharing meaningful life events, narcissists tend to post braggy updates, inspirational memes, and quotations. There’s little real substance or authentic connection. 

Pay attention if the account is more about their image than real connections.

Look for signs the account is more about building up the narcissist’s ego and status rather than actually connecting with others. The narcissist will follow lots of people but have few real friends. They crave the dopamine hit of new followers and likes but don’t form meaningful relationships.

Rather than having back-and-forth conversations with followers, the narcissist only replies with short thanks or emojis. They don’t show interest in others or ask follow-up questions.

In the end, a narcissist’s social media presence will feel hollow and lacking in humanity. All surface, no depth. Perfectly curated but ultimately impersonal. And that’s the biggest red flag of all.

Check If They Frequently Post Quotes Praising Themselves. 

Do they post a lot of selfies and group photos where they’re the focal point? 

Double-check that the quotes they share are praising themselves, not inspiring or motivational in a general sense. Things like:

  • “I’m awesome and deserve the best.”
  • “Jealousy is a disease, and I’m the cure.”
  • “I’m not arrogant, I’m just better than you.”

Look For Many Different Stylized, Professional Photos From Photo Shoots. Narcissists Stage A Lot For Sake Of Image.

If their Instagram feed looks like a modeling portfolio, that’s a red flag. Narcissists are obsessed with their stutus and will post many stylized selfies and photos from professional photo shoots.

  • Watch out for exaggerated facial expressions or poses. Narcissists act very dramatically to get validation. Their photos will show them pouting, posing provocatively, or making an exaggerated “I’m so fabulous” face.
  • Check if they use lots of hashtags on their photos like #instafamous, #socialinfluencer or #model. This shows how desperate they are for validation and fame.
  • See if they brag about their lavish lifestyle but there are few details on their actual career or talents. Narcissists want you to envy their life but there’s little substance underneath the glamorous facade.

Notice If They Post Cryptic Social Media Statuses Fishing For Compliments. 

Ever notice that friend on Instagram who’s always sharing vague statuses about their “haters”? 

If someone frequently posts ambiguous social media updates implying they have “enemies” or that something dramatic happened in their life but without actually sharing any real details, they’re likely trying to bait people into asking what’s going on so they can become the center of attention.

Narcissists need constant external validation to feed their fragile egos. So if someone is constantly curating their online status to portray a glamorous lifestyle and sharing emotional statuses pleading for support, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with a narcissist looking for their next fix of flattery and sympathy. 

Check If They Only Like and comment On Pictures Where They Are Tagged Or Credited. Narcissists Care Mostly About Self-relevant Content.

Check if the photos they post primarily feature themselves. Do their captions always refer back to them in some way? 

They incessantly tag themselves.

Narcissists want to make sure they get credit for everything. So, they’ll tag themselves in group photos, photos of places or events, and pretty much any photo they appear in or feel a connection to. They want you to know they were there and a part of it.

They only comment on or like other people’s photos if they are tagged in them.

Narcissists only care about content that relates to or features them in some way. So, they’ll heartily like and comment on photos they are tagged in but won’t bother engaging with other people’s photos. Their interactions revolve around themselves.

Spotting these tendencies can help clue you in that the person behind the account may exhibit unhealthy narcissistic qualities. But don’t jump to conclusions, sometimes people just really like taking selfies! Look for multiple signs before making a judgment.

Many Posts Highlighting Achievements

A narcissist’s feed will be filled with posts highlighting their achievements, awards, job promotions, fitness goals, material purchases, and lavish lifestyle. 

Rather than sharing photos of loved ones or special life moments, their posts are meant to make others envy them. They may even post old photos of past achievements to remind people of their successes. 

Of course, not all people who post about their achievements are narcissists. But if their posts are frequent, self-promoting and meant to portray an image of a perfect life to gain admiration, that could signal some narcissistic traits. Their social media profiles become shrines to themselves, not a way to connect with real friends or share what really matters in life.

In short, while we all like to share good news at times, be wary of those whose posts are all about themselves and their fabulous lives. They may be more interested in gaining followers than real friendship. And remember, even narcissists curate their profiles to look glamorous, but real life is never picture-perfect.

Oversharing Details About Their “Perfect” Life

Oversharing details about their “perfect” life. Narcissists curate their social media profiles to portray an idealized version of themselves. Their posts are all about how great their life is — the fancy vacations, luxurious homes, lavish meals, extravagant purchases, and over-the-top celebrations of even minor accomplishments.

Look for:

  • Posts that frequently mention their achievements, popularity, beauty, or status. Things like “Just got another promotion!” or “All my friends threw me a surprise party, I’m so loved!”
  • Photos that are carefully staged and edited to make their life seem flawless. Lots of shots of them on yachts or private jets, posing with celebrities, or showcasing their latest designer outfit.
  • Vague or exaggerated posts about their amazing life events without many specifics. For example, “Enjoying an incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience this weekend!” without saying what it actually is.
  • Little mention of ordinary daily details or struggles that most people share on social media. Their posts are all about projecting a status of a perfect existence without problems or flaws.
  • Responses to their posts are primarily from people lavishing them with compliments and praise. Genuine friends will also sometimes call out exaggerations or offer a more balanced perspective.
  • Rarely post about or interact with the same people twice. True friends and loved ones routinely appear and are engaged with on social media. Narcissists mainly interact with whatever audience is currently stroking their ego.

Lack of Vulnerability and Humility

Rarely will you see a narcissist post about their struggles, fears or imperfections. They curate an attitude of having a perfect life and of themselves as being flawless. Showing vulnerability would clash with the image they want to portray.

See If They Only Follow Accounts That Are Significantly More Popular Or That Frequently Engage With Them Directly. Narcissists Seek Trophies And Prestige.

They want the popularity and status that comes from connecting with accounts that have a large following. They see these connections as trophies that feed their ego.

Does the account you’re evaluating mostly follow people with huge followings, especially compared to their own? Do they leave an excessive amount of comments, likes, and replies on the posts of these popular accounts, especially right after that account has engaged with them? If so, this points to narcissistic behavior. They’re chasing the temporary high that comes from gaining the notice and interaction of accounts they look up to.

They may frequently tag them in their own posts or stories in hopes of gaining a reply, like, or repost. Watch out for accounts that seem overly eager to show off any tiny bit of attention they get from major influencers or celebrities. This thirst for prestige and trophies through the popularity of others is a hallmark of narcissism.

Notice If They Post Passive Aggressively About Relationship Issues. Narcissists Lack Self-awareness And Accountability.

Have you noticed a friend on Instagram who constantly posts passive-aggressive quotes or memes about relationships or exes? This could be a sign they lack self-awareness and accountability.

Narcissists often post indirect messages on social media targeting people in their lives. Rather than addressing issues directly through respectful communication, they resort to vague posts to make others feel guilty or get a reaction.

Watch Out for Posts Meant to Make Exes Feel Guilty

If someone constantly posts about how they were “wronged” or are so much happier now without their ex, this points to a lack of accountability. 

Healthy people accept the end of relationships and move forward, rather than seeking validation through social media. Narcissists, on the other hand, crave constant sympathy. 

Pay attention if someone frequently posts inspirational memes about “leaving the past behind” or “new beginnings” but continues to post about the same old issues. 

Real change and personal growth do not need to be announced on Instagram. Look out for patterns of posts hoping to get a reaction from exes or fueling drama. These behaviors signal a lack of emotional maturity and self-awareness.

The bottom line is that narcissists use social media differently than emotionally healthy people. Look for signs that someone is posting to get attention, validation, or control rather than authentically connecting with others. Their posts often reveal a lack of accountability, self-reflection, and consideration for how their messages might impact others.

See If They Idolize Their Physical Beauty, Youth, And Sex Appeal In Photos. Narcissists Rely On Their Erotic Capital For Self-esteem.

Narcissists rely on their erotic capital for self-esteem. Their Instagram feeds focus on photos of themselves, especially selfies and body shots highlighting their looks, physique, and style. 

Their captions also reveal their obsession with youth, beauty, and vitality. They make frequent references to looking young, being “sexy,” or staying fit. For narcissists, their worth depends on physical and sexual attractiveness. 

If the majority of someone’s Instagram posts emphasize their appearance and they seem overly concerned with looking attractive or young, it may signal unhealthy self-centeredness and a constant need for validation. 

Their sense of esteem relies too heavily on the superficial rather than substance. For those affected by narcissism, outer beauty is everything while inner self-worth remains elusive. Their Instagram feeds lay bare these misguided priorities and the deep insecurities that drive them.

Look For Posts Where They’re With Sycophantic Friends Praising Them. Narcissists Surround Themselves With Blind Followers.

If every other comment on their posts is from a friend saying something like:

  • “You’re so amazing!”
  • “Gorgeous as always!”
  • “Inspirational!”

True friends will show support but also provide honest feedback. Narcissists don’t want honesty, they want glorification.

Their friends become “narcissistic supply” — blind followers who make the narcissist feel important and special without question. If someone dares criticize them or points out a flaw, the narcissist will lash out in anger and may even end the friendship. 

Check If They Post A Lot During Times That Seem Like Someone Seeking Validation (Weekends, Holidays). Narcissistic Supply Is Vital To Them.

If their Instagram feed is filled with selfies, group photos where they’re front and center, and an endless stream of posts about their glamorous lifestyle, that could be a sign you’re dealing with a narcissist.

Instagram’s like and comment features make it an ideal platform for them to get their “narcissistic supply.” Watch out for accounts that post:

  • Vague or exaggerated updates hinting at how great their life is. Things like “living the dream!” or “too blessed to be stressed!” are meant to make their followers jealous and stroke their ego.
  • A perfectly curated esthetic. Their posts will make it seem like they lead an idyllic, envy-inducing lifestyle. But it’s all a facade to mask their fragile self-worth.
Photo by Mediamodifier on Unsplash

Notice If They Post Excessively Even In Intimate Settings Like Vacations, Funerals, and Weddings. Narcissists Struggle To Regulate Self-expression If It Benefits Them.

When scrolling through their Instagram feed, notice if the narcissist in question posts excessively, even during more intimate events. Narcissists struggle to regulate their self-expression if they benefit from it.

A narcissist’s Instagram is their shrine to themselves. Even at weddings, funerals, and vacations with others, they prioritize posting selfies and updates to feed their ego. While sharing a few posts from major life events is normal, a narcissist will post in excess, barely taking a break to be present and connect with others.

They curate their image to portray an idealized life where they’re the star. Scrutinize their captions as well. Do they thank others who were there to share the experience or is it all about them?

See If They Post Rudely, Arrogantly Or Melodramatically. Narcissists Lack Restraint And Proportion.

Narcissists believe they are more attractive, talented, or interesting than others. Excessive boastful photos, and vague “woe is me” posts are red flags.

Also watch out for rude, arrogant, or condescending posts towards others. Narcissists typically lack empathy and believe they are superior to most people. They may post:

  • Critical or contemptuous comments on other people’s photos or life events.
  • Sanctimonious posts judging how others live their lives.
  • A know-it-all attitude, as if they have a monopoly on the truth.

While the occasional critical or boastful post does not prove someone is a narcissist, a pattern of excessive self-absorption, lack of empathy, and arrogance are warning signs. 

Trust your instincts — if someone’s posts make you feel bad about yourself or rub you the wrong way, limit your interaction with them. Your mental health and self-esteem will thank you.

Check If They Post Political, Philosophical, Or Social Commentary That Casts Them As An Expert. Narcissists See Themselves As Visionaries And Global Thought Leaders.

On Instagram, they seek to build themselves up as influential thought leaders. One sign of a narcissist is that they frequently post philosophical, political, or social commentary portraying themselves as an expert or visionary.

  • They share controversial or extreme opinions to provoke reactions and debates. 
  • They post vague or cryptic messages implying they have a deeper insight or understanding into issues. These kinds of posts allow others to project wisdom and intelligence onto the narcissist.
  • They share an excessive amount of self-referential content. Their posts continually refer back to their own experiences, thoughts, and opinions.
  • Their posts frequently contain phrases like “As an expert in…” or “With my years of experience…”
  • They criticize or put down others to make themselves appear more authoritative or intelligent by comparison. These kinds of posts are a means to elevate themselves at the expense of others.
  • They share recycled or plagiarized inspirational quotes and life lessons. Narcissists want to seem profound and all-knowing, even if they have to borrow words of wisdom from others.

Look For Overly Emotional Captions And Quotes Hinting At Inner Turmoil. Narcissists May Use Social Causes Disingenuously To Feed Their Egos.

Look for captions with lots of exclamation points, emotional language, and hints at some kind of inner struggle or turmoil. 

For example, captions like:

  • “Another sleepless night…the challenges never end. But I will persevere!”
  • “They said I’d never make it. But look at me now!”
  • “The world may not understand me, but my true followers always will.”

Narcissists also frequently share inspirational quotes that make vague references to adversity or their unique talents and skills. These quotes are not meant to inspire you — they’re meant to make the narcissist look enlightened or reinforce their delusions of grandeur.

Some examples:

  • “Greatness is born in the face of adversity.”
  • “My talent is a gift, my genius a curse.”
  • “The world hates change, yet it is the only constant.”

Another red flag is if the narcissist uses social causes or charitable work in a way that seems self-serving rather than genuinely altruistic. For example, they may use a cause primarily to boast about their own moral superiority or generosity. The focus is on them and how they look to others, not actually helping those in need.

Photo by Cristina Zaragoza on Unsplash

Notice If They Post About Their Unparalleled Work Ethic And Career Success. Narcissists Build Themselves Up While Putting Others Down.

If their Instagram feed is dominated by photos of luxury items they’ve purchased, or posts bragging about their success, it could indicate narcissistic tendencies.

Narcissists believe they are special or more important than others. They love posting about their accomplishments, awards, expensive possessions, or exclusive experiences. They drop names of famous people they know or meet. They believe their success and status make them superior.

Watch out for posts putting others down to build themselves up. Narcissists lack empathy and believe they deserve admiration and envy from those they see as inferior. They may post judgmental or belittling comments about people they know or public figures. Their inflated ego leads them to believe only their own opinions or ways of doing things are right or best.

If someone’s posts are more self-promotional than inspirational or caring, it could be a sign of unhealthy self-absorption and lack of empathy — common traits of narcissism. The more you see it, the more likely narcissism is at play.

See If They Lack Close Friendships In Photos. Narcissists Struggle With Genuinely Connecting.

Do they rarely post photos with close friends or family? Narcissists struggle with genuinely connecting to others in a meaningful way. They tend to lack long-term, intimate relationships. 

The occasional group shot here and there is normal for most people, but for narcissists, close friendships and relationships are lacking.

Look for a sense of entitlement.

Narcissists feel entitled to special treatment. Entitlement is a hallmark of narcissism and is evident in the way they conduct themselves on social media. Constant boasting is their way of asserting their superiority over others.

Spotting these signs on Instagram can help in identifying narcissistic behavior. But be careful not to diagnose someone as a narcissist without professional input. Many of us display some narcissistic traits at times. Look for these tendencies as an ongoing pattern to determine if it reflects their core personality.

Difficulty Handling Rejection Or Being Ignored By Followers

It can be hard to spot narcissists on Instagram since the platform encourages sharing photos and life events. However, there are a few signs that point to narcissistic behavior.

Overly Curated Feed

A narcissist’s Instagram feed will look perfectly curated to portray an image of an enviable life. But behind the scenes, things are often messy. Don’t be fooled by the facade. What people choose to share on social media isn’t always reality.

Those are a few signs that could point to narcissistic behavior on Instagram. Of course, there may be other explanations too, so look for multiple signs before making a judgment. And ultimately, the only person who can determine if someone qualifies as a narcissist is a licensed mental health professional.

They Only Post Images That Present Themselves in a Positive Light

Narcissists curate their social media to portray an idealized image. You won’t see any casual, silly, or unflattering pics.

  • Their photos spotlight their looks, physique, expensive belongings, or lavish getaways. Everything is perfectly posed and filtered.
  • They rarely post about their real struggles, flaws, or vulnerabilities. Their Instagram life is all highlight reels, all the time.

While we all put our best face forward on social media, narcissists take it to an extreme. If someone’s Instagram persona seems too good to be true, that’s a major red flag. 

Of course, the only way to know for sure is by getting to know them offline as well. But their Instagram habits can definitely reveal a lot about their self-centered tendencies and need for external validation.

They Have a High Number of Followers but Low Engagement

  • They’ll follow tons of people just to gain new followers in return, not because they actually care about those accounts. Check if they follow a disproportionate number of people compared to their follower count.
  • Their posts get few likes or comments compared to their follower size. If they have 10K followers but most posts get under 100 likes, something’s off. Real influencers with that reach would get much higher engagement.
  • They never give shoutouts or promote other accounts. It’s always about them. Narcissists lack empathy and interest in others.

They Excessively Use Instagram Stories and Live Videos

Instagram Stories and Live videos are the perfect outlet for them to get their fix.

They incessantly post events on their Instagram Stories and go Live at any opportunity. They overshare details that most people would keep private and see any engagement or comments as fueling their ego.

They will frequently ask questions like “How do I look?” or “Where should I go for dinner tonight?” not out of genuine interest in others’ input but to prompt people to compliment them.

Narcissists cannot handle criticism and see it as a threat to their ego. They will likely lash out, make excuses, or block anyone who dares to challenge them.

Using Instagram As A Platform For Personal Attacks Or Bullying

Frequently Deleting Or Re-posting Content Based On Perceived Reception

One of the telltale signs of a narcissist on Instagram is frequently deleting or re-posting their content based on how well they perceive it was received. 

  • They may delete a post completely if they don’t get enough likes quickly enough. They see this as a reflection of their worth and can’t handle the perceived rejection. Then they’ll re-post it later hoping for a better response.
  • They may delete a post and re-post it with a different caption or filter, thinking that will somehow make a difference in how people respond to it. They believe their worth is defined by what others think of them on social media.
  • Notice if they tend to post at peak times when more people are on Instagram, like evenings and weekends, fishing for as much attention and praise as possible. 

Tread carefully if you suspect someone’s self-esteem is that fragile and unstable. While we all want to feel good about what we share online, real confidence comes from within, not from how many likes you get on Instagram.

Lack Of Interest In Others’ Content, Only Engaging Self-centered

Their profiles and posts will focus almost exclusively on themselves, lacking interest in genuinely engaging with others or sharing the spotlight.

They are too focused on themselves to show interest in others. You’ll rarely see them commenting or liking other people’s posts unless it’s someone more popular or attractive who they want attention from. Their interactions are meant to benefit themselves, not support others.

Displaying Envy Towards Others’ Success Or Accomplishments

We’ve all seen them — the Instagram accounts dedicated more to self-promotion than anything else. Narcissists love social media platforms like 

Another revealing behavior is that they enviously compare themselves to others and their success or accomplishments. They may make passive-aggressive comments on others’ posts expressing jealousy or trying to one-up them. They see other people’s achievements or good fortune as somehow diminishing their own self-worth.

Manipulative Tactics To Gain Followers Or Influence Others

Dramatic Posts

They share vague yet dramatic posts about their personal struggles or deep thoughts to garner sympathy and concern. But when asked directly about the issue, they remain evasive.


They follow hundreds of accounts only to unfollow them later in an attempt to gain reciprocal followers. They are not genuinely interested in connecting with or engaging with these accounts. They just want to inflate their own follower count through this deceitful tactic.

Photo by June Aye on Unsplash

Constant Engagement Baiting

From giveaways and contests to debates and controversial posts, narcissists are constantly posting engagement bait. They ask followers provocative questions or post intentionally polarizing content just to generate comments, likes, and arguments that feed their need for attention.

Investigating Their Use Of Instagram Stories Polls And Questions, A Narcissist Only Posts About Them

Constant Updates About Their Fabulous Life

The underlying message is that their life is infinitely more interesting and superior than anyone else’s. Their stories are a platform for them to brag without appearing too obvious.

Polls and Questions Centered Around Them

Pay attention to the questions and polls a narcissist posts in their Instagram Stories. They will ask things like “Aren’t I the best?” or “Don’t I look hot today?” with obviously self-centered answer choices. 

They thrive on these kinds of posts generate and need the ego boost from people voting for the options that complement them. A narcissist’s Instagram experience revolves around them — their photos, their stories, their polls. 

Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash

Their excessive use of Instagram in this manner is a way for them to maintain their overinflated ego and sense of entitlement.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, the telltale signs of a narcissistic Instagrammer. Now that you know what to look for, you’ll start noticing them everywhere. Don’t let their perfectly curated feeds and lavish lifestyles make you feel inadequate — most of it is a facade and exaggeration anyway.

Focus on living your own authentic life, nurturing real relationships, and being grateful for what you have. The next time you spot one of these narcissists on the ‘gram, just roll your eyes and keep scrolling. 

You’ve got better things to do than feed their ego or envy their exaggerated glamor shots. So log off, go outside, and enjoy some real-life experiences with people who lift you up and appreciate you for who you are.

About the Author :

Som Dutt, Top writer in Philosophy & Psychology on I make people Think, Relate, Feel & Move. Let's Embrace Inner Chaos and Appreciate Deep, Novel & Heavy Thoughts.

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