How to Deal With a Sociopathic Friend

Three Parts:Understanding sociopathic traitsDealing with your friend's sociopathic behaviorMoving on

Your "best friend" that you've known for years seems to be genuinely kind and caring, but at the end of the day, you're always left with the awkward feeling that you've done something wrong. If you experience this, your friend may be a sociopath. Understanding the traits of a sociopath will help you figure out how to deal with your friend and decide whether you want to continue the friendship. In some cases, breaking up with your friend might be the best solution for your emotional well being.

Part 1
Understanding sociopathic traits

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    What is a sociopath? Understanding what sociopaths are like is critical to reevaluating your relationship. Contrary to some beliefs, sociopaths are not serial killers by definition. Here are some definitions of sociopathy:[citation needed]
    • Sociopaths are more likely to be manipulating, pathological liars who get close with people in order to hurt them.
    • Sociopaths are not interested in friendship. What they want out of their “friendship” with you is a loyal follower. They might treat you like a friend to gain access to your companionship, but it is not sincere. As long as you provide some value to them, something they need, they will keep you around. But once they tire of you, you will be abandoned.
    • Sociopathy is connected to mental disorders, usually Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) and/or Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). The sociopath does not usually feel any guilt or remorse for the things they’ve done to others, nor do they feel normal compassion or love (although this is not always the case). Their friendship with you, along with any outward aspects of charisma, charm, caring, or affection, form part of their public persona.

Part 2
Dealing with your friend's sociopathic behavior

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    Figure out exact moments when you have felt abused within the friendship. Wrap your head around all the details, and try to identify whether there has been a lack of conscience, guilt, on your friend's part. To help clear your thoughts, write down the facts and your feelings for each moment when you felt wronged. There may be trends or correlations.
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    Identify the signs of sociopathy. This is always difficult, for a sociopath hides their true nature and tends to be very cunning. Signs of sociopathy may blend with signs of just someone who is simply a bad friend, or someone who has little experience with social interaction. Or, your friend may just be incredibly self-absorbed without being a sociopath.
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    Confront the friend and evaluate their reaction. Be calm and explain your reasoning in straight facts. Be honest, and don't try to make things sound better than you actually feel they are. Don't sell yourself short.
    • Sociopaths may become aggressive when their integrity is questioned. Rather than fighting the facts about their lying or manipulation, they may attack the person, or you, who is doing the questioning. They may use aggression, or even charm, to reclaim their lost ground.
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    Take care if you end up feeling like the guilty one. When confronted, the sociopath will seek to make you feel sorry for them. When you feel sorry for questioning them, they consider this a victory rather than caring about the reasons for your doubt.
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    Deal with the initial denial. Your friend's sociopathy will be hard to accept. Having been friends for so long, your friendship seemed so honest and true. However, it is important to remember that this friendship in itself is a farce. Here are things to remember:
    • Your "friend" is not actually a friend. The words "sociopathy" and "friend" are mutually exclusive because sociopaths are not capable of feeling positive emotions such as caring. They may have never been interested in your genuine friendship, just your loyalty and complicity.
    • Understand that you have been abused and manipulated. Even if your awkward feelings are small, they are signs that not everything is right with your friendship.

Part 3
Moving on

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    Let go of your anger. Once you realize you have been victimized by a sociopath, you may feel like getting even. But be warned: the sociopath has a lifetime of experience in screwing people over. You don't. Your chances of getting even are very small and risky. It's better to get over your anger than to seek to even the score. In fact, by wanting any sort of revenge, you keep buying into the sociopath's game playing; by letting go, you snuff out any final connection that allows you to be manipulated and used up.
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    Break the friendship. Tell the sociopath to leave you alone. Be assertive, firm, direct, and consistent. If you are unable to make your own decisions and stick to them, anyone can manipulate you with ease.
    • Breaking the friendship may actually be easy. To the sociopath, the friendship has been practically meaningless. It was only special to you. You need to realize a sociopath does not care about you, or your friendship. It has been nothing but a game to him/her. After breaking contact, you will notice the sociopath has immediately forgotten about you.
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    Inform other friends who have also befriended the sociopath. Do not talk negatively about your sociopathic friend. Instead, calmly explain examples of his sociopathic behavior. This is necessary because negative talk would make you highly unpopular amongst your other friends, and drive them deeper into the arms of the sociopath.


  • Be a kind non-judgmental friend. Since sociopathy is a difference in neurological functioning/attention, perhaps sociopaths ought to be treated as others. If they are rude or otherwise inconsiderate, let them know. If you enjoy spending time with them and value their company, let them know. Sociopaths happen to be humans with emotional issues, and like those with autistic spectrum disorders, need extremely clear directions surrounding emotional concerns--in addition to obvious ethical/moral guidance which society presupposes everyone needs. Sociopathy can result from maladaptive behaviors used for survival as well. Likely by treating the sociopath as a person, you can allow them to experience the pleasures kindness and trust with you which may cause them to seek to build that feeling with others, which requires kindness in return.
  • You don't always have to break the friendship. A Sociopath still has feelings, even if they're missing some and there are cases where a Sociopath will connect with a person, however rare. Just always be kind and take into consideration that everyone needs friends. Just make sure you are not being manipulated.


  • Do not try to change your sociopath friend by yourself. Let them seek professional help. You cannot change this person. Sociopathy is considered a permanent mental illness.[citation needed]

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Categories: Antisocial Borderline Histrionic and Narcissistic Disorders | Nuisances in Friendships | Articles in Need of Sources