Women Are The Best At Spotting Narcissists And Psychopaths, Even When Drinking

This article may contain affiliate links, learn more.

Anyone who has had even a single night where they’ve gone a little heavy on the drinks knows that there’s a lot of bad behavior one can blame on alcohol. Impulse purchases, things said that you didn’t mean, the works.

As it turns out, one bit of bad behavior you might not be able to pin on drinking anymore is ignoring bad vibes or strange first impressions, as studies show that women especially still excel at this even after a few drinks.

Have you been feeling like there are barriers in your life, something holding back that you can’t quite get past? By taking this simple quiz, you can discover how your trauma has been quietly poisoning your life.

Click here to start the process of undoing these subconscious blocks!

First Contact

They say first impressions are everything, but let’s not forget there are those who have tailored and crafted their initial appearance to be nothing short of charming, respectable, and agreeable.

People sitting at tables outside a cafe, talking.
Pexels / Valentin Angel Fernandez
Pexels / Valentin Angel Fernandez

They bury the lead this way, making sure people are left with positive thoughts of them to cover for their nefarious motives, meaning people are less likely to believe they’d do something awful should it be revealed later down the line.

This is a common tactic used by narcissists especially. Not only do they always want people to think highly of them, especially people they keep at an arms’ length, but they want to make sure no one ever sees their abuse coming when it arrives.

Consistently Correct

Despite their tricks, methods, and schemes, there are some people from whom a narcissist can never escape their analytical eye. For those with this skill, it never falters and it never fades, even if they’re under the influence of something like alcohol.

A woman lounging on a couch with a glass of champagne in her hand.
Pexels / cottonbro studio
Pexels / cottonbro studio

An official study from the University of Liverpool has proven that this might be a skill inherent in women in particular, both the ability to clock a narcissist and being able to do so even while drunk.

A Terrorizing Trio

The research team was led by Dr. Gayle Brewer with the specific focus on alcohol consumption versus the ability to detect men who contain personality traits present on the “dark triad.”

A closeup of a man in a white shirt smiling, focusing on the lower half of his face.
Pexels / Shvets Production
Pexels / Shvets Production

The dark triad is a trio of traits that are less than favorable, ones that can often predict adverse, even abusive tendencies in those who have them.

The traits are psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism. Anyone who’s ever come in contact with a true narcissist knows its earned its spot among this triple threat, let alone the other two.

Proven Track Records

This study was founded on existing research that already proved that women tend to naturally dislike the faces of men with dark triad personality traits, but Brewer wanted to expand on this and see if it remained true across variables. Namely, whether or not alcohol affected that judgment.

A man and a woman sitting at a bar, the man leaning against his hand, looking tired.
Pexels / Ketut Subiyanto
Pexels / Ketut Subiyanto

The team gathered 96 female volunteers between the ages of 18 and 26. These volunteers were then shown photos of men whose faces had been edited to try and display high levels of dark triad traits.

Shifting Faces

In case you’re wondering, no, there are no specific facial features that can give away narcissism or psychopathy. Instead, they used a “morphing technology” to approximate what these faces might look like based on past data collected about the dark triad.

A man and a woman sitting at a table, the man smiling at the woman.
Pexels / Pavel Danilyuk
Pexels / Pavel Danilyuk

“We’d take the face of someone with a high level of psychopathy, for example,” Brewer explained to VICE, “and we’d morph that onto a control face. So you’d morph the psychopathy face onto my photograph, for instance.”

As Good As Ever

Brewer emphasized that the faces they used were not those of men who had been clinically diagnosed with anything on the dark triad. Instead, they were given a personality assessment that then displayed high levels of one or multiple of the triad’s points.

A man and a woman sitting at a counter, both holding a beer bottle.
Pexels / Pavel Danilyuk
Pexels / Pavel Danilyuk

So, the women were shown these faces after being given a few drinks, and Brewer’s team discovered that their ability to detect and thus dislike those with dark triad traits were completely uninhibited by the alcohol.

Turning Away

Consistent with their foundational research, women still dislike the faces of those with a penchant for evil, able to detect it just by looking at them, even when drunk.

A woman sitting at a bar, holding a mixed drink in her hand.
Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio
Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio

“When people are shown these faces, they’re seen as less attractive and more threatening,” Brewer confirmed.

Her hypothesis about why women are able to do this is that it was born out of an evolutionary advantage, something women have developed over decades, centuries even of having to put up with the worst these types of men have to offer.

Learned Behavior

“From an evolutionary perspective, we may be able to pick up that someone is more threatening, less likely to be trusted, or that our psychological or physical safety is at risk,” Brewer said.

A man in a woman standing in a doorway, each holding a drink.
Pexels / cottonbro studio
Pexels / cottonbro studio

She went on to explain that she would be interested in seeing if there was a difference when it came to women who had poor past relationship experiences. “It would be really interesting to see whether women who’ve been in threatening relationships are more sensitive to these faces.”

Better Safe Than Sorry

So no matter if you’re out celebrating or otherwise, know that your judgement about people is always worth listening to, especially if something seems wrong. Your gut an be a finnicky thing, it’s true, but if you hear those alarm bells ringing or see those red flags waving, it’s always worth listening to.

A red flag on a beach.
Pexels / Venicius Vieira
Pexels / Venicius Vieira

It’s better to be wrong and have someone be nicer than they originally felt than it is to have ignored those signs and welcome a narcissist into your life.

In any relationship, always take stock of your feelings and ask yourself: does this person make you love yourself more? Do you want to grow old with them?

Love is more than just kisses and butterflies, it’s much more than that. If you want to know more on what your birth chart reveals about how you love and what you need out of a partner, check out this personalized report based on date of birth.

Daniel Mitchell-Benoit

Dan is a content writer with three years of experience under their belt, having mostly covered viral media but now shifting toward spirituality and astrology. He’s a strong believer in using one’s beliefs as a means of self-improvement and being in touch with whatever messages the universe has to offer.

He can’t wait to share his insights with a[…]