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Have a Lot of Facebook Friends? You’re Probably a Narcissist

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

If someone has loads more Facebook friends than you do, don’t feel bad. According to a new study, that person is probably a socially-disruptive narcissist.

Researchers at Western Illinois University, who studied the Facebook habits of almost 300 students between 18 and 65, found a correlation between those with high Narcissistic Personality Inventory scores and those who had a lot of Facebook friends.

Such individuals also tagged themselves more often in other people’s photos and posts, updated their own newsfeeds and profile pictures more often, and responded more aggressively to derogatory comments made about them on the social network.

While other studies have hinted at a relationship between Facebook use and narcissism, the current work is the first direct evidence of a link between the number of Facebook friends someone has and what are deemed the most toxic elements of narcissistic personality disorder: grandiose exhibitionism (GE) and entitlement/exploitativeness (EE).

Researchers say people with high GE scores have a constant need to be the center of attention, and EE high-scorers have “a sense of deserving respect and a willingness to manipulate and take advantage of others.” On Facebook, this leads to amassing hundreds or even thousands of friends and the tendency to seek social support — but rarely provide it.

Christopher Carpenter, who ran the study, said, “In general, the ‘dark side’ of Facebook requires more research in order to better understand Facebook’s socially beneficial and harmful aspects in order to enhance the former and curtail the latter.”


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