[21 Tips] How To Respond To A Narcissist Text (2024)

Are you wondering how to respond to a narcissist text? This guide will explain the best way to do it.

In my role as a life coach, I am often helping clients understand how to communicate better with those around them.

That’s why I’m keen to share this guide with you. 

So, let’s dive in.  

What Is A Narcissist?

The video above defines narcissism really well.

In short, a narcissist is someone who only cares about their own needs and has no empathy for the feelings of others.

On the extreme end of the narcissistic spectrum, it’s officially recognised as a mental health condition called Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

To get a stronger idea of a narcissist’s texting habits, see my list of examples of typical narcissist text messages.  

Is It Worth Replying To A Narcissist?

Before we explore how to respond to a narcissistic text message, let’s consider whether it’s worth replying at all.

A narcissist is someone who takes from their so-called friends, without giving anything unless it serves them. Most narcissist texts are sent because they want your attention. 

As you’ll see from my list of narcissist text examples, these people are usually only telling you about themselves, starting drama or asking for favors.

You might be tempted to respond explaining why it’s wrong for them to do this, but this will typically be in vain. A narcissist does not listen to criticism, nor do they care if they make someone else feel uncomfortable.

They crave attention, so any response you craft will fuel their narcissistic supply and encourage them to send similar messages in future. As such, if a narcissist’s text upsets you, it’s usually best to ignore it. 

You can quickly feel exhausted when dealing with narcissists. In most cases, the best action is to delete a narcissist’s phone number and cut them out of your life. You can learn more about this in my guide on the Best Ways To Emotionally Detach From A Narcissist

What Happens When You Don’t Answer A Narcissist Text?

If you leave a narcissist’s text unanswered, don’t expect them to walk out of your life quietly.

More likely, they’ll up their efforts to regain your attention. They’ll send love bombs, fake caring messages, a huge word salad of emotions and whatever other narcissistic strategy they think will get you back onside. It might take a while for the mind games to cease. 

Don’t feel guilty if you continue to ignore them. You don’t owe them anything and your emotional well-being should come first.

Related Content: Do Narcissists Feel Guilt? 4 Key Insights

How To Respond To A Narcissist Text Message: 21 Tips

Sometimes, it’s not possible to ignore a narcissist or cut them out of your life. Perhaps you’re employed by a narcissist. Maybe you had a child with your narcissist ex-husband. Could it be that you have several narcissistic family members?

These are just three cases where texting with a narcissist is unavoidable. There are plenty more. 

That’s why I’ve compiled this list of tips for responding to narcissist text messages.

1. Stay Calm

Sometimes, a narcissistic message will immediately incite you to reply with a rage-fuelled word salad. This rarely helps you.

It’s better to understand your body’s reactions, practice grounding exercises and respond only when you’re back at a normal resting heart rate. This way, you can choose your words carefully and send thoughtful messages.   

2. Keep It Brief

If you’re responding only because you feel compelled to, keep the conversation brief. Reply with just one word if possible.

3. “You Can’t Tell Me What To Do”  

Often, you’ll find a narcissist feels entitled to boss you around. A simple response of “you can’t tell me what to do” is a power move.

How To Respond To A Narcissist Text
Image by wayhomestudio on freepik.com

4. Call Out What They’re Doing 

If you spot a narcissist playing games to get what they want from you, explain exactly what they’re trying to do. Then, read my list of reactions to expect when a narcissist knows you have them figured out.

5. Set Firm Boundaries When Texting With A Narcissist 

Narcissists will often feel entitled to your uninterrupted attention, and may scold you for not replying quickly enough. If this happens, calmly explain that you’re entitled to reply when you’re good and ready.

6. Don’t Apologise When Setting Boundaries

Don’t apologise when enforcing personal boundaries. Most narcissists will see this as a sign of low self-esteem on your part and keep pushing these boundaries.

Resist from even sending half-apologies. You have nothing to be sorry for.

7. Stick To The Point   

When called out for their narcissistic abuse, narcissists will often deflect from the topic. If they do, calmly ask them to stay on topic.

8. Focus On What Needs To Change

If you’re trying to change a narcissist’s behavior, focus your words on their behavior only. Don’t make them out to be a bad person. Most narcissists will shut down and ignore your feedback if you criticize them as a person.

Related: What Makes A Narcissist Panic? – Proven Strategies

9. Include Compliments With Your Constructive Feedback

Here’s an example.

“I had such a good night with you. Our relationship is great. Only you can make me feel so amazing, but I really need X, Y and Z.” 

Including an ego boost in your messages will make narcissists more receptive to keep talking about this topic.  

10. Praise Good Behavior 

If a narcissist does change their ways when you ask, make sure to praise them. Don’t underestimate the impact of positive attention on a narcissistic person. 

11. Resist Personal Insults

This will usually push you further away from the desired outcome of your conversation.

12. How To Respond To Gaslighting

If you call out a narcissist, they may try and make you believe you were imagining things. It’s called gaslighting. If they do this, don’t stray from your own personal account. A useful phrase to use is “this was my experience” before explaining what happened.  

13. In A Relationship, You’re Supposed To Be A Team, Not Opponents

Narcissists tend to forget (or not care about) this relationship attitude. It can be useful to remind yourselves of this, before exploring how to reach a compromise.

14. Don’t Take Their Charms At Face Value

Narcsissists will often shower you with compliments to get what they want. During this ‘love bombing’ stage, you can thank them for their compliments, but keep your wits about you and realize it might be an attempt to manipulate you.

15.  Self-Worth Is Key

A high level of self-worth is the most important thing to ensure you spot all the traits of a narcissist and not fall victim to their manipulation. For more on this, see my list of hacks to love yourself enough.

16. Keep Other Close Friendships 

When you text with other friends who aren’t narcissists, it will become easier to spot the traits of narcissists in their messages. 

17. Have Serious Conversations In-Person

If you need to have a serious conversation with a narcissist, talk briefly on the phone and ask to meet in person. This way, no details get lost in the nuances of a text message. 

18. How To Respond To A Narcissist Insults

Most narcissists use personal insults as bait to get more attention from you. Negative attention still fuels their narcissistic supply.

It might also be a strategy to deflect from an uncomfortable topic… 

So, don’t bite. Tell them you don’t appreciate personal insults and that you’d prefer to stick to the topic at hand. 

19. Ask Them To Explain Themselves

Narcissists love to write cryptic or passive-aggressive comments to attract your attention. They’re the only people who do this, by the way. It’s one of the clearest red flags to out a narcissistic person. 

Anyway, you can choose to brush it off, or you can ask what this narcissist meant by that comment. If you choose the second option, don’t fall into the trap of talking about other things until they have explained themselves.

20. What To Say To Disarm A Narcissist?

The best way to disarm a narcissist is to ignore their texts, or show as little investment as possible. By cutting off your emotional investment, you cut off their narcissistic supply.

If they criticize you, say: “so what?”

If they explain why their opinion must surely matter, ask: “why do you care so much?” 

This neutral approach will disarm them far more effectively than engaging in conflict.  

21. Phrases To Respond To A Narcissist

Here are some great phrases to respond to a narcissistic message. 

“Ok, cool.”

“Good to know.”

“That’s nice.”

“So what?”

“Sorry you feel that way.”

Related Content: EXPERT Tips – How To Talk To A Narcissist

Any Questions?

Thanks for reading my guide on how to respond to narcissistic text messages. 

If you have a question about narcissistic texting, feel free to write it in the comments section below.

I’d love to hear your own observations about texting with a narcissist or your own experiences in a social environment with one.

So, shoot me a comment now!

About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.