Sociopaths are some of the most dangerous people in the world with recent studies reporting they make up to 4% of the American population. That means 1 in every 25 people could be a sociopath. What makes this even scarier is how easily they charm and manipulate the people around them, making them appear as innocent as a kitten. But once the sociopath has gotten their claws into you, they’ll show their true colors and put you at risk of severe psychological or physical damage. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the warning signs.
Want to know if you’ve met a sociopath? Then make sure to read until the end! Our favorite tip for spotting a sociopath is number 7. It really helped us identify a sociopath who snuck under the radar.
1. They are extremely charming and magnetic.
One of the reasons why sociopaths are so dangerous is because of how easily they can waltz into any environment and charm the people around them. Often times, they’ve learned to use their charm, wit, and intellect to draw people in. Sometimes they put a large focus on their appearance and personal grooming, making themselves even more attractive and alluring to potential targets.
Sociopaths can use their charisma for a variety of goals in different settings. As a candidate for a job interview, they may seem like the dream employee, only to show their true colors after they’ve gotten the job. In a romantic setting, they may flourish you with compliments and promises of a perfect future, making you infatuated only to disappear and leave you heartbroken.
Not everyone who is charismatic is sociopathic but if you feel like they’re too good to be true, it could be an indication they are.
2. They don’t have many, if any, friends. If they do have friends they may not want you to meet them.
How can someone who is so charming, witty, and kind-hearted have no, or few, friends?
If they seem like the perfect employee or your soulmate, but has no social life, it’s likely they’ve already burned all their bridges. Pay attention to the way they speak about previous people who were once in their life. If they speak negatively of them, blaming them for severed ties, it could be the other way around.
If they do have friends, but refuse to let you meet them, this is another red flag. A sociopath would be worried about their friends sharing unfavorable information about them to you so they prefer to control the situation by never introducing you to them.
Someone’s social life tells a lot about them, so pay attention to your suspected sociopath’s social life.
3. They constantly crave or emit dominance.
A trademark feature of a sociopath is their disregard, or violation, of other people’s rights and boundaries.
Sociopaths are fuelled by dominating people. They love gaining power. Sometimes they dominate people for the purpose of a specific goal. For example, a sociopath may marry someone solely to gain access to their finances or might bully a coworker out of a job so they can take it.
Sometimes there isn’t any goal in mind other than relieving boredom. They’ll dominate someone solely to enjoy the feeling of it. They might play mind games with you, sending you a loving text message after weeks of silence simply to see if you’re still on their hook, just to disappear again.
Sociopaths view humans as a “means to an end” and will dominate them, either physically or emotionally, in order to get what they want. Whether it’s money, status, or sex, a sociopath will do whatever it takes to ensure they get what they want.
4. They’re impulsive.
If you notice that someone in your life acts impulsively, rarely thinking of the consequences of their behavior, they could be a sociopath.
Sociopaths have little impulse control. This leads to all kinds of unpredictable, often dangerous, behavior. Because of their little impulse control, it’s not uncommon for sociopaths to have substance use problems or a criminal record.
If this sounds like someone you know, keep an eye out for any other sociopathic signs.
5. They can work any occupation, but often have job instability.
People often view sociopaths as either being criminals or extremely successful businessmen. The truth is, sociopaths are found in all careers, from business executives to kitchen chefs.
However, a sociopath’s impulsive and irresponsible nature often shines through in their career. While they may not have an issue finding a job, keeping a job, and maintaining positive relationships with coworkers is a challenge for them.
Because of this, a sociopath may often have periods of unemployment, even late in their adult life. If someone in your life has gaps in between unemployment and struggles to hold down a job, they might be a sociopath.
6. They play the victim.
Sociopaths often play the victim to gain sympathy from you. They might do this as a way of shifting blame when someone confronts them, or they might do it unprompted.
A sociopath might fabricate or embellish a story from their past where they were wrongly taken advantage of, abused, or experienced a tragedy of some sort. Whatever it is, they were not at fault. However, it is often the opposite that is true.
Regardless, sociopaths love gaining sympathy from people around them. If you feel like someone is repeatedly trying to gain sympathy from others by claiming to be a victim, especially if they take no accountability themselves, they might be a sociopath.
7. They lack empathy, though can fake it like a Hollywood actor.
Sociopaths are skilled actors. This makes it difficult to determine whether their empathy is genuine or not.
A good way to determine if someone is truly a good, empathetic person and not just faking it, pay attention to their actions and not their words.
Maybe you come to them, opening up about a vulnerable side of you, perhaps about a traumatic event in your life. When in the moment, they might console you, express empathy, and let you know that you’re right for feeling that way. They’ll say they will support you through whatever you need. The next week, however, they may patronize you for your vulnerabilities and act callously like the interaction never happened.
If you don’t have a close enough relationship where you would be vulnerable with them, pay attention to how they speak about themselves. If they claim to be an empathetic and altruistic individual, yet they spend most of their time speaking callously about others, their actions aren’t matching their words.
If you notice this, they could be a sociopath.
8. They have a complete disregard for right and wrong.
Sociopaths do not have a conscience and do things for their own personal gain. Because of this, they don’t care about laws, social norms, or morals. Sociopaths might steal or commit fraud to gain material possessions. Or, they may cheat on their significant others simply because they want sex, not caring about their loved one’s emotions.
Sociopaths will completely disregard right and wrong for their own benefit. If you know someone like this, they might be a sociopath.
9. They are irresponsible and unreliable.
Sociopaths are notoriously flaky, unreliable people. This contributes to their employment instability and lack of friends.
Sociopaths often view themselves as being the most important focus, thus they’ll brush anything off that might get in their way of doing what they want. This can harm them, especially if it’s important medical appointments or court dates. However, it can also be very hurtful to the people who love them.
If you feel like you can’t rely on someone, while you feel you’re always there for them, it’s a sign they’re likely a sociopath.
10. They are aggressive.
Sociopaths are often both verbally and physically aggressive. They have a short fuse and can be very irritable, especially if they feel someone has wronged them.
Due to their impulsive nature plus their disregard for safety and morals, this makes sociopaths dangerous. Sometimes they’ll use this aggression as a way to make you fear them so it’s easier to dominate and control you. Regardless, aggression is an essential trait of sociopathy and if someone is excessively aggressive, you must tread with caution.
11. You catch them lying all of the time.
Sociopaths are incredibly good liars and often do it compulsively. Sometimes they lie in order to evade consequences, but other times they’ll lie for the sake of appearing more interesting, successful, or to gain sympathy.
Even if the sociopath is caught in a lie, they’ll often still deny it or make up a new web of lies to explain it.
If someone you know seems to lie about everything, keep your guard up.
12. They seek revenge.
Sociopaths often get preoccupied with ideas of revenge, frequently even acting them out. They hate being wronged or undermined and will do insane, unfathomable things to ensure the person who wronged them pays for what they did.
They will hold grudges against people. The person they want revenge against may not even be aware that the sociopath was even offended, but meanwhile, the sociopath is plotting their revenge.
This can involve extreme cases, like murder for revenge. Or, they might cheat on their spouse as a way of getting revenge rather than merely ending a relationship. Regardless, the sociopath will feel completely justified in their revenge. If any of these tips remind you of someone you know, you might have a sociopath in your life.
We hope these tips helped you identify any hidden sociopaths in your life!