Reading People

Every day we interact with people. We instinctively trust some and distrust others. Sometimes we make the wrong choice. We trust someone we should have distrusted. We get our fingers burned and once bitten twice shy, so we decline into a competition of screw them before they screw me. And the world is in a sorry state because of this.

I can speak of experience. The amount of school fees I needed to pay for trusting people still runs interest. And while I pay this interest, I often envy people like my wife who sense people’s true intent within seconds. What do they have that makes them read people like they do?

Maybe we can explore together. We know trusting people will move us forward, but how to know who to trust and who not.

The ability to read people is to have the character strength of humanity, our ability to befriend (trust) others. We all have it; we just need to develop it.

The ability to read people correctly, links directly with our social intelligence. As you know there are different types of intelligence. So before you deduct that because I incorrectly trusted someone I should not have trusted, therefore I do not have social or emotional intelligence, first understand intelligence.

Intelligence is the ability to make finer distinctions. Someone that has financial intelligence will know were and when to invest money, and as with any personal intelligence it can be developed and learned. So the question is: What do I need to do to be able to make finer distinctions?

I think there are two important actions:

1. Make mistakes. Yes make them and learn from them. Go back to those events in your life you trusted unwisely. Dissect the situation. Identify what was your responsibility in the situation. Write down the lesson you learned and then write down next to it, what this lesson cost you. Don’t forget this last part. The price tag will keep you from repeating it.

2. Expose your weakness to someone that has it as a strength and make them part of your team. Yes I know. You have to trust someone to do this. I had to lose a lot of my own ego to expose myself to my wife’s strength. The question I would like to ask you is: Which is more important? An intact ego and repetitive mistakes, or a downsized ego and moving forward with a stronger team?

I suppose there are more things one can do to increase our people reading ability aka social intelligence. If you know of something that worked for you, please feel free to share. Why? You might ask – Because there is a bigger cause to this than our own protection. The need for human kind to stop destroying itself in fear, but be inspired to build up humanity in love.

A well developed humanity gives us the ability to “walk boldly into men’s hearts” (in Akira Kurosawa’s words from his film Kagemusha) and rev them up.

And who wouldn’t like to be this inspiring?

With trust


3 thoughts on “Reading People

  1. …now, that’s what i reckon the math of our realm equates to from a humane point of view…in a nutshell…honestly inspiring…

  2. Thanks for your illuminating thoughts on trust. These are deep concepts, books can be written about each of them. So here’s my five cents’ worth:

    Trust brings a number of natural laws into operation.
    Firstly, each of us have to learn different lessons in life. For some, it is the lesson of trust. Others have to learn to express themselves, or to create order around them, or perhaps the lesson of how to be of service to others.
    We may compare our deemed “weakness” to others, for whom this character trait that we’re aspiring towards, seem to be a strength, but they of course, may have different lessons to work on. It is a wise man who is able to put his pride in his pocket and learn from others. Realising we have a “weakness” may be discouraging, or for some it may become exactly what ignites our deeper thinking about this particular aspect. It will be fascinating to hear your wife’s take on trust.
    Seeing that this “lesson” forms part of our particular “curriculum” in life, we therefore keep finding ourselves in situations in which we will experience this “something” that we want to learn. And, being beginners in this particular area, we may keep making mistakes, until we finally “get it”. Once we’ve learnt, it is transformed into a strength and we really shine as we then live in “flow” and are able to express the positive aspects of this “something” in our lives.

    Secondly, we get what we expect. Said in other words: our beliefs shape our reality. We may think that we trust a particular individual, but because of the fact that somewhere deep down in our minds we have a belief, namely that people cannot be trusted, this deeper belief overrides our conscious thoughts and we may experience situations that prove that we were correct in the first place to postulate that people cannot be trusted. This could become a vicious circle: we think something is true about life; we then experience a situation that confirms exactly what we were thinking; in the process our belief is strengthened – which means this pattern will keep repeating itself over and over in our lives.

    The third law is the law of attraction. We mistrust ourselves, which means we will attract situations into our lives that reflect this. It is as if events become a mirror in which we can “see ourselves”. If we’re still stuck in the blaming-routine, we’ll think that life’s unfair, but if we’re striving to become better people, we’ll be brave enough to look into the mirror and see what’s really happening.

    On a deeper level, I think we all experience mistrust and cheating to some degree. The reason for this is because we are not true to ourselves, and are therefore “cheating” others from seeing who we really are.
    It may be because of past experiences. We may have experienced a setback, and with enough repetitive occurrences, we “conclude” that this something that we were trying to achieve is “wrong” or dangerous, and should be avoided in future. But our deeper self continues to desire to achieve this particular thing that we were working on! This leads to a conflict within us: we begin to mistrust our inherent inclinations, and suppress aspects of ourselves that we were actually supposed to expose to the world. We denounce a part of who we are. (Fortunately for us Thomas Edison did not have this kind of self-talk, he merely viewed his failed attempts at creating incandescent light as lessons on what not to do, and continued experimenting.) If others can’t trust us to be who we really are, why is it then that we expect them to be fully trustworthy and accountable towards us? Once again we draw experiences into our lives that will enable us to learn this lesson. The lesson of knowing who we are, and living that truth.

    The question then is: how true am I to who I really am? How trustworthy am I?

    I’m not pointing fingers at anybody, I too, as a fellow member Homo Sapiens, am guilty of a host of “weaknesses”. It would be nice though to hear what others think about this as well.

  3. your wife may be my wifes clone…..
    women pick up non verbal clues by nature faster and better than most men..if your wife anietxy prone she will do it even faster.

    That is not to say men can not do the same on avaerage women tend to be that way beacsuie that is the way the female mind works
    it has adown side. they only think they know …but they never reaklly do…

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