5 Tell-Tale Ways To Spot If You’re Talking To A Psychopath

Do any of these behaviours sound familiar to you?

Christian Bale in American Psycho.

It’s estimated that one in every 100 children born are psychopaths but sorting the sane from the psycho can be a lot tougher than you think.

There’s plenty of research out there pointing to certain traits to look out for though. Psychopaths have a tendency to use very specific phrases, for instance, or have been known to be rather partial to a gin and tonic.

Now Business Insider has looked into the specifics of what makes a psychopath and some of the most common conversational behaviours associated with the two conditions.

These are pretty general, of course, and spotting them might not be an obvious indicator of either issue but they are all still worth keeping in mind.


Speaking Slowly And Quietly

According to a 2016 review of studies, published in the journal Aggression and Violent Behavior, psychopaths have a tendency to speak slower than most other folk, taking the time to control their speech as much as possible. It goes further than that too: they also tend to try and maintain a neutral tone in their speech, avoiding emotive words.


Past-Tense Verbs

Have you ever noticed someone speaking in the past-tense? According to research, this may be an unconscious attempt to maintain psychological and emotional distance from particular topics of conversation.


Using Emotional Language

Psychopaths tend to display little in the way of emotion way using traditionally emotional language. For example, the way they say “I love you” may come off as though they were order a coffee in a shop or something equally mundane.


The Same Tired Stories

Psychology Today reports that psychopaths have a tendency to repeat stories. Stories that are often embellished in the first place.

According to their research, this is because “people are interchangeable in the eyes of a psychopath or a narcissist—one-dimensional beings in whom they have no genuine interest—it can be hard for them to remember what they’ve said, and to whom.”


Strange Questioning

In any normal conversation the way in which someone questions you can say a lot about their mental state. In the case of psychopaths they tend to go from one extreme to the other, either asking no personal questions or asking pointed questions in an attempt to mine you for information and identify weaknesses.

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