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"Nice Guys" Don't Finish Last: Narcissists Take Time to Fail
By Heath Shive
Feeling sorry for yourself on the dating scene? You see her (the her you’ve been looking at all night, all month, all year) and she’s with a jerk.
“Guess women love a**holes,” guys say.
“Nice guys finish last,” people say.
Well…no. She doesn’t like jerks any more than you do. The psychological problem that we all share is that it is difficult to spot a narcissist at first.
To the science!
A Closer Look at First Sight
In 2011, psychologists Mitja Back, Stefan Schmukle, and Boris Egloff performed a study on the first impressions that popular people make. They gathered 73 college students on their first day of class (so that they didn’t know each other). All the students had to introduce themselves individually in front of the class. Immediately after this introduction, the rest of the class evaluated the student (no pressure!).
Then, each student had to fill out a questionnaire at home which determined whether the student’s personality was – among other things – self-centered (narcissist) or self-transcendent (nice).
The most popular people in the class were of 2 types: extraverts and the self-centered. Extraverts were considered popular because they were seen as more fashionable, more self-assured, had a friendly facial expression, strong voice, and an original introduction.
Self-centered people were popular for the exact same reasons!
Perhaps at first, we can be attracted to self-centered people not because they are self-centered, but because they superficially seem to be like extraverts!
But whereas extraverts genuinely like other people, self-centered people view others as being inferior.
But Sooner or Later
In 1998, psychologist Delroy Paulhus performed a study on narcissists involving 124 college students. The students were tested to determine which ones were narcissists. All the students were divided into groups which met weekly to perform an assigned task that would allow a variety of personality traits to come to the surface. After each meeting, the students evaluated each other.
At the end of the 1st meeting, the narcissists were considered intelligent, confident, and entertaining. The group seemed to enjoy their presence. But by the 2nd meeting, things began to change and narcissists were seen to be hostile and tending to brag. By the 7th meeting, narcissists were not liked at all.
But non-self-enhancers (nice people) were able to sustain positive attributes across the 7 weeks!
“Nice guys” don’t finish last, but narcissists take time to fail.
So if you see her with a jerk, she just might not know him very well…yet.
And to be honest, do you really know her?
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Back, M.D., Schmukle, S. C., & Egloff, B. (2010b). A closer look at first sight: Social relations lens model analysis of personality and interpersonal attraction at zero acquaintance. European Journal of Personality. 3, 225-238.
Paulhus, D. L. (1998). Interpersonal and intrapsychic adaptiveness of trait self-enhancement: A mixed blessing. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 1197-1208.
Hello! My name is Heath Shive, content manager at ScholarFox. I'll be the author of most of the blog posts. I'm a former geologist and currently a freelance writer. The world is complex and seemingly crazy. Good! Because when you love to learn, you'll never be bored.