Do you have a friend that seems great at first but something is just… off about them? Maybe you guys are always fighting, or maybe it just doesn’t seem like they’re ever listening to you. If you ever feel like that, then unfortunately you may have let a dark triad, a sinister combination of narcissism, Machiavellism, and psychopathy into your life.
Dark triads exist everywhere: in the workplace, in the dating world, and even in your inner circle of friends. But although these types of people can be found everywhere, it probably is not a good idea at all to invite them into your life. But how do you identify a dark triad? And what are some traits that are unique to them?
Make sure to read until the end to find out because the last one is quite disturbing, and might give you a better look into how people with Dark Triad traits think.
Number 8: You find yourself attracted to them.
Scarily enough, as Dr. Jade Wu says in her study about the dark triad, we usually find ourselves drawn to or attracted by traits found in the dark triad. She elaborates that both men and women find people with just a bit of psychopathy or dominance attractive, and will naturally find themselves drawn to this behavior. This is amplified by the fact that people within the dark triad are usually hyper-aware of how they are perceived and are talented at molding that to their advantage, attracting you even more.
If you find yourself being into someone that doesn’t really seem to care about you, or seems “too cool” for you, then you might just be dealing with a dark triad. People with dark triad traits can be really difficult to spot, and the challenge lies in how long it can take to see their guard drop for even a moment. Usually, this will come in the form of catching them in a lie or realizing they may not care as much about you as you do about them.
Many people ignore these warning signs, but the best way to prevent yourself from being drawn in by a dark triad is to take your time and wait for things to play out. Don’t be impulsive and play into their game.
Number 7: They like being the center of attention.
If your friend or partner is always talking about how they want to be the center of attention, or fighting for it whenever you hang out with them, then they could be exhibiting classic narcissistic tendencies, one of the core components of the dark triad. This person will feel entitled to your time, and attention, and even expect you to entertain them, and will lash out when it doesn’t go their way.
Narcissists can really suck the energy out of a person with their constant need for attention, so it is probably the easiest trait to spot within the dark triad. Despite this, it usually takes a little while to spot a narcissist since they are so good at being able to reflect on the positive traits they know people enjoy. While it can be tricky, if you are patient and observant, you shouldn’t have a problem spotting a person that would rather be admired than try to make a real connection with you.
Narcissists usually come off very well: they dress nicely, are friendly, and don’t display any signs of awkwardness, making you feel like you might be a good match for one another. A study even shows that narcissists are more likely to have perfectly groomed eyebrows since they care so much about how they are perceived!
Number 6: They are strategic in their relationships.
It’s a shame that Machiavelli’s name is now synonymous with scheming and manipulation, but that’s exactly what Machiavellism means, and is one of the three major signs that someone is a dark triad. This kind of person will carefully pick the friendships and relationships in their life based not on a personal connection, but instead on trying to build wealth or status. You should be very careful around people displaying Machiavellian tactics since they are likely to use whatever information they have against you in the future.
Be sure to check out our video on the signs someone is a Machiavellian linked below in the description, to help you spot these scheming types. Being a Machiavellian doesn’t just mean that you observe others and get information, though, it also means that you are willing to use it to further your own needs and desires. Dark triads are likely to lash out if they feel they are wronged and will do so in ways like spreading rumors about you and trying to turn people against you. Dark triads can be really toxic, and their Machiavellian nature means that more likely than not they end up hurting you in the process.
Number 5: They are reckless thrill-seekers.
The second third of the dark triad is psychopathy. While we often think of psychopaths as dangerous serial killers that show no remorse, this is actually just a Hollywood interpretation of the trait. Dr. Jade Wu says that everyone is actually on the psychopathy spectrum, and having this trait alone doesn’t mean that you’re going to become Hannibal Lecter or something.
A good way to identify people with this trait is to look for if they show empathy and compassion for others, as a lack of empathy is typical among psychopathic people. The part of it that ties into the dark triad, however, is to look for someone who displays a lack of empathy with a thrill-seeking nature, such as a person who prides themselves in being “out of control”. These people tend to be quite callous as well, so look out for how they treat strangers and those outside of your friend group for a better glimpse at their true nature.
A study also showed that these thrill-seekers are more likely to take part in meaningless sex with people and that they enjoy the lack of connection in these situations. Dark triads are interested in the passion paired with the meaninglessness of it, and this is not to say that if you engage in casual sex you are a psychopath, but instead that it is a trait commonly found in people with psychopathic tendencies.
Number 4: They are jealous and likely to seek revenge.
When it comes to forming a friendship with a person with Dark Triad tendencies, it is very important to remember that they are very insecure people. And like most insecure people, they are prone to jealousy, and even in some circumstances revenge. This is why entering into a romantic relationship with a Dark Triad can not only be tiring but also potentially dangerous. Dark triads tend to have something called preventive jealousy, which means that they get jealous before they even have a reason to be.
These types of people are more likely to take revenge if they feel slighted, and studies have found that if they find themselves in an unfaithful relationship they are far more likely to retaliate in some way. Dark triads can become venomous when they are confronted with feelings of jealousy and will lash out at their partner if they feel like they are losing control over the other person. This is because dark triads desire to have complete emotional control over their partners, and can’t stand other people, even friends, having a say in their partner’s life
. Interestingly enough, the same study that we referenced before found that even though dark triads are more likely to seek out revenge, they are also more likely to stay with their partner afterward. It is theorized that this is so they can guilt the partner and gain even more control over them.
Number 3: They lie or cheat.
Funnily enough, dark triads are more likely to cheat on their partners, even though they are extremely aware of how much it hurts them. That’s the case because they are impulsive, and the thrill of sneaking around under your nose just usually isn’t something they can ignore, no matter how good or bad the relationship is going. Dark triads also have a hard time telling the truth, and although at the beginning may weave amazing stories that pull you in, by the end you will see right through them to the much less interesting truth.
These types of people can’t keep the charade going forever, and so are also more likely to jump from friend group to friend group, as dark triads don’t want to be around people that don’t admire them.
Number 2: They always play the victim.
For a dark triad, whenever something bad happens to them, it’s either an act of god or someone else’s fault. It goes against everything in their life to admit to others that they may have made a mistake, and so it is usually really difficult to get to the truth of things. Dark triads are great at gaslighting, and may also try and convince you that they did nothing wrong to make themselves feel better too.
Number 1: They have a need to be fulfilled.
Whether it’s with money, material possessions, or living an interesting life, a dark triad will not share the same goals in life that the typical person has. Dark triads want to hoard wealth or entertainment and don’t see a reason why anyone else in the world should have any of it. If you frequently find yourself frustrated that you aren’t getting out what you put in with a friendship, it could be because of this trait, as their narcissism prevents them from seeing you as an equal.
Dark triads feel as if the smoke and mirrors surrounding them hides their reality, and while they are wrong, they probably won’t consider that you realize they are not pulling their weight in the friendship or relationship. You can be as vulnerable or comforting as you like with these people, and they most likely won’t ever reciprocate.
Sharing Is Caring!