Statistically speaking, within your lifetime you’ve met a psychopath.
Estimated to make up one per cent of the population, you might have been struck by their profound lack of empathy or their grandiose sense of self. Perhaps they revealed themselves to be a pathological liar, or demonstrated an inability to feel guilt or remorse. At first, they were probably charming – but before long you realised something wasn’t quite right.
Psychopaths, apart from being over represented in prisons, are drawn to careers in law, media or sales. Their most common position in the workplace, according to psychologist Kevin Dutton, is that of CEO.
How to tell if your boss is a psychopath. Post continues below.
So, how can you spot a psychopath in the first few minutes, and avoid being manipulated by one? The research provides some fascinating answers.
1. They’ll shower you in compliments
In Paul Babiak and Robert D. Hare’s book Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go To Work, they identify “excessive or incongruous compliments and flattery,” as a significant red flag. They recommend you ask yourself, “What does this person really want of me?” because extravagant compliments can often be a means to an end.
Furthermore, a psychopath is prone to making wild promises, or committing to favours you never asked for.
2. Their stories will draw a crowd
Psychotherapist and social worker Amy Morin says that psychopaths are quick to win you over with their wit and fascinating stories – that often aren’t true. They will leave you feeling positive.
Dr. Randall T. Salekin adds that they’re the person, “able to gather a crowd around them at the water cooler,” due to their impeccable storytelling abilities. At first, they will be “all charm,” and attempt to develop a close bond with you very quickly.