Are Softbois Really Just Narcissists? 6 Red Flags To Look For

We all have our insecurities. While some of us are able to face up to them, narcissists will do anything to escape their insecurities and, as such, inflate a false self to be maintained at all costs. This helps them to sustain the high from feeling superior and entitled. 

My friend and fellow psychologist Jonathan Marshall, Ph.D., describes softbois as affection-oriented narcissists, the “new-age boy schooled at tapping into the sensitive side, to harvest desire, love, and connection.” While there is nothing wrong with learning how to create and maintain connection, the softboi’s modus operandi comes from a deep-seated wound that expresses itself in creating relationships based on dependence.

Marshall posits that softbois’ flitting from one victim to another may indicate “someone starving for an emotional intensity but only looking for low-hanging intense connections.” He gives the example of a softboi whose wounding came from his childhood and from being heartbroken by his first girlfriend. Wanting revenge on women, he learned the rules of the game to hook women and hurt them.

For the softboi himself, this is akin to self-soothing with substances—it makes you feel good temporarily, but the hangover hurts. And then you self-soothe some more. 

It’s also possible that this stems from a sense of self-sabotage. The softboi knows he is unable to sustain longevity in relationships, and so he must create chaos to keep someone on their toes or discard his potential partner first before the mask slips, allowing others to realize he is really a fraud with little emotional intelligence. 

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