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Staying friends with your ex might mean you’re a psychopath

Or a narcissist, according to a new study. Is it time to hit unfriend?

Psychopathic and narcissistic tendencies cover a pretty broad spectrum: losing touch with reality, showing a lack of empathy or missing your Uber because you’re too busy taking a selfie. Maybe not that last one, but reports say that staying friends with an ex post-breakup is the new psychopath test.

A study by researchers at Oakland University found that those with ‘darker personality traits’ are way more likely to stay in touch with former flames for “strategic” advancement  – that being information, “practicality and the chance of hooking up”.

The report polled more than 861 subjects who had been through a break-up, probing them on their current relationship status with ex-bae. Then, questionnaires were supplied to zone in and “give away” narcissistic and psychopathic qualities.

Those involved in the study, published in the Personality and Individual Differences journal, claim to stay in touch because of a strong bond they share, as well as a continued sense of trust...right. A previous study by researchers also found people with these kind of personalities also picked their friends with a similar agenda.

Justin Mogilski and Dr Lisa Welling, the researchers behind “Staying friends with an ex: Sex and dark personality traits predict motivations for post-relationship friendship”, wrote:  “Although a break-up nominally marks the end of a romantic relationship, the current research suggests that resource exchange between ex-partners can extend beyond relationship dissolution.”

“Across two studies, we identified reasons for remaining friends after a break-up and outlined how the importance of these reasons varies with sex and personality,” they observe.

“This research builds upon literature examining CSFs and suggests that (post-relationship friendships) are functionally similar insofar as they permit continued exchange of desirable resources.”