The Quick Report

Dating Profile Red Flags Every Single Person Should Know

Misrepresentation is a huge problem in the world of online dating. Luckily, if you can learn to spot these dating profile red flags, you can avoid encounters with narcissists and psychopaths. Watch for these signs to avoid grief and drama!


Psychopaths In Online Dating

Online dating sites often provide an environment that allows individuals to misrepresent themselves and deceive others. Some people take this to the extreme. There are three distinct behaviors to watch out for and learn to spot in online dating profiles and communications.


Psychopathy is a neuropsychiatric disorder marked by a lack of emotional responses, a lack of empathy, and poor behavioral controls, according to the National Institutes of Health. Someone suffering from psychopathy will exhibit persistent antisocial deviance and criminal behavior.

There are four possible types of psychopathy: narcissistic, borderline, histrionic, and antisocial. 

It’s important to note that psychopathy is not an official clinical diagnosis. Instead, it’s an umbrella term. The main conditions experts diagnose for people with psychopathy are:

  • Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD)
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Histrionic personality disorder (HPD)
  • Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)


“Machiavellian” is an term coined after Italian philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli, who in a book, encouraged that “the end justifies the means.” The dictionary definition is: Cunning, scheming, and low morals, especially in politics.

In modern terms, Machiavellianism has come to mean manipulative tactics and dishonest behavior, combined with a cynical view and taking pleasure in deception. It also refers to a focus on one’s self and personal gain. 

In online dating, Machiavellianism is rampant.


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The word narcissist is thrown around fairly loosely today. But just because someone is too full of themselves, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are a “narcissist.” In fact, even though it may seem it’s on the rise, most psychological research does not support that notion. Additionally, not all narcissists have too much self-esteem or high insecurity.

According to psychologists, narcissism encompasses a hunger for appreciation or admiration, a desire to be at the center of attention, and individuals who have a perceived higher status of themselves with an expectation of special treatment.

6 Red Flags to Look for in Online Dating

There are six red flags — and numerous behaviors — that could mean you are dealing with someone who is lying about themselves and showing manipulative behavior. Here are the warning signs that you could be dealing with a psychopath, a narcissist, Machiavellianism, breadcrumbing, ghosting, or gaslighting.

1. How to Spot Someone With Psychopathy

Someone suffering from a form of psychopathy may exhibit these general signs: Lack of empathy and remorse, inability to tell right from wrong, behavior that conflicts with social norms, manipulating and/or hurting others, and disregard for safety and responsibility.

In addition to other dating profile red flags, people who suffer from one of the four types of psychopathy mentioned earlier may exhibit any of the following:

  • Behavior that conflicts with social norms
  • Disregarding or violating the rights of others
  • Inability to tell right from wrong
  • Difficulty with showing remorse or empathy
  • Tendency to lie often
  • Manipulating and hurting others
  • Recurring problems with the law
  • General disregard toward safety and responsibility
  • Expressing anger and arrogance regularly
  • A habit of disengaging
  • A lack of deep emotional connections
  • A superficial sort of charm
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Anger issues

2. How to Spot a Narcissist

Narcissists have a grand sense of self-importance and the need for excessive admiration. They believe they are unique and deserve special treatment. They lack empathy for others. If you meet an individual exhibiting these behaviors, it’s a huge red flag that you may be dealing with a narcissist.

3. Spotting Machiavellian Tactics

Machiavellian tactics are manipulation strategies used to achieve power in specific situations. Keep in mind that Machiavellians are long-term planners and calculated strategists. This means their process of manipulating you could have been happening long before you were aware of it (if ever).

Machiavellian tactics include:

  • Lying, cheating, and flattering
  • Bending rules, tricking people, and faking sympathy
  • Minimizing the influence of others and withholding knowledge from colleagues
  • Competing rather than cooperating
  • Luring others into wild behavior to further their own ends
  • Making plans for personal benefit with no consideration of their effect on other people

4. “Breadcrumbing”

“Breadcrumbing” is a new term for what previously was called “leading someone on.” It’s the active engagement in communication with a romantic interest on an intermittent basis while having no intention of pursuing the relationship. This is also a Machiavellian-like tactic, but may not necessarily mean someone who does this is a Machiavellian.

5. “Ghosting”

Ghosting is the act of stopping a relationship through silence and an abrupt end to all forms of communication without warning or acknowledgment of the ending.

The word ghosting can also refer to:

  • Not hearing back from a match on a dating site
  • Going on a date and not hearing back from the person after that
  • Unmatching a profile
  • Unanswering messages
  • Avoiding calls
  • Blocking the person on social media or other online platforms

6. “Gaslighting”

This term was coined after the title of the movie “Gaslight.” It refers to a type of psychological abuse that involves manipulating another person into questioning their own perception of reality, memories, or sanity.

In online dating, gaslighting can refer to:

  • Distorting reality
  • Making someone question their own intuition and judgment
  • Convincing another person their memory is wrong or they are misrepresenting events
  • Insisting the gaslighter’s thoughts and feelings are “the truth”
  • Telling you you are “too sensitive” or “crazy”
  • Retelling or twisting events to shift blame to you