What to do when you encounter another socio? Engage them? Ignore them? Give them a wide berth?
When you meet socios in real life, there's a recognition that can happen. One time I was out with a friend of a friend. He said something about another guy being Jewish and I asked, "How do you know?" He said that when you are a "member of the tribe" like he is, you tend to pick up on other identifying marks in others. I think the same is true of sociopaths. The mask a sociopath wears is directed at the public, not at other sociopaths, so naturally it will not work as well for sociopaths. It would be like hiding behind a wall when your predator primarily uses echolocation or infrared to identify its prey rather than visual sight.
In response to last week's articles on sociopath co-workers, a sociopath reader told me about her own encounters with a sociopathic co-worker, to which I asked her:
Do you think she also has your number? Do you think she will be a problem? I often wonder whether it is better to do an open arms race, so they know they can't initiate any form of aggression without immense retaliation, or whether it is best to secretly stockpile. Which will you take with this co-worker?She responded:
My co-worker is definitely aware now. It is only a problem in that she has mentioned, "I think so-and-so and I think the same way," many times in different ways, and I am concerned that she will get caught in some shenanigan and people will remember that statement. When it comes to setting up territory or what have you, I am pretty lazy, so unless there is a direct conflict of I want this and she wants that, where she isn't willing to give in, I don't forsee a problem. Also, we have different styles. For example, as people go, she has gotten very close to our manager and director. I, on the other hand, have gotten close to the manager's closest friend, the director's most trusted adviser, and a manager from another work group. This is my preferred practice, as any influence won't look like it came from me and any benefits won't look like a person favoring someone they are closer with. The outside guy is in case something needs to come from outside the team and because he is well-respected in the company by all groups. There are four of us that spend time together on our team, and she picked one and I picked the other. Most importantly, when project assignments came up and she wanted the same as me, she backed right off as soon as I stated my preference.
Given your options, I am a "secretly stockpile" type of person.