4 Key Differences between Confidence and Narcissism

There is a fine line between having confidence and being narcissistic. Although the differences are there, people sometimes confuse the two and are unsure whether one has high self-esteem or is self-absorbed. In all fairness, the external façades of confident and narcissistic people may have similar characteristics. People who are either confident or narcissistic may display desirable traits such as success, charisma, energy and charm.

Whilst on the outside they may have similar traits, their inherent natures are different, very much opposite actually. Self-confidence is necessary for one’s success and development. Narcissism, on the other hand, can be destructive both for the narcissist and also his closest ones. In this article, we discuss the key differences.

Confidence allows empathy

You might be surprised to hear that confident people do not think about themselves too often. People with a certain degree of confidence are able to see things from the viewpoints of others. Narcissism, on the contrary, does not allow one to go beyond himself and think about the needs of others. This is one of the key differentiators, so be aware!

Narcissists seek constant approval

People with confidence are not constantly seeking the approval of others because they know that they are valid contributors. Narcissists, on the other hand, are dependant on the affirmation of others for their emotional stability. It is precisely this reason as to why narcissists are highly concerned when it comes to the way other people view them. Confident people would be genuinely pleased to see others grow and develop whilst narcissists are solely concerned with their own self-development. Confident people are not threatened by the success of others, whilst narcissists are, since they are insecure. At its worst form, narcissism seeks to do harm to those who are considered a threat.

Confidence means accountability

Confident people are accountable for their decisions and actions and would be willing to accept the blame if justifiable. Narcissists, on the other hand, are more survival oriented and would be willing to displace blame even when at fault. It is difficult for narcissists to accept fault because they have their identities attached to success and achievement where their self-worth is dependent on these elements.


A confident person will understand that although he is a valid contributor, he is part of a bigger picture. A narcissist, on the other hand will view himself as the sole component which matters and without him, everything stops.

Whilst we may know people who possess these traits, hence label them narcissists, it is important to keep in mind that to some extent, these are present within all of us. Managing them is a lifelong process which is necessary for a psychologically healthy individual.

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