How to Communicate Effectively with a Narcissist: Tips for Talking to Difficult People

If you need to communicate with a narcissist, you have a daunting task ahead of you. These individuals often have a way of taking control of the conversation and making it all about them. They are also skilled at steering conversations in circles, making it impossible for you to ever get to the point.

If you want to get your message across to a narcissist, you need to be prepared for anything. In this blog post, I will discuss some tips for handling difficult conversations with these slippery individuals.

Tactics used by narcissists to control the conversation

Narcissists have big egos and will always insist that they are right. They will also use a variety of tactics to control the conversation and make sure it goes their way.

A narcissist is often looking to be in control of the conversation. They will do this by steering the topic towards themselves or changing the subject entirely if they feel like they are losing control.

They will try to confuse you by –

  • Diverting the conversation away from the main points you want to make.
  • Interrupting you when you are speaking. This can be very distracting and can make you lose your train of thought, so you need to be prepared for this.
  • Not listening to what you are saying and instead, talking over you. They will make it very difficult for you to get a word in edgewise.
  • Using critical or attack language towards you. This is designed to put you on the defensive so that they can take control of the conversation again.
  • Twisting your words around and claiming that you said things that you never did. In fact, you need to be prepared for any form of gaslighting, because this is one of the narcissist’s favourite tools.
  • Changing the subject entirely when they feel like they are losing control of the conversation.
  • Attacking your character or personal qualifications and implying that you have no idea what you are talking about.
  • Lying outrageously and expecting you to believe them.
  • Trying to break your confidence by claiming that other people have badmouthed you or that it is common knowledge that you do not know what you are talking about.

There is no limit to the sneaky tactics that narcissists are willing to resort to in order to get their own way. The best way to deal with them is to be prepared for anything.

What to keep in mind when trying to communicate with a narcissist


To combat these tactics, when the time comes to communicate with the narcissist you need to be prepared before the conversation even starts.

First and foremost, you need to be in control of your emotions. Narcissists are experts at playing on your emotions and getting you worked up. If you allow yourself to get emotional, they will use it against you. It is important to stay calm and focused on what you want to accomplish.

Focus on the main points you want to make. Do not get side-tracked by the narcissist’s attempts to change the subject. Stick to your guns and make sure you communicate your message to the narcissist clearly.

Do not let the narcissist bully you into agreeing with them. Listen to what they are saying and respond thoughtfully. However, do not be afraid to disagree with them. They will try to strongarm or intimidate you, but you need to stand your ground.

Do not attack or use critical language when communicating with a narcissist. This will only enrage them and make the situation worse. Instead, try using a little bit of flattery. Narcissists love compliments, so this may be the key to getting them to listen to you.

Make it clear that you will not be shouted at. If the narcissist gets aggressive, draw a clear boundary, saying something like “I will leave the room if you do not stop shouting,” or “I do not feel comfortable with your tone. We can continue the conversation when you have calmed down.” Once you have got to this point it is crucial that you follow through with your threat if they do not back down.

Do not engage in gossip to appease the narcissist. This will only make them think that you are on their side and that you share their values. It is important to remain professional at all times.

If the narcissist starts making personal attacks, remain calm and try to refocus the conversation on the issue at hand. If they continue with the attack, you may need to end the conversation.

Collect documentation to support your arguments. This will help you if the narcissist tries to twist your words or claim that you said something you never did. This will help to validate your points and give the narcissist less room to manoeuvre.

It is also a good idea to involve other people in the conversation, especially if you are concerned that the narcissist might get aggressive. Having other people in the room will help to defuse the situation and provide a check on the narcissist’s behaviour.

Remember, communicating with a narcissist can be difficult, but it is not impossible. By remaining calm and staying focused on your goals, you will be better equipped to handle these types of conversations.

The Takeaway

Communicating with a narcissist can be a difficult and frustrating experience. However, by following these tips, you can increase your chances of getting your point across, and hopefully, make the conversation a little less painful.

For Further Reading:

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. When you use one of my affiliate links, the company compensates me. At no additional cost to you, I’ll earn a commission, which helps me run this blog and keep my in-depth content free of charge for all my readers.

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