Dark Triad, Bright Triad – Finding Friends In a World of Foes

If you’ve ever ignored the red flags of a relationship, romantic or otherwise, you might feel like an idiot, that you SHOULD have seen it coming. But the truth is that most good-natured people will end up in this trap at some point in their life. As it turns out, being a good person means taking risks and sacrificing some of your safety as a sign of good faith to others.

The Dark Triad – Narcissism, Psychopathy, and Machiavellianism

You have probably heard of the Dark Triad before, and if you haven’t yet, you’re extremely likely to have encountered it within your lifetime, either in high school, college, or one of your coworkers. I’ve got a quick guide below to get you up to speed on what I mean when I use these terms:

Narcissism: In general, narcissists are extremely self-centered, and can dip into the political side of life. To them, they are the single most important person, or at least that they should be, and to them, the world really does revolve around them. They take vanity to the edge, overestimating their own abilities and downplaying the talents of others to elevate themselves. You’ll find them as teacher’s pets, bosses right hands, and if you’ve ever had someone who absolutely could not accept when their skills failed them, they might be a narcissist.

Psychopathy: Anti-social, low empathy, and a sense of grandiose self combines into this ugly corner of the triangle. Although incredibly rare, a true psychopath can wreak havoc in your life, manipulating you and those around you into false notions. Their constant need to stimulation leads them to compulsive lying, spreading rumors, and potentially disrupting an otherwise peaceful and productive workplace. Not everyone who shows these traits is a psychopath, but in general these traits should be avoided to minimize their impact on your life as well as the life of others.

Machiavellianism: Derived from Machiavelli, author of The Prince, Machiavellianism is a philosophy that at its core is completely void of moral code. In his book, Machiavelli describes a method for those in political power to work towards goals without concern for moral judgment, instead he proposes that leaders should always keep the end in mind, leaving the means to the most effective method. Machiavellianism draws on that philosophy of power over people. If you’ve ever dealt with someone who sees it as their duty to report every mistake, to go behind your back and pull strings so that they can get a leg up on you or a coworker, then you’ve likely encountered someone with this philosophy.

Fortunately, it is rare for a person to develop this trifecta of traits, but the risk is still one that should be considered, as it only takes one encounter to brutally change your life.

The way that the modern world works reflects this risk well. If you take, for example, a city block, millions of dollars of buildings, cars, and utility infrastructure, you would know that it likely took many hours of hard work to accomplish this. However, if you were to give an ill-intent man with $100 of gasoline and a box of matches, left unattended, he would be more than capable of destroying millions of dollars and thousands of hours of work, for a fraction of the price, and in a fraction of the time. That is the nature of the dark triad, rare, but gone unimpeded can shatter dozens of lives, and thus why it is important to protect yourself by avoiding these people and to expose them whenever you can.

The Bright Triad – Clarity, Maturity, and Stability

This is going to be an interesting take, but after reading through The Tactical Guide to Women (You can see my overall opinion of it by clicking the link, as well as another link to buy it directly from Amazon) by Shawn T. Smith, I realized that finding a suitable partner is much like finding good company elsewhere. In fact, most of what Dr. Smith has to say can be construed to other aspects of your life, including study groups, business partners, or coworkers.

The first Bright Triad trait mentioned is Clarity, which is a rough estimate of how forward someone is about their emotions, thoughts, views, and understanding of the situation. Clarity is important as a counterweight to regret and resentment. As Shawn mentions, one of the greatest downfalls in couples is that there is a disconnect between values, which are sometimes obscured by traits that you may find appealing now, but will become trouble for the relationship later.

Maturity, the core of the bright triad, is like the foundation of a house. In this instance, maturity is based on three major factors; The ability of someone to accept themselves and others, the resilience to maintain their code of ethics, and their general ability to be kind to others, without need of approval. Dogs are excellent purveyors of these traits, and it is for good reason that they have found their place in the world as man’s best friend. Someone who is eager to help you and reluctant to harm others, while understanding themselves and holding onto their beliefs, will certainly do nothing but great things for yourself and those around you.

I will add one more thing here, one of the pieces of advice I have ever been given is that to become great, you only need to surround yourself with great people. To clarify, becoming a mature, clear-minded, and stable person can greatly impact your life and those around you. The key to greatness is simple, find good people, and make them great, so that you too can be great.

Stability runs hand in hand with maturity, as it focuses on your ability to see yourself for who you are, whereas maturity allows you to express that self. One of the best ways to improve yourself is to first find your flaws, and then understand those flaws, their history, their reason for becoming part of your life, and then to remove them.


I’m going to go ahead and wrap it up here, I’ve got more articles in store for the bright triad theory, as I find it very interesting and highly applicable to the social world. If you have any questions or would like to request an article, feel free to drop it down in the comments below or you can email me directly at alexb@projectedinfluence.com, that way you can be ABSOLUTELY sure that I get it. As always thanks for reading and have a great future!