I Was Best Friends With a Psychopath
When I was growing up, my mum always told me, ‘It takes all sorts to make a world.’
And she was right, it does take all sorts. Am I the type of guy that would ever join the military? No.
But am I glad there’s people out there that are that sort? Of course.
Human society is built on the foundation that we’re all individuals, all contributing in our own way. There’s no right answer to how we should live or what career path we take, or any of that shit boomers might have you believe.
Those of us scientifically inclined might help cure disease and move technology forward. Those of us with a physical disposition might construct our buildings, our roads, transport our goods.
Creatives entertain us. Business-minds supply us. Socialites put us at ease.
Every type of person has a place - in some way, shape or form – that keeps the human race ticking over.
All except one.
Our creepy little psychopaths…
A lot of you probably know this already, but before we carry on, I’ll just explain: a psychopath isn’t someone that goes round stabbing everyone they see in the face.
They might do that if they wanted to. But chances are they won’t.
I’m talking about the ‘clinical’ psychopaths. People who are born without developed social areas of the brain. It’s surprisingly common, about one in a hundred people have this defect.
Supposedly, anyway. It could be more.
The reason we don’t really know? Well, unfortunately for the other ninety-nine of us, a side effect of this defect is that they’re rather good at pulling the wool over our eyes. They fit in, even though – under that cheeky little smile – you mean as much to them as a fruit fly. Some even go as far as learning to cry on demand, just in case they need it.
I can guarantee you, my lovely readers, that you’ll know someone who is psychopathic and not even realise. Like I said, they don’t all go on murder sprees.
The guy that says it’s okay to cheat on his wife as long as she doesn’t find out? Maybe.
The girl whose grandma dies and then, after five minutes of ‘grieving’, goes out with her friends like nothing happened? Big red flag.
That kid in school who broke someone’s arm, kicked their head in, and laughed about it? Steer clear once they reach adulthood.
Of course, you can be a nasty fucker without being a psychopath. But if you want to sleep easy at night, it helps.
(Before any of you panic and think, ‘Oh my god, what if I’M a psychopath?!’, don’t worry, you’d know. Everyone I’ve spoken to seems to get that thought too. Even I did. Then I sat down and cried over Toy Story 3...)
Now, back to the unfortunate fact they can mimic normal human beings. What the fuck do you do when one is your best friend?
As it turns out, nothing.
Because you don’t bloody realise.
It was years and years ago that this girl was in my life. I'm talking when I was sixteen/seventeen. We all made jokes about it, the fact that she was a bit ruthless. A bit unusual. A tad self-absorbed and would lie for no reason.
‘Been up to much?’
‘Yes. I went to Australia for the weekend and won a bare-knuckle boxing championship.’
But, because these walking black holes are so damn charming, and often such good fun to be around, you turn a blind eye.
Oh, that’s just her! You get used to her eventually.
They throw the best parties, live life to the extreme, keep you clubbing until 9am without it getting boring. Who cares if the drink they gave you tastes of rohypnol? Banter, mate. Absolute banter.
It’s only after the friendship fizzles out, after they move on to another victim, that you realise how fucked up the past few months have been.
Did my phone really just ‘go missing’?
Wait, it was her that started that rumour?
Why does my bank statement say I’m minus £89,574?
Then you stumble across a list of psychopath personality traits online, and your old ‘friend’ has every single one of them.
I’ve been wary of letting people close ever since. I’ve realised I can be a bit of a pushover, so for someone like that, I’m an easy target.
Every time I meet someone new, I examine them. I listen to how they speak. I look deep into their eyes to check if anything’s in there. I let them tell stories, and if they’re all about how extraordinary they are, or how funny it is to put cats in the microwave, I slink away.
Ironically, by constantly watching behaviour, I probably look like a psycho myself. But once you start, you can’t stop.
It sounds a bit extreme, always on high alert for psychopaths.
But think of it like this:
Sure, they might not immediately sleep with your sister and stab you in the mouth. But if you spend enough time with them, they might want to at some point. In their mind, there’s nothing stopping them. They’d rip your teeth out just to look at the holes they made.
And, unlike you, they wouldn’t feel a bloody thing.