I Wish I Were A Sociopath

My friend works as a screener at a mental health facility. It’s her job to meet with incoming patients — typically folks coming off week-long meth benders — and provide their initial diagnoses. It’s an interesting job to say the least. But the thing about having a keen eye for psycho-pathological conditions is that you can’t just turn it off.

I’ve spent countless hours watching her analyze complete strangers in restaurants and bars. At parties, I like to tap her on the shoulder and point at someone across the room. She rolls her eyes at first, but always dispenses with the goods.

It was in such a setting, recently, that I asked her to size up a mutual acquaintance of ours. She concluded, without much deliberation, that he’s a bit of a megalomaniac. I recalled the lyrics to an Incubus song on the subject and concurred. She added: “He’s kind of a sociopath, too.”

“Like Patrick Bateman?” I asked.

“Who?”

“From American Psycho.”

She nodded, either to indicate she understood or to stop me from giving her a full plot synopsis. Either way, I shut up. And for a moment we just stood there, listening to my Holiday Jamz 2011 mix as it played from a nearby docking station.

After a while I said: “I wish I was a sociopath.”

She raised her eyebrow. “Yeah?”

“Yeah,” I said, adding that I think empathy is ruining my chances for success in life.

She asked for an example. I told her about a situation earlier that week where I was late for work because I couldn’t turn down a demo at the gas station for some new kind of turtle wax. The guy who gave it just looked so depressed — I feared that if I told him no it could’ve been the last straw.

Then there was the time in college where it took me three weeks to break up with my girlfriend. She kept asking me, point blank, if I wanted to end our relationship. I kept saying “I don’t want to,” hoping she’d infer that it was something I needed to do. She didn’t. So we just kept dating.

There are overarching themes as well — like money. It’s an uncomfortable topic, so I’ve just avoided bringing it up. Period. I’ve never once asked for a raise, much less demanded one. (And what’s worse is you could take this entire paragraph, make it about sex, and it would remain 100% accurate.)

Sociopaths don’t have these problems.

They don’t feel bad about saying no to free turtle wax demonstrations that end up forever making one spot on their car really shiny… they don’t feel bad about ending relationships that they know won’t work out… and they certainly don’t see anything wrong with asking for a well-deserved raise (or booty).

My discourse finished, I was feeling a bit worked-up. I excused myself to pluck a fresh beer out of the refrigerator and check-in with my wife, who I hadn’t seen since the party started. On my way back, I noticed some of the guests looked bored so I made an executive decision to switch from my Holiday Jamz 2011 mix to an album by Girl Talk.

“No one seemed into my Holiday Jamz,” I said upon returning to my friend. “See, if I were a sociopath, I wouldn’t care.”

“If you were a sociopath, you probably wouldn’t be having this party,” she said.

“Another good point.”

“But if it makes you feel any better, you’re clearly a narcissist.”

“Like Patrick Bateman?” TC mark

image – Shutterstock

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  • Guest

    “Sociopath” is not a synonym for “person with balls and/or a backbone,” dude.

    • AnnieGirl

      agreed. this article very much downplays all the horrific and down right frightening aspects of being a sociopath. asking for a (well deserved) raise doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what those people are capable of. 

      • http://twitter.com/annie_roo annie

        and the award for taking this obviously humorous article too seriously goes to…

      • The CXO

        Well, the humor was lost on me. I wanted to like this…

      • Guest2

        Yea, the article didn’t suck because of the downplaying. It sucked because it just wasn’t very good. The writer wishes he was a sociopath so he could stop being such a giant pussy? So funny.

  • Rowland Andrewj

    Solid article, really enjoyed it!

    • Guest

      I hope you’re the writer’s friend.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9383035 Scott Muska

    Sociopath or not, nobody can expect you to turn down a free turtle wax demo.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Renata-Blau/1171550171 Renata Blau

    Welcome back Alex, you were gone there for a while… I missed reading your articles!

  • JGlow

    Cute read. The world needs a few good empaths. 

  • Jennifer

    Oh my god, screener at a mental health care facility . . . dream job right there.

    • punny

      It really is… speaking from experience :)

  • K1wong

    what does standing up for yourself, being affirmative and decisive have anything to do with being a sociopath. instead, you should entitle this article, “I wish I wasn’t such a pussy”.

  • kgb kgbb

    If you ever had a mental problem, you’d NEVER wish for one.
    It’s horrible, and you aren’t oblivious to it.  You KNOW you’re fucked up and it feels physically awful and there’s nothing you can do about it except hope to god your meds will push it back a little bit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hannah-Moire/100002582319456 Hannah Moire

    I don’t think the author honestly wishes they were sociopathic but in fact had more of a backbone. It could have been worded better but I got what they meant.

    • h-may

      Yeah, reading this I just got the impression that by “sociopath” he meant “dickhead.”

  • http://nonegenuine.blogspot.com/ Scott

    “I think empathy is ruining my chances for success in life.”  is a fucking brilliant line.

    • trobs

      I this you are misusing the word brilliant. Maybe you meant, “seeming brilliant but upon further thought essentially banal.”

    • Feminism2012

       it’s really not
      why do i come to this website holy shit

      • http://nonegenuine.blogspot.com/ Scott

        lol

  • Sophia

    I feel you on wishing you were less passive and more assertive. I just don’t want to be mean. Why is that so wrong in the game of life?

  • Feminism2012

    anyone else hate people who use psychojargon without the slightest whiff of irony and expect to be taken as serious medical doctors?

  • http://www.facebook.com/nickguyrees Nick Guy Rees

    This was actually exceptionally well written, both the prose and the topic of discussion. And perhaps also because I can empathize with you :). Nicely done.

  • Anonymous

    The last exchange makes it for me. I laughed.

  • Anonymous

     http://

  • Joshrom

    Fucking hardbodies and returning movies is the most empathetic thing you can do.

  • Franchwilliams

    Patrick Bateman is a psychopath, not a sociopath. There’s a difference.

    And wanting to be either is sick .

    • Ndjs

      It’s more just a case of being fed up with spending so much more effort caring for others than yourself, and not getting any reward for it. The simple fact is that, in today’s society, If you don’t look after your own interests, probably noone will.

    • Spoticus Ja

       well don’t be withholding please enlighten us on what the differences are.

  • http://rumblestripq.com Doug Hart

    No shit spoticus JA! My mother is crazy. Stick any label you want to stick on her. She’s a bat shit loon. And yes she killed someone way back.
    I think that comment from FranchWilliams falls under the umbrella of hating people using psychojargon and expecting to be taken seriously.
    Speaking of synchronicity. The guy my mother shot and killed’s last name was Williams.
    True story.

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