Head Games

What Freud never knew

Why Are Mean People So Good Looking?

According to a new study, people who are bad know how to make themselves look good. Read More

Why Are Mean People So good Looking?

I find that many of my conversations with my friends are asking why we are a always attracted to the “mean” ones when there are many people nice guys out there. This study was interesting to see that there is a significance associated with effective adornment. It makes sense that people with dark personalities know how to look good and therefore makes them more attractive to others. When people first meet it is usually the looks that catch their eye rather than their personality so it makes sense that if they now how to look good they will attract more people. I don’t believe that this should be a concern that the effect of psychopathy because just because they display some of the darker traits such as strategic, manipulative about people, and being conceited’’ or narcissistic does not mean that they have psychopathy tendencies. I think people who scored higher on hurting people and appears to be reckless should be a concern. I think that it is true that these individuals experience a greater self-esteem and satisfaction from the additional attention that they get and it is reinforcing for them to continue to dress the way they do. I think it builds there ego and they more attractive they feel they more they will continue to present themselves in that way. These personality traits tested in The Dark Triad Club are used to get what they want and if it is working for them I can see what they would continue to be that way. I think it is interesting to see that there is a study to back up why the mean ones are so attractive.

Could it be...

..that some of those individuals whose personalities fall within 'the dark triad' adorn themselves not just because they are looking for short term liasons, but in fact wish to feel 'normal'. Their 'looking good' might have something to do with getting themselves out of their depths of despair. They know they are different, yet by appealing to others they feel like they are a part of the greater group, alleviating any sense of difference.

There's no despair

Cluster B types feel normal just as they are. There is no despair, in fact, they often express satisfaction with themselves and their difference. They don't want to be part of the group and they genuinely feel superior to the ordinary masses of humanity. They enjoy their separateness and difference! When they meet another like themselves they respect that person according to how removed THEY are from the norm.
They will use any tools in their kit to manipulate those around them and use their appearance according to their ability.

I once had this really great

I once had this really great best girlfriend. When I first knew her, she was a great girl -- shared the same values, was moderate in her appearance (she was very plain looking)...she was someone I absolutely trusted and adored. She was also religious at this time, and went so far as to get baptised...did her Sunday bible studies; surrounded herself with mostly like-minded people. But then some years later she and her family came into a lot of money (illegally) which caused a change in her personality and appearance, as well as values --- I noticed that she was changing fast from the person i once knew.

With the instant wealth, I guess that friend felt that she needed a new identity or something, so then the money allowed her to alter her appearance; she got a nose job, tattooed her lips and eyes...and suddenly she knew what the latest trends were for hair and make-up, as well as fashion. She had her hair flat-ironed and had to have the latest brand name fashions -- you know with the expensive logos showing up everywhere.

All of these new changes not only changed her appearance, but also her personality...she no longer cared for the wholesome values that she once had; now she valued prestige, having fun every night -- being a high-society socialite of sorts...had to go to the most popular venues, even if they were in another major city. She also started picking up some bad habits...like smoking and drinking, staying out really late. (This is a grown woman who's been married and divorced.) She of course dropped her bible studies amidst this strange transformation; she no longer went to church or hung out with those people. I was also starting to see that maybe she no longer enjoyed my company -- I'm too lowly for her....

So this friend became someone I no longer knew, she did look prettier with all the adornment..but also MEANER. Her eyebrows were drawn in one of those fine, high arches -- meant to signify...I'm woman, hear me roar??? She always had to be put together and look better than everyone else. And I could tell by her attitudes and conversations with me, that she no longer looked at me as an equal -- perhaps someone to use and take advantage of? She developed these kind of manipulative tactics, excluded me in some events...my friendship with her became less and less important to her. She had a different crowd whose company she much preferred. Eventually our friendship dissolved over a very bitter, horrific event -- and that was when I completely lost my trust in her. I guess i should have seen the signs.

Oh and coming into all of

Oh and coming into all of this money, made her look at her then husband differently -- that she was too good for him. He's nothing but a labourer, he's ugly and with no social connections. These were the excuses she made (I know) to go out and have an affair; she got pregnant, and ended up divorcing her husband -- I guess to start a new life...a lavish one, one in which people were paying attention to her and with the money she had, she must have felt more in control of her life and lifestyle (she didn't have a bad life before -- worked in a bank), and the money she had must have made her feel unaccountable for anyone, but herself. The money made her popular among her new friends. She felt she was the leader of the pack.

Some years ago, my friends

Some years ago, my friends and I were in a club and this ex-bestfriend happened to be there also with her friends. I kept away from them and didn't make eye contact. They were nothing to me, I had nothing to do with them for years. But then one of her loyal girlfriends walked up to me and told me..."Did you know that she now lives in a large, half million dollar house?" I walked away from her and ignored her. What the f*ck? Did this woman think that we're in highschool? Does she really care think I care?

Money and greed does weird things to people, this is straight proof!!! Vote for Obama!!!


Obama's not poor anymore or his wife....what's your point?


So what exactly is your question?


Yeah, what you said in the last entence!!!!

Ummm...I'm sorry your friend

Ummm...I'm sorry your friend ditched you. If she was truly good on the inside nothing would have changed that. Maybe you should go vent to a shrink instead of of putting your story on here since it has nothing to do with this article. Poor people can be just as nasty too. The prisons are full of them.

@Responder Did someone


Did someone promote you to moderator?

Greed changes people...whether rich or poor.

That friend once had a heart pure of gold, believe it or not. But in our world of excess and status, kindness seen as weakness, sometimes people feel pressured to adopt another identity -- money is often the gateway to that.

Often times, people abuse alcohol, drugs, and smoking and other bad behaviors with the belief that these will help make them "stronger"... tougher...seen as less weak -- and ultimately change, become EXTROVERTED to be accepted by others and not seen as weak, too kind. This is what a lot of teenagers go through...especially the ones seen as "weak" by bullies and society. It's a real shame, really.

They adopt a new mask, and some never take it off...it becomes their new identity -- it's now a part of their make-up. These are the people who see themselves as caterpillars and only when they become butterflies do they feel accepted. Then they become like everyone else before them...feeding into this vicious cycle.

Sometimes even the most

Sometimes even the most well-adjusted and social individuals are unhappy with themselves...they're seen as "too good", being good is also seen as a weakness. These individuals also want to break away from this good image people have of them...so then the best way to do this in their minds is to get into drugs, drink, take up smoking...some dress "tough" to look tough...do things out of character, shock people. We see this in many young good celebrities who then turn "bad". They shed their good girl or good boy images. A real shame again. Everyone wants to become hardened, but not criminals.

We don't reward good behaviors, only in institutions (school) where you get stickers like "good job" and stars for effort, in real life, we reward and elevate individuals who are bad...bad is good, tough and "strong", bad is not weak or kind. Being bad is COOL, at least you don't get picked on.

Some of the perceived

Some of the perceived well-adjusted and social individuals, instead of getting into drugs or smoking -- they choose another route to be seen as bad (less good), their addiction? --- Bullying!


interesting post...
There was a previous article that was challenging the "absolute power corrupts absolutely" kind of an investigation into the book "animal farm".

It pretty much stated that power doesn't really corrupt those who really do have good intentions and morals. My thought is that this friend that maybe appeared to be all these good qualities really wasn't. That there really was another person in her that was superficial that she just never embraced. But with all the new found wealth/ power she was able to.



OK this makes a whole lot of sense when you think about itl



Mean people are mean. And the average person wants to be accepted. And mean people never really accept them completely. Since they are mean towards the person, that person strives for their acceptance.

It's kind of how hot girls go for assholes.



Mean people are "so good looking" my A**

Mean people are no better looking than anyone else. The writer of this article is just attracted to mean people. Its all in his head, he should consult his therapist!

Read the article. Even a

Read the article. Even a quick scan will show you that the writer is female, "mean people" refers specifically to the Dark Triad, or Cluster B personality traits and disorders, and attractiveness is defined either by good looks based on deliberate adornment or attractiveness without adornment.
Simply put, people who are inclined to use others and don't care too much if they cause hurt are also more likely to be attractive because they try to be. This helps them get what they want.

Good looking?

I agree with Could it be? in that mean people could be using their looks to make up for a lack of self-esteem. If they feel they are becoming 'more like everyone else' then they don't have to feel so bad about their short comings or lack of meaning in their lives.

But what if this 'attractiveness' that we seem to attribute to mean people is more of our attempts at 'fixing' them? Maybe it is more that we take an interest in them, subconsciously are trying to figure out why they are this terrible person, but mistake it for being attracted to them. Even simply being curious about someone is showing some interest.That interest on top of them being coiffed and dressed to the nines, could spell attractiveness, even if it is at a basic level.

Or if we want to go slightly evolutionary with this it could be that we allow ourselves to be attracted to those in a position of power, because powerful people put thought into their looks. Just a thought.

The most powerful people

The most powerful people alive today don't give crap about their looks.
You honestly think anyone who actually has any power, has a look at me mind set? I could list numerous examples, but they you would just list how I was mistaken and list those who hire publicists and fashion advisers. You mistake power with fame. The two aren't interchangeable, and the fast majority of "The Power Elite" aren't famous are seen in media and on tv all day everyday or even yearly or at all.

Re: The most powerful people

It was just a theory, and it was followed by "just a thought".

Psychology is such a

Psychology is such a pseudoscience. Let me guess, mean people want to sleep with their mother/father's as well... It doesn't take a psychologist to know most psychologists are "crazy" themselves.

...and yet you are here on

...and yet you are here on Psychology Today, reading and commenting articles. According to your logic, wouldn't this site be pretty much an asylum?

Can it be because they are

Can it be because they are good looking they are solicited a lot and have to be firm or mean to people to not fall into a stalking like situation?.

Yeah but if the beauty is

Yeah but if the beauty is adorned they might enjoy shooting people down. I know for a FACT I don't enjoy the attention and so have turned into a baggy clothed non make up wearing messed up hair having person. If I want the attention I occasional dress up. But usually I remember how uncomfortable I am turning people down. That is what I don't like about being hit on. If they are putting a effort to adorn themselves they should act like they like the attention and treat people that give them this attention with a least a little politeness.

Beauty = Free Lunch

Could it be simply that the ugly mean people get knocked down pretty early?

Without good looks, they have to get nicer.


Specious reasoning and a dearth of evidence

I'm not convinced of what's presented in this article. 'Mean' people come in all shapes and sizes, and regardless if they belong to the 'Dark Triad', some people are born with features that not even the best accessories can enhance. And...don't we all try to look our best-?

The supporting evidence for this theory is based on one study, looking at a sample of only 111 people, who are on average 19 years old; that means some are older but some are younger. Did we not all care just a tad more about our appearance when we were 19? Not just our appearance, but our identities. We've just barely passed out of adolescence, and we hardly know who we are; as someone already mentioned, at that age, we're still trying desperately to fit in and seem like part of the crowd.

A single sample of 111 people in no way proves or even points semi-solidly toward the validity of a theory, nor does the subjective nature of the small amount of 'data' collected do much to buffer even that study.

Wholly unconvinced.

Haha so _thats_ why I've

Haha so _thats_ why I've always had a thing for scruffy men over suited metrosexual types, I'm unknowingly filtering out dark triad types.

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Vinita Mehta, Ph.D., Ed.M., is a clinical psychologist and journalist. She was formerly the Development Producer and Science Editor of PBS's This Emotional Life.


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