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The top reason not to be friends with your ex: Psychopathy!

Everybody deals with break-ups in their own way. Some people eat pizza in their underwear for a bit. Some people drive around a little over the speed limit sobbing and listening to ‘Bitch’ by Meredith Brooks on repeat.

That one guy disappeared into the woods for a few months and came back with an album that made everyone everywhere want to sleep with him a little bit.

The point is, everyone has to make their own way, and you can’t really judge anyone all that much, even those exes that manage to stay friends that you’re secretly a little jealous of.

Yeah, about that last thing.

The Dark Triad might sound like your cousin’s thrash metal outfit, but it’s actually a term used by psychologists that covers a winning combination of insensitivity, self-importance, and manipulating others.

The whole idea of people with dark personality traits, and their elevated place within society is a bit in vogue at the moment, and there’s plenty of unsettling research to go around.

If you’re interested in the whole thing then definitely check out Jon Ronson’s 2011 book, The Psychopath Test. The super abridged version is that Ronson, a journalist, gets pulled into a story about a guy who pretended to be insane to get out of a minor infraction in court is then sent to a maximum security psychiatric ward because it turns out that he isn’t schizophrenic, but he is a psychopath.

A little further research and contact with world-leading experts turn up psychopaths freaking everywhere and specifically higher up the food chain in board rooms and such. Scary stuff.

So how do you know if anyone you know is secretly into this whole Dark Triad thing? According to research conducted recently at Oakland University, their relationship with their ex might provide a pretty sizeable clue.

The study focused on a cross-section of people who had recently broken up and, presumably after having to listen to some bad poetry, the researchers found that the Dark Triad was quite common among subjects who remained close with their ex.

It breaks down like this: people with dark personality traits can see advantages to keeping their ex around, because it’s more practical than cutting them out of their lives. Also, there are often benefits viz a viz the ancient and sacred dance of no pants.

For a more in-depth look at the data, CBS were kind enough to film nine seasons of a sitcom about the subject.

Treat this as a friendly piece of advice. If any of this applies to your friends, keep an eye on them.

If it applies to you, then this is absolutely not a criticism, and I’m sure you’re excellent and please don’t hurt me. Thanks.