Sociopath or Narcissist? Here’s How to Tell the Difference

The Subtle Differences Between A Narcissist And A Sociopath

2 min readNov 8, 2022


Photo by Mohamad Khosravi on Unsplash

When it comes to narcissists they

  • are self-centred
  • could experience regret or empathy
  • uses people to boost their ego
  • emphasis on appearing successful
  • are anxious about other’s opinion

On the other hand, Sociopaths

  • takes pleasure in manipulating people
  • are anti-social
  • have legal and personal problems because of their actions
  • has no compassion and respect for others

When it comes to differentiating narcissists and sociopaths, it is important to consider a key factor which is the “motivations behind their actions”.

For example, narcissists employ scheming, complementing and other types of manipulation tactics to boost their ego and provide them with a sense of importance. As narcissists are egoistic, they only consider themselves as important. This is why they don’t think twice to hurt other people and use them as collateral damage to have personal gains.

On the contrary, sociopaths will abuse, hurt and manipulate other people just for their pleasure. They don’t care about maintaining their image in front of others. Also, they will play games if it somehow furthers their long-term goal.

The sociopaths even enjoy hurting others and have no sense of regret or empathy for those they have mistreated. This contrast with narcissists, as they want to project a strong personality rather than intentionally harming others.

In terms of maintaining professional life, sociopaths struggle to maintain it effectively. Because of their personality, they can’t keep up with one job and often get into trouble with the laws. Again, it contradicts the narcissists as they only strive to be on top of their game and like to portray themselves as successful person.

Although some narcissists are sociopaths, not all narcissists fall into this category. Besides, narcissists and sociopaths can be cunning and…



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