Is Work Friend Psychopathic?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

At work I recently made friends/flirted with someone who was charismatic and charming. We hung out socially a bit but something seemed off. Then I read an article about psychopath and it was like I was reading his description. I did tons of reading after that and he fit every part of it. (Charismatic, disdainful of other that he considered lesser, grandiose, unreliable, temperamental, refused to drink, took great risks, no life plan, etc.) He is out of my life now but should I be concerned? There were a few times when I felt afraid of him and instinctively felt that he was (sexually) frustrated with me to the point of anger (I would not sleep with him). I want to make sure having him in my life is enough of a safety measure.

A. You are presuming that he is a psychopath but you may be incorrect. You and he only “hung out socially a bit” which means that you may not know him very well. He may be charismatic and charming but that doesn’t make him a psychopath.

You also described him as being grandiose, unreliable, temperamental and so forth, but did not provide any examples. Allow for the possibility that you have inaccurately pegged him as a psychopath.

You described times in which you were afraid of him because you “instinctually” felt that he was sexually frustrated and angry with you. I’m wondering how he behaved during those situations. Given that set of circumstances, a psychopath may have acted out aggressively or perhaps physically harmed you. From what you included in your letter, nothing like that happened. You felt that he was “instinctually” angry but he apparently didn’t behave in a manner that evidenced his anger. His lack of an angry reaction, further supports the idea that he may not be as bad as you think.

He’s out of your life. Given the fact that there is no evidence to support the idea that he is a psychopath, your fear seems invalid. If you have a reason to believe that you should fear him, such as he’s made threats to you or is stalking you, then you should fear him. Otherwise, I don’t see him as a threat and no additional safety measures are necessary. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 29 Jul 2013

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2013). Is Work Friend Psychopathic?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/07/29/is-work-friend-psychopathic/