Here are the signs your new friend is secretly a psychopath.

The presence of psychopaths can introduce a disturbing element of deception and manipulation into your life. Psychopaths have a dangerous lack of empathy and remorse. Thus, they are willingly engage in behaviors designed to trap others into believing in a friendship that is anything but genuine.  But rest assured, they are truly just fake friends.

Understanding psychopaths – and their perplexing behavior – is crucial in protecting yourself from their potentially harmful influence. This article will look into ten ways psychopaths create the illusion of friendship while secretly hiding their ulterior motives.

Psychopaths Defined

Here’s how psychopaths operate in social settings, particularly in the context of forging fake friendships.


According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a division of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), psychopathy has a range of specific traits and behaviors.

Psychopathy is a disorder marked by shallow emotional responses, a lack of empathy, impulsivity, and an increased likelihood of antisocial behavior. This definition underscores the fundamental aspects of psychopathy that enable individuals with this disorder to manipulate and deceive others in social interactions, including the formation of seemingly genuine friendships.

This definition provides a foundation for comprehending the various tactics psychopaths use in their interpersonal relationships, as you will see in the next sections of this article. Understanding these traits is crucial when identifying and protecting yourself from the potentially harmful influence of individuals with psychopathic tendencies in personal and professional environments.

Ten Behaviors of Psychopaths

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Do you see any of these behaviors in the suspected psychopathic friend?

1 – Mirroring Your Interests and Behaviors

Psychopaths are highly skilled at creating a sense of connection by mirroring your interests and behaviors. They observe and replicate your likes, dislikes, and even body language. 

Why? This mirroring of your behaviors can create an illusion of similarity and compatibility. As a result, they get you to lower your defenses and make you feel understood and connected. You feel a false sense of intimacy and open up to their manipulations.

2 – Psycopaths Start Showering You with Compliments and Flattery

You might find a psychopath frequently complimenting you, often excessively. This flattery is intentional. It will usually appeal to your ego and thus gain your trust. 

While compliments can be a normal part of any friendship, with psychopaths, they are often over the top. But remember, they use this as a tool to manipulate and control.

3 – Feigning Vulnerability

Psychopaths sometimes pretend to be vulnerable or in need of help. This behavior will elicit sympathy and support from a kind person like you. They set out to create a bond. 

That’s because they know you will feel compelled to help and support them by sharing these fake personal problems or insecurities. This empathy, built from their lies, deepens the perceived friendship.

4 – Psychopaths Beging Offering Favors and Gifts

Initially, a psychopath may seem incredibly generous. They will offer you favors or gifts without any apparent expectation of return. On the surface, they appear to be generous at heart.

This behavior creates a sense of obligation and indebtedness. Thus, these fake friends make it more difficult for you to say no to their requests or demands later on. After all, you accepted their favor, so you feel you owe them one in return.

5 – Isolating You from Others

A subtle but highly useful strategy is the gradual isolation from your other friends and support systems. Secret psychopaths might do this by monopolizing your time, demanding your attention more often than your other friends. 

They also badmouth others or create situations that lead to conflict with their other friends. This behavior builds your trust in the psychopath while creating a distance between the rest of your support system. As a result, they make their presence seem even more essential in your life.

6 – Gaslighting to Create Dependency

Gaslighting is a psychological tactic where a person is made to question their reality or judgment. It’s a cruel form of emotional abuse. But the victims of the behaviors find it hard to identify while it’s happening.

Psychopaths use the gaslighting technique to undermine your self-confidence and judgment. They hope to make you more dependent on them for validation and support.

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7 – Psychopaths Start Displaying Intense Emotional Reactions

Psychopaths often have drastic emotional reactions or outbursts. These appear to be concern for or devotion to you. But not so fast.

These displays of emotions can be misleading. Psychopaths use these emotional eruptions as yet another manipulative tactic. Your internal response to their overwrought behavior may make you feel indebted or responsible for their emotional well-being.

8 – Exploiting Your Secrets and Vulnerabilities

Do you share personal information or secrets with this “friend?” Psychopaths love using your innermost thoughts to gain an advantage over their victims. Your deepest secrets work to help them get their own way. 

Indeed, they use your vulnerable places to exploit you. With this information, they can manipulate you or use it as leverage in their interactions with you and others.

9 – Fake Friends Love Creating Relationship Triangles and Drama

Psychopaths often create relationship triangles. They love almost nothing more than to create a dramatic situation that involves themselves, you, and a third party. They will fabricate stories or manipulate situations to create drama.

But why? This drama enables them to position themselves as either the hero or the victim. Either way, they will even further trap you in their web of deceit.

10 – Psychopaths Begin Mimicking Empathy and Emotions

Despite their lack of genuine empathy, psychopaths can be surprisingly good at mimicking emotions and empathetic responses. They study and replicate appropriate emotional reactions.

This fake empathy makes them appear caring and attentive. But fake friends are actually just masking their true lack of concern for your well-being.

Five Ways to Free Yourself From Psychopaths

Dealing with a psychopath, whether in a personal or professional context, can present a challenge. It’s also very emotionally draining to the victim. 

Do you think you are in a friendship or romantic relationship with a psychopath? If the answer to that question is yes, taking steps to protect yourself and regain your independence is crucial. 

Here are five effective strategies for stepping away from fake friends:

  1. Establish Firm Boundaries: Set clear and non-negotiable boundaries with the psychopath. Be assertive about your limits and consistently maintain them. Psychopaths will often continue to try to push those boundaries. Thus, it is important to remain firm and unwavering in your stance.
  2. Seek Support from Trusted Individuals: Reach out to friends or family who understand your situation. They may have witnessed this psychopathic behavior all along, but you were not ready to hear them. These people can offer emotional support and guidance. Having a support network is vital in providing you with the perspective and strength needed to detach from a psychopath.
  3. Reduce or Eliminate Contact: Minimize your interactions with the psychopath as much as possible. If total avoidance is not an option, such as in a workplace setting, limit communication to necessary and impersonal exchanges. Avoid sharing personal information or engaging in deep conversations.
  4. Strengthen Your Emotional Awareness: Psychopaths often exploit emotional vulnerabilities. Work on understanding and managing your emotions. Stay aware of their manipulation tactics. This self-awareness will help you avoid falling into emotional traps set by the psychopath.
  5. Seek Professional Help if You Need Help : If you’re struggling to break free from the influence of a psychopath, consider seeking help from a mental health counselor. A professional counselor or a therapist can provide you with strategies to cope with the emotional impact and guide you in rebuilding your sense of self and independence.

Remember, freeing yourself from the influence of a psychopath is a process that requires two things – time and patience. Fake friends take weeks or months to embed themselves in your life. Conversely, it takes time to heal after the encounter.

It also demands self-compassion and self-care. Don’t blame yourself. This behavior is the result of someone manipulating your inherent kindness. So, taking the time to reset your life and heal your wounded ego is okay. Be sure to prioritize your well-being and seek help to navigate this challenging situation.

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Final Thoughts: Psychopaths Are Master Manipulators and Fake Friends

Recognizing these behaviors is key to protecting yourself from the manipulative tactics of psychopaths. Maintaining healthy skepticism is important, especially when new relationships seem too good to be true. Trust your instincts and seek advice from long-term, trusted friends or professionals if you suspect you’re dealing with a psychopath. 

Remember, genuine friendships are built on mutual respect, trust, and sincerity – qualities that psychopaths fundamentally lack.