How to Deal with a Sociopath Colleague?

2,199 Views Updated: 15 Sep 2017
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How to Deal with a Sociopath Colleague?

Dealing with a sociopath in a workplace can get you on your nerves. A sociopath suffers from a personality disorder which isn’t prominent enough until you experience a few blows from their end. Such people often tend to ignore your pleas or acknowledge your feelings in case of severe situations. 

A female sociopath might even cause dramatic situations in the workplace. They are known for overreacting at trivial matters and manipulating others to gain sympathy.

If you have a sociopath colleague in your office, then here’s how you can deal with them.

How To Deal With A Sociopath?

The reality of a sociopath is far simpler from its fictional representation wherein the person is an extraordinary charming character who inexorably commits horrendous crimes and stalk his victims.

Sociopathy is actually an Anti-Social Personality Disorder (ASPD) which can be traced through these traits:

#. Disrespecting of rules and social norms

#. No care about the feelings of others

#. Lack of empathy and gratitude

#. Display of violent behavior

#. Putting unnecessary blame on others

People suffering from ASPD’s often find it difficult to maintain relationships because they repeatedly exploit and cheat people to fetch personal gains.

Sociopaths are generally nervous and can be agitated easily. They are volatile and are prone to emotional outbursts. They find problems in forming acquaintances with their co-workers or employees. To others, they may even appear to be emotionally disturbed.

Sociopaths have common behavioral patterns, some of which can be handled if taken care of. While dealing with a sociopath, it is important that you do not take their behavior on a personal level. People suffering from such disorders are usually unaware of the effect of their actions and needs to be made aware of it. You can always inform your sociopath colleague to mind his actions because they do hurt other people. Try to adapt to their unusual behaviors and reactions.

Focus on keeping your attitude very positive. While the sociopath colleague tries to make things complicated for you, try to find a smoother road such as shared interests and hobbies. Learn some strategies which work well when dealing with them.

If nothing works, you always have the senior authorities to report to. A sociopath employee can ruin the decorum of your workplace by creating unnecessary violence and committing petty crimes. Do not sit idle to bear the brunt, instead talk about it collectively to figure out solutions.

Here is a list of some common signs that can help you discover a sociopath cworker or employee at your workplace.

Signs Of A Sociopath

#1. They Can Be Very Charismatic

We are not saying that every charming person is a sociopath, but the opposite holds true. Many sociopaths appear to be very charming, and therefore attract a lot of people towards them. They can hold the attention of the entire room easily and can get away without doing anything. They just appear to be hard working, which in reality is just a farce.

Image result for charismatic sociopath

(Image Courtesy: Very Well)

#2. They Can Never Connect On A Deeper Level

They may be charismatic, but they are incapable of making close friends. They have a hard time in connecting with people on a deeper level because they lack empathy and compassion. When in the office, a sociopath employee may be liked on the surface but he/she might not have any real friends or confidant.

Image result for charismatic sociopath

(Image Courtesy: Myron Beard Executive Consulting)

#3.They Can Be Constantly Bored

It is said that sociopaths are usually plagued with boredom. They tend to adopt a destructive nature just to get over their boredom. Psychology suggests that if you do not care for anything in the world, then you are sure to get bored. To get over their boring schedules, they indulge in playing games (manipulative games) with the only intention of winning them. They can go to any extents to achieve victory, even if it causes harm to other people.

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(Image Courtesy: The Mighty)

#4. They Practice Chronic Lying

Strangely enough, sociopaths love to lie. They will lie often and sometimes with no ulterior motives but just to see if they can get away with it. In an office, a sociopath colleague may lie about little things, like taking undeserved credits or lying about the place he or she went for lunch or the reasons for his/her late coming.

Image result for chronic lying

(Image Courtesy: Borderline Personality Treatment)

#5. They Can Be Very Manipulative

A sociopath colleague will manipulate you into getting his or her things done or will manipulate you into thinking ill of your own work. These manipulations are made with the intention of making the person’s life difficult and complicated. A sociopath boss likes to control the lives of his/her employees, and therefore tries to delegate them with extra work or busy weekends. They can also raise questions on your abilities just to feel authoritative.

Psychologists suggest that sociopaths never feel guilty when they are called out for manipulations; instead they would lie and manipulate further to generate pity of others to get away from the accusations. Their manipulative tricks help them in gaining power over others.

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(Image Courtesy: Business Mag)

#6. They Don’t Limit Themselves With Any Boundaries

Sociopaths are least concerned about the feelings and limitations of their colleagues and employees. They will make unethical demands like staying late, working extra hours, attending late night phone calls and arranging for untimely meetings.

#7. They Are Irresponsible

Sociopaths lack the sense of guilt and duty, and hence get bored easily especially if they dislike their jobs. They don’t mind neglecting their duties or manipulating others to perform on their behalf. They are usually impulsive and inconsistent in their working space and keep swinging between high and low productivity.

Image result for chronic lying

(Image Courtesy: Very Well)

#8. They Are Very Impulsive

A sociopath has strong tendencies of lashing out unnecessarily for trivial causes. If your coworker is fine a minute, and then suddenly starts berating you in the next moment, then she may be a female sociopath. It is better to maintain a safe distance from such colleagues.

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(Image Courtesy: Science Daily)

#9. They Can Turn Immoral

Sociopaths are known for their impulsive nature which can end up in lying, stealing, violation of rules and even physical violence.

#10. They Are Unreliable

Sociopaths are quite unpredictable, and therefore cannot be reliable. They can be fine for a moment and turn into raging monsters the next moment. Do not trust them for they are not worth it.

Image result for chronic lying

(Image Courtesy: Very Well)

How To Work With A Sociopath And Stay Sane? 

While you keep your patience and tolerance handy, it is important that you keep sane too. Do not let sociopath sabotage with your mind. Here’s how to deal with them.

#1. Look For Signs

Sociopaths do come across as normal people which make things difficult. The most common sign of a sociopath is their inability to empathize with others. Sociopaths lack sympathy for the underprivileged and display lack of understanding for the ones who are dealing with a crisis. They are extremely self-centered and only care about what affects them.  

Image result for charismatic sociopath

(Image Courtesy: Meet Mindful)

#2. Find Their Motivation

The action that a sociopath takes is never intended to better the world or to make someone’s life easier. In fact, they might actually have some hidden benefits or motives which some way or the other benefits them.  

Sociopaths have an undying urge to cause harm to others and that might come out in the form of stealing, murdering or physical violence. The worst part is that they never feel guilty for committing any such crimes.

But if you are aware of what drives a sociopath, it is important that you avoid taking that road.

#3. Find A Way To Communicate 

Finding ways to communicate to a sociopath sounds like a voluntary fall into the pit of manipulation and cheating. But some people do continue to talk to them keeping their guards up whereas others completely cut off all communication with them. In case of forced conversations (with a sociopath colleague or boss), you can always stick to neutral topics.

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(Image Courtesy: Everyday Health)

#4. Do Not Share Your Personal Lives With Them 

If you wish to keep sane while dealing with a sociopath, it is better to talk work only. Do not make them a part of your personal life by sharing your experiences or stories with them. You would never want them to use your personal information against you. Try to maintain a distance with a sociopath co-worker to make your life simpler.

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(Image Courtesy: Christian Today)

#5. Do Not Invest Emotionally In a Sociopath 

Getting too invested in a sociopath will only end up in heartbreaks and disappointments. A sociopath colleague will always ask you for unnatural favors that might put you in risky situations. Recognize them and try to avoid them as much as possible. If you are not able to pull yourself back, then seek a professional help.

Dealing with a sociopath may be difficult but it is not impossible. It is advisable that you maintain a fair distance to keep your mind in the right place.  

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(Image Courtesy: Psychology Today)

Have you ever dealt with a sociopath colleague? Let us know in the comment section below.  

(Featured Image Courtesy: Alshah)


Sociopathy is a dangerous disorder which can cause harm to the surrounding people. When most people call it harmful, I feel that it comes with its own set of advantages. Sociopaths are said to be assertive who do not procrastinate. They tend to look at the positive side of everything. They usually do not take things personally, and hence are never worked up because of someone else’s opinions. Because of their tendencies of never feeling guilty or complaining about the crimes they commit, they are never under any pressure. Characteristics like these may sound socially unethical but are surprisingly beneficial in their professional and personal life. Sociopaths are characterized as ruthless, tough, charming and yet focused. They are very assertive towards life, and hence do not let negative thoughts ruin their positive aura. Maybe not every profession, but there are certain fields that ensure a sure shot success for sociopaths. You only need to turn them high and low on the right occasions and they will never be a matter of disappointment. Being around a sociopath may not be the best possible choice until you extract the best from them. If you are surrounded by a sociopath co-worker with whom you are bound to make a conversation, just be sure to observe their assertiveness. A sociopath can help you in attaining positivity through which you can learn the art of not working under pressure. They are extremely focused and determined on completing their tasks. While dealing with a sociopath, make sure you learn to not pay heed to diversions in order to fulfill your responsibilities. They may not be a martyr, but they sure know how to fetch personal benefits. While one should think about others when making decisions, thinking about yourself is important as well. One should prioritize their own needs and that’s what a sociopath does. They may not use the right means do to it, but they still make the most out of the situations.  

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