You've either heard friends regale their own sagas or you've had the "fortunate" experience firsthand - you met a charming man or woman, things got hot and heavy fast, then, just as quickly, they got weird... really weird.

The same person who was infatuated with you is now unavailable, flaky, hurtful without realising it and the drama that followed made your head spin. Ladies and gentlemen, if this sounds like a bit of you, according to The Sun, you may have been dating a sociopath.

Likening it to the character of Max Branning on British TV show Eastenders, sociopaths are customarily charming.

On the show, Max is hell bent on making what he wants to happen happen and, more often than not, at the expense of whoever gets in his way.

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Even his kids aren't spared, sitting as priority number two to his needs.

When it comes to lying, if it were an Olympic sport, Max would come up trumps too, spinning a web of deceit without flinching in the slightest.

This is because lying and cheating comes as easily and naturally to a sociopath as breathing does to us.

After an argument, you'd be hard pressed to find a sociopath that feels bad or displays any signs of remorse.

In the same way, Christian Grey presents some sociopathic tendencies in 50 Shades of Grey - his infatuation with Anastasia is fast and full-on, but when she suggests they go on dates and have a "real relationship" he's quick to distance himself and make excuses for why that won't work.

Unlike the rest of us, their emotional toolbox may be lacking a few key implements.

The stats differ - with one or four per cent of the public displaying sociopath tendencies. In other words, if you've bravely put yourself on the market, your chances of coming face to face with one (or more) are somewhat inevitable.

It pays to keep an eye out for these telltale signs:

1. They come with a generous serving of excuses

On the off chance that you confront their lies, they've got a knack for manipulating it into something believable that paints them as the good guy / girl that's been hardone by.

2. Reliability isn't in their vocabulary

Initially they'll be there for you in more ways than you could possibly imagine but soon, the cracks start to show. And when asked to explain why they've been flaking on you, they promise to change but things never do.

3. They turn on the charm

Bringing a literal meaning to charming the pants off someone, sociopaths are masters of getting what they want when they want it.

Focusing all their attention and care on you is hugely flattering and irresistible but as soon as they grow tired of you (which will undoubtedly happen), you'll be dropped faster than a hot potato.

Sociopath's bring a certain thrill that is hard to resist. Photo / YouTube.
Sociopath's bring a certain thrill that is hard to resist. Photo / YouTube.

4. Mistakes aren't treated as lessons

The more time you spend with a sociopath, the more you'll notice the multitude of mistakes that seem to follow them around. And worst still, they don't seem to learn from any of them.

5. Where sociopaths go, drama follows

But it is never their fault, of course! Rather, they'll tell you in great detail how horrible or incapable the other person is and why they are the victim here.

6. It's all very exciting at first

Keen risk takers, sociopaths exercise their bad judgement on the daily and the initial thrill that follows can make things seem harmless and exhilarating.

7. They sacrifice people

This may not include you initially but you may notice their lack of care for others who are seemingly of no use to them. This includes moving on when they've clearly upset someone or having a laugh at someone's expense.

8. They tell you that you're being paranoid

Like an animal backed into a corner, with no other choice but to lash out, if you begin to unravel a sociopath's web of deceit and confront them, they'll come for you.

Accusing you of being overly suspicious, they'll use their bag of tricks to make you out to be the bad person here.

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To save yourself the heartache and havoc, trust your instincts. Don't ignore the red flags, if things seem too good to be true, they probably are. Failing to turn and run can cause you to be ensnared in the selfish sociopath's scheming ways.