Have you ever stolen anything?
If you've taken a few too many candies from the jar at the front desk of the office, don't worry, you're probably a sane and rational person. But, taking the whole jar along with the cup of pens next to it means that you might have a problem.
Do you cry at sad movies?
Not being able to relate to movie characters might suggest that you struggle to empathize with others. Or, it could mean you've just picked up some bad habits from a lifetime of watching macho action movies.
Do you like to deliberately upset your family members?
- Of course not!
- Yes, and it's absolutely hilarious!
Deliberately annoying brothers or sisters is a part of childhood that none of us really grow out of. That said, if you're regularly pushing your loved ones to the point of emotional breakdown, you might need to dial it back a bit.
Would you ever break a promise?
- My word is my bond
- That's what promises are for!
If you deliberately promise things you know you can't deliver, you might be a sociopath. Or a politician. Or, let's face it, both.
How often do you cancel plans at the last minute?
- All the time
- Almost never
Not everybody who is naturally a bit flaky is necessarily a sociopath. That being said, it is a common warning sign. So if you're worried, maybe try extra hard this week to make it to all of your appointments.
Would you ever kick a puppy?
Empathy can be difficult for people for a lot of reasons. Sociopaths in particular struggle to care about harm they cause to others, even puppies.
Do you feel the need to fake your emotions?
- Sometimes, to get what I want
- I just don't see how that would help
There are a lot of reasons why someone might feel the need to fake emotions, so this doesn't guarantee that you're a sociopath. Just pay attention to your motives— if you're pretending to be sad just to avoid punishment, you might need to practice seeing things from someone else's perspective.
Have you set goals and plans for the coming year?
- I know everything I want to do this year
- I have no idea what the future holds
While sociopaths struggle to make long-term plans for the future, plenty of emotionally healthy people do, too. You might not be a sociopath if you haven't got a game plan for your life, you might just be young!
Do you feel guilty when you hurt someone?
- Of course!
- Of course not!
Guilt is caused by recognizing how your mistakes have caused other people grief. While some people can become paralyzed by guilt, if you don't feel any remorse for your wrongdoings, (even if you aren't a sociopath) you're not exactly making the world a better place.
Are you naturally charming?
Charming people aren't all sociopaths, obviously. But, sociopaths often have a strong grasp on how to manipulate others through humor, intelligence and body language. Keep a close eye on that really smiley guy in your office, just in case.
Do you live for the moment?
- Carpe diem!
- No, I need a plan
Sociopaths are often overly impulsive, and charge into dangerous or risky situations without thinking of their own well-being or the safety of others. A little bit of adventure is nothing bad, but throwing down huge bets in casinos is a sign that you might need help.
Do you get angry easily?
A short temper isn't a personality quirk that's unique to sociopaths, but regardless of what's causing it, being quick to anger probably isn't doing any favors for anyone in your life. If being mellow doesn't come naturally, you might want to try some calming exercises or mindfulness meditation to help you relax.
Do you pay all of your bills on time?
Not having money to pay bills is absolutely not a symptom of sociopathic behavior. But, if you regularly forget to pay bills at all, or you put that burden on other people in your life, it might be a sign that you have an ego problem.
Have you ever used a fake name?
- Hasn't everyone?
- Why would I need to?
Sociopaths often lie about their identity when it suits them. If someone you know has a load of fake IDs or often pretends to be someone else, maybe don't take anything they say at face value.
Do you learn from your mistakes?
We all have character flaws, and if you're struggling to fix the same bad habits over and over, that simply means you're human. But, if you end up in the same bad situation time and time again, it's worth questioning what's causing you to go wrong.
Do you have any lifelong friends you've known for years?
Some people are better at holding on to friends than others. If you just struggle to keep in touch, that's not the end of the world, but sociopaths will routinely grow bored of people and cut them loose.
Do you regularly break the law?
- I try not to
- All the time
We're not talking about getting the occasional speeding ticket or illegally downloading a movie now and again. Sociopaths often have a pathological disregard for the rules, and this can get them into serious trouble with the authorities.
Do you consider yourself superior to other people?
- Yes, of course
- No, not at all
Look, we're in no position to judge here. If you think you're better than other people, you might be right! On the other hand, it might be a symptom of your own difficulty empathizing with others.
Do you have an addictive personality?
Addiction is common among sociopaths— especially substance abuse like smoking, drinking or using other drugs. Regardless of the cause of this behavior, if you're suffering from any of these addictions, you should seek medical help.
Have you ever broken a bone doing something stupid?
- Hasn't everyone?
- I'm too smart for that
Remember how sociopaths often engage in risky behavior? Breaking your leg because you were drunk and thought you could climb on the roof is one thing, but regularly putting yourself in harm's way is a sign that you might need mental health support.
Do you worry about your friends?
- All time time
- Almost never
Feeling anxious about other people shows that you have empathy towards them. While it's nice to care, if this anxiety becomes debilitating, you're probably not a sociopath, but you might need treatment for a different mental illness.
How would you respond if someone was in your way?
- Wait patiently for them to move
- Barge past them
There are a lot of reasons why you might choose to push past someone rather than give them the space they need. You might not be a sociopath— you might just be a really big jerk. If you're capable of empathy but you ignore other people's needs, you're definitely a jerk!
Do you ever deliberately break things?
- Yeah, it's fun!
- No, that's wasteful!
Sociopaths often cause damage to property (either their own or someone else's) because they can't process the consequences of these actions. Don't worry, you're not a sociopath if you dropped your phone and the screen broke, but get a screen protector next time.
Do you hate other people?
- I hate everyone
- No, lots of people are nice
Sociopaths aren't usually very good at seeing the good in people, and can often be antisocial and detached. In fairness, some people just like to be alone, so there's nothing wrong with desiring quiet time by yourself.
Do you solve mysteries with a friend named Dr Watson?
Sherlock Holmes is not a sociopath, no matter what he may claim. He often shows genuine empathy for other people in his life, especially his constant companion, Dr. Watson. Just like Sherlock Holmes, you may have some characteristics in common with sociopaths, but that doesn't mean you actually are a sociopath— if in doubt, be sure to seek genuine medical assistance rather than trusting a quiz on the internet!