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Ten Ways To Tell If You’re Dating A Sociopath

Published on March 3, 2012 by   ·   61 Comments Pin It

You need to be aware who you let into your life, single ladies and menfolk. Sociopaths are often hard to spot, as they can be charming with amazing social skills. Sociopaths are smooth talkers, always have an answer, and can seem very exciting. But their charm hides a chilly selfishness designed to torment. Learn how to identify and avoid sociopaths by reading 10 ways to spot a sociopath (aka con artist) on your first date;

There are people in the world who don’t care about love, and who feel no remorse, empathy or emotional attachment to others. They don’t even know what these feeling are. These people are called sociopaths. Most people think of a sociopath as a deranged serial killer, but, with 4% of the population having the character traits of a sociopath, most sociopaths never physically harm anyone. Sociopaths do however ruin lives, empty bank accounts, and cause untold emotional trauma, using simply the fact that they don’t care.

The Absence of Feelings:
Sociopaths may seem to laugh or cry but they present with no depth of emotion. While easily provoked to frustration or rage, their display of feeling is little more than a momentary, isolated temper tantrum. To the sociopath, other people are tools to  get them what they want: money, sex, a job or other possessions. They live in their own amoral world where nothing they do has any consequences and where they owe no one anything. They have no empathy. Thus, they elude all responsibility for their actions, and can easily turn the tables, blaming their partner without guilt or shame.

The Relentlessness of Deception: Sociopaths lie all the time. As they don’t view their spouse as a thinking, feeling person, they do not see this behavior as wrong. Their only quest is to serve themselves and, if this entails lying, cheating or even murder, they will do so. If one catches them in lies, they are brilliant at changing the subject, placing the onus on the other person, denying their involvement or trying to make their spouse seem crazy. They are even good at deceiving the police and the court system; sociopaths rarely end up in prison for their actions.

The Impulsiveness of Action: Sociopathic individuals rarely plan ahead. They undertake actions on the basis of momentary whims, often devious ones. Every act seems isolated in its own amoral universe. Thus, they cannot keep promises or repair the damage they’ve caused to others. When they lie, cheat or steal, the act exists solely for them; they believe it should have no repercussions or real world effects. They often appear to have “forgotten” they did something shortly after it happened. Their need for excitement encourages them to get involved in one night stands, shady deals and ill advised engagements. Sociopaths have no sense of commitment to their spouses, any children they may have together or the future.


Sociopaths have impressive social skills, thereby making them extremely hard to spot. They are charming, funny and exciting. This is why we need to be aware. If your new romantic interest exhibits all or most of the following behaviors, be careful. He or she might be a sociopath.

1) Charisma and charm:
They’re smooth talkers, always have an answer, never miss a beat. They seem to be very exciting. Their manners are impeccable; they are well groomed; they fulfill the codes of romance and courtship to a tee. They are likely to be eloquent talkers who lace their speech with impressive sounding facts and figures. They may be fun, laugh a lot, sweep their partner off their feet with their sweetness.

2) Enormous ego: They act like the smartest, richest or most successful people around. They may actually come out and tell you that.

3) Overly attentive: They call, text and e-mail constantly. They want to be with you every moment. They resent time you spend with your family and  friends.

4) Jekyll and Hyde personality: One minute they love you; the next minute they hate you. Their personality changes like flipping a switch.

5) Blame others: Nothing is ever their fault. They always have an excuse. Someone else causes their problems.

6) Lies and gaps in the story. You ask questions, and the answers are vague. They tell stupid lies. They tell outrageous lies. They lie when they’d make out better telling the truth. If you probe deeper, you’ll find that their stories never stack up.

7) Intense eye contact: Call it the predatory stare. If you get a chill down your spine when they look at you, pay attention.

8) Move fast: They quickly proclaim that you’re their true love and soul mate. They want to move in together or get married quickly.

9) Pity play: They appeal to your sympathy. They want you to feel sorry for their abusive childhood, psychotic ex, incurable disease or financial setbacks.

10) Sexual magnetism: If you feel intense attraction, if your physical relationship is unbelievable, it may be their excess testosterone.

Some doctors call them sociopaths, others refer to them as psychopaths. Either way, the terms are used to describe individuals who have a range of personality disorders. These people are NOT certifiably mentally ill; they are biological carriers of socially and personally problematic traits. Such traits may have been manifested from childhood in acts of cruelty to animals, property or people. These characteristics can disrupt relationships, create financial and emotional crises, and, at their worst, lead the person to callously undertake acts of vandalism, theft, rape or murder. Being aware what constitutes a sociopath can help one resist their charm and the errors inherent in establishing a life with them.

Sociopaths know exactly what they are doing, and most of them never kill anyone. But they are social predators who exploit just about everyone they meet. They have no heart, no conscience and no remorse.

You can’t ‘cure’ a sociopath or help them to see the error of their ways. They don’t see the world as we do, so the only thing you can do, is save yourself and walk away.

Dr Annabelle R Charbit is the Author of A Life Lived Ridiculously; “When a girl with obsessive compulsive disorder falls in love with a sociopath, she must fight for her sanity and her life.” Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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Readers Comments (61)

  1. Susan A. says:

    Great article! Not that i am glad to be so familiar with them but i can point them out easily now! They all seem to descend in big cities and meet me and all my friends!!

    • Carol says:


  2. This describes New York City men to a T. I’ve dated many men like this. In fact my ex boyfriend whom I was friends with for 17 years before turning romantic was exactly like this. His behavior started this way only after our relationship turned romantic/sexual. I dumped him after he started acting this way for I thought I don’t need this abuse.

  3. tray says:

    this goes way beyond dating and into the realm of the everyday american. this society creates, nurtures, coddles and rewards sociopaths. many men, especially gathered together in groups are naturally, inherently sociopathic, just look at any male/dick dominated field and see what abuses they inflict on women, the earth and others too, and their record on human rights and abuses. this is seen in government, military, sports, banking, wall street, almost everywhere really! jewish people are also inculcated at an early age that they are ‘special’ ‘the chosen people’ and experience exceptionalism (wall st, banking, ceo’s, israel, no conscience) and this of course is breeding grounds for a sociopathic personality and extends into a sociopathic culture which the US and israel have burdened themselves with and have become the understandable hatred of the world. women can easily become narcissists though their heart energy, sensitivity and compassion (with the natural biological characteristic of the womb) can prevent callous sociopathy in them, though it can happen, but in general just manifests as selfishness, not in extreme societal danger.

  4. tray says:

    wanted to mention also that the article was good otherwise, and was glad to see some consciousness raising and warning of peoples everywhere how common this sickness is and how our culture actually creates this type of narcissistic or/and sociopathic
    behavior. though, yes, indeed it is a sickness and more of a threat to society than any terrorist etc, but we can also change this by demanding responsibility from society (gov’t, etc) and communities and the people will have to measure up. our economy and a large portion of our society become the victims of these sociopaths/psychopaths/narcissists and it becomes an epidemic for society in general in various forms. but thanks for sharing this much needed discussion and posting the easy to read format too…

  5. Birdie says:

    Ok, so I will concede that this article makes some good points and it’s good to be on the lookout for people who might hurt you. BUT…as a person who is studying Psychology and plans to have a career in the forensic area of it, I can tell you that the last few paragraphs are NOT accurate.

    1) The terms “sociopath” and “psychopath” are NOT interchangeable. This is one of the most common errors in both pop culture and popular psychology. I’m really surprised that, as a neuroscientist, Dr. Charbit did not make that distinction.

    2)As much as it is important to understand that you shouldn’t date people who will hurt you, it is also dangerous to assume that anyone who has any of these characteristics is a sociopath. People who are not trained in mental health or psychology could start looking at anyone who might just be an asshole and start diagnosing them as a sociopath.

    In other words, this article is good in that it reminds you not to date assholes. However, telling people that every asshole they meet is a sociopath is not the way to go about it. And you need to make sure you have your terminology right if you’re going to start encouraging this kind of untrained diagnosing.

  6. Julia says:

    Bravo Birdie! An intelligent comment for a change. I agree with you completely.

    Many of these authors are out to make a few bucks and so the truth of the matter goes out the window to make the book appeal to the masses.

    The worst sort of books are the “self-help” books that are just like the home doctoring book my mom had. Everyone had every ailment under the sun after reading that.

    It takes skilled practitioners to diagnose illness of any serious degree. Leave that job to the experts!

  7. Did you two above not read about the author of this post? She is Dr Annabelle R Charbit… DOCTOR. Neurology. Not many more people who know more about the brain than her.

  8. Julia says:

    Well, let’s not get confused about knowing about the brain which I have no doubt she does, and sociology and psychology that are called something different, because they are not neurology! Comprende?

  9. Allow me to clear something up. I am by no means suggesting that every ahole is a sociopath, just that sociopaths do display these characteristics and that we (you, me and especially our children) need to be aware of these malicious predators who roam among us.
    As for the distinction between sociopaths and psychopaths, psychopaths a basically sociopaths who commit violent acts. Take away the violence and they are just sociopaths. But the lack of empathy, remorse and a basic moral code is evident in both.
    Finally, I would like to add that until I was personally preyed on by a sociopath, I didn’t even know the meaning of the word. With as many as one in twenty five in the population falling into the category of sociopath, it would be nice if we made our children aware with the same dedication as we make them aware of birth control.
    Anyway that’s my 50 cents. I’m not pedalling a self help book, just a novel detailing my own experiences of dating a sociopath.

  10. Aimee Woods says:

    Even licensed doctors have a difficult time “diagnosing” sociopaths/psychopaths (title depends on the country you live in), aka Antisocial Personality Disorder, Conduct Disorder and a myriad of other disorders. My Dean of Psychology admitted to being fooled a time or two. This is a good article. It’s very basic so even those who haven’t studied psychology can recognize the red flags. Don’t feed the trolls. Ignore them and they’ll go away, just like the sociopaths they defend.

  11. Omni says:

    I just lost a girl I started to love to a sociopath. She is hooked into him now..

    I gave way for about a month.. no attention to the girl.. She went else where before I could come back and give her what she needed..

    Its to late: He’s got her… she thinks he’s super man.. A man of enormous status to jump for.. I know better. He is not a human being. He is a monster.

    However, I don’t feel sorry for the girl. . she is just as much a sociopath as he is. She feels empowered…

    The whole thing is sicking. God has let me know that Im to run as fast as possible in the opposite direction and never come back or look back…

  12. Amy says:

    I think i am married to a sociopath. He has a really big ego, well liked, very successful. Friends of his think well of him and mine cant be fooled by his charm. I have humiliated in the privatency of outr home and in public. He Hates that i spend time time with my family and he thinks he is the only family i should have. He borrows money from me when he makes more then i do. Do i stay or do i go.

    • Amy
      He certainly seems to possess some of the characteristics. Certainly without a psychiatric assessment, much less and MRI of his brain, you can’t know for sure. But the charisma coupled with resenting time you spend with your friends (in fact your entire description) suggests that something is amiss. If you are involved with a sociopath, then the best (and only) thing you can ever do is run run run!!!

  13. Michelle says:

    I went through almost a year of absolute HELL with one of these parasites. It is NOTHING I would ever wish upon anyone, ever. I welcome anyone with skype chat id’s or would like to converse over email to reach me if you need to talk about your experience. I will share with you mine, and let you know that you are NOT alone. I’ve seen too many of these stories circulating, and hopefully my words will help. Skype Chat ID misseastcide

    Be well

    • Thank you Michelle. You should tell your story. It is important to make people aware of these human predators who make up 4% of our population, according to current studies. We all need to know that sociopaths exist and be on the lookout. Without information we are perfect prey!

  14. Susan says:

    My father acted like a sociopath when we were growing up, but he stopped and completely changed his personality once he retired from his cutthroat profession.

    My sister has been involved with someone who has narcissistic/sociopathic/borderline behaviors for 20 years. I was targeted by an actual sociopath two years ago which is how I even know this exists. I thought it was just a Silence of the Lams aberration before–I didn’t think it was common.

    Anyway, the fact that someone can have sociopathic behavior and then change (like my father) begs the question, Can it just be a behavioral issue for some? The anxiety/stress their feeling, a situation in which they feel insecure and our expected to have a big ego, puts them at risk for acting like this?

    • Mark says:

      Couldn’t agree with you more. Your gut feeling is correct in that under times of stress some of our character traits that may be more prominent will be amplified and I’m sure could border on qualifying some people as disordered. Personality Inventories are commonly taken on individuals in the criminal system to sort such capacities (see MMPI, PAI Assessments) Behavior and traits are a spectrum, not all or nothing. I believe Dr Charbit was simply providing a very valuable set of guidelines for young girls/boys to be aware of so that they can try to avoid the devastating consequences of a relationship with someone who is without conscience. I only wish I would have known such red flags when I was dating. My family recognized them but I wouldn’t listen. These separations are very different than a typical “we weren’t right for each other” healthy break-up. Young people need to understand this.

  15. Bob says:

    I dated a woman for 2 and 1/2 years. After she broke up with me I had gone to see a therapist. Him hearing my story and all that happened in the relationship, he mentioned that it sounded as If I had been dating a sociopath. I never really knew what a sociopath was. I started reading books on the subject and the hair on the back of my neck stood up. Every little nuance, feigned expressions of emotion, acts of pure callous, cruel behavior were all understandable to me now. This book helped me with all the “Answers” one seeks after the trauma of dating someone like this. I understood. I was with one for sure. No Doubt in my mind. I was totally messed up for 6 months after this relationship. It changed me in so many ways forever!

  16. Lochness says:

    Thank you so much for this article, and all the comments. It really made me feel better about having my life turned upside down a few years ago by my definitely sociopathic ex-BF, the tens of thousands of dollars that I was in debt for because of him, and the shame and humiliation that went along with all of it. It amazed me that I could get pulled in like that–it was like I was under a spell. I am normally a tough-talking take-no-shit woman, so I still to this day can’t quite wrap my head around how I let myself ignore all the red flags and get dragged into a living hell. And not just red flags–red flags doused in kerosene and set on fire. His previous exes contacted me and to me what he did to them–I couldn’t believe that they reached out to me, we were like war veterans. I found out recently that he has a new GF, and I contacted her and tried to warn her, but she’ll probably ignore my warning just like I did. I mean, his best friends told me he was bad news!! If that’s not a warning, then I don’t know what is! Anyway, thanks again.

  17. chinchon says:

    The father of my son displays many of these tendencies. I wish I had seen them before. It’s too late now he gave me an incurable STD, lied and cheated, spent my money and saved his. He does not care who he hurts, even treats his mother like crap. Until i read about how charming they can seem @ first I never understood his change toward me. Now I am 1 year away from graduating and cant wait to get away out of the state I think that’s the only way he will leave me alone.

  18. Sasha Cohen says:

    This is a great blog post. I have always had relationship issues and have started to follow the advice of Dr. Robi Ludwig. I saw her on a tv show once and I really appreciated her take on current dating issues. I found her YouTube channel and have really enjoyed her outlook on relationships. I have included her youtube channel so other people can see her videos:

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