How to detect sociopathic behavior upon meeting someone for the first time

Written by jennifer leigh
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How to detect sociopathic behavior upon meeting someone for the first time
Sociopaths often have trouble displaying affection. (two people in love image by Andrii Oleksiienko from

Sociopathic behaviour, categorised as being a severe part of antisocial personality disorder, is a pattern that develops over time. Due to the behaviour being a part of a larger pattern, it can be difficult to detect when first meeting someone. Sociopaths are extremely manipulative and can come off as being grandiose and charming during first meetings. There are certain warning signs that you can observe, but these behaviours do not necessarily designate someone as being a sociopath. True sociopathic behaviour takes a professional opinion to diagnose.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Maintain good eye contact while talking and see if this is returned. Sociopaths often have a lack of consistent eye contact when speaking with others.

  2. 2

    Look for symptoms of sociopathic behaviour, including lying, aggressive behaviour, intimidating others, hurting people or animals and excessive use of alcohol or drugs.

  3. 3

    Ask about past relationships. Sociopaths tend to have had many bad relationships in their past. Of course, just because someone has not been successful in romantic relationships does not mean that they are a sociopath.

  4. 4

    Observe the way that the individual interacts with people they know. If they do not have friends or family that they are close to, this could be because they ruined those relationships in the past due to manipulative or hurtful behaviour.

  5. 5

    Ask about past legal problems. Sociopaths have often been in trouble with the law due to a disregard for rules of society. A true sociopath may not answer this question honestly, as lying and manipulation are both symptoms of sociopathic behaviour.

  6. 6

    Watch for a lack of empathy, meaning concern and care for others. Sociopaths often have a lack of empathy toward others. He also may identify himself as a victim. If he does not take responsibility for any of life's problems, this could be a warning sign.

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