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Thread: Reading people

  1. #1
    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Reading people

    Have you ever considered, in hindsight, that you were absolutely wrong about someone? What happened?

    It's hard for me to ever arrive to this conclusion, because I tell myself I simply ignore or minimize signs instead of not see them. But is there even a difference? Lately, I wonder if I'm just as blind as everyone I criticize.

    The problem is... the belief that I could be wrong, or that I could be misunderstanding, would make me significantly more reserved, guarded and cautious in general. Part of the reason I can ever be bold in some spheres is due to this. I just don't think I'm wrong. I think I know everything. I'm starting to wonder whether it does more harm than good.
    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

  2. #2
    Global Moderator Polemarch's Avatar
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    I'm pretty good at reading people, to the extent that I'm not involved in any way.
    We didn't land on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock landed on us.

  3. #3
    singularity precursor Limey's Avatar
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    I can almost see your intuition divining rod from here, it's huge!
    I try not to be absolute about anything, so I that can absolutely never be wrong.
    Last edited by Limey; 12-20-2015 at 07:50 AM. Reason: haha I wrote diving rod, what a retard

  4. #4
    Bringer of Jollity MoneyJungle's Avatar
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    I'm more into US Weekly, but seriously folks I'm incapable of connecting with anyone beyond a superficial level.

    Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?

  5. #5
    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    All my conclusions about anything/anyone are provisional.

    That being said, I tend to err on the side of giving people the benefit of the doubt. I find most peoples' motivations to be quite relatable, even if I don't share those motivations. While it definitely makes me a bit naive when it comes to others, I think that having an overall positive expectation of people frequently has a self-fulfilling-prophecy sort of effect.

    You know how there are some people that just elevate the performance and capabilities of those around them? like how a guy who played on a line with Wayne Gretzky would generally experience a surge in points on his stats, no matter his skill level...because Gretzky would bounce the puck into the net off the guy's nose in order to get a goal. I don't think that'd be possible if Gretzky saw all the liabilities in his line mates. If you don't afford people the opportunity to be radically different than we expect them to be, they tend not to surprise you. If we don't treat them differently than they 'deserve' to be treated, it sort of just preserves the status quo.
    I want to be the sort of person who elevates those around me...and i think that takes a good deal of creativity...and, with certainty, what room is left for creativity?

    In conclusion, I think it's best to be a decent judge of character...and not to be a perfect judge of character. Reading is a great skill...but we can't focus entirely on reading if we're intent upon writing, too.
    ...the origin of emotional sickness lay in people’s belief that they were their personalities...
    "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." ~Carl Jung

  6. #6
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    I read people fairly accurately. My first impression typically turns out correct, and I've frequently had things like hiring decisions justified (such as when I thought a person would or wouldn't be a good fit). I can't think of any situations where I realized I was completely wrong about someone.

    I have known people who were awful at reading people. Most of them were too trusting, and almost had an agenda in getting to know a person. They assumed qualities that don't exist. Maybe that's my advantage, I start out with the assumption that everyone is an asshole.

    There's also a sexuality component. I'm less accurate at reading someone if I'm attracted to them.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lud View Post
    I read people fairly accurately. My first impression typically turns out correct, and I've frequently had things like hiring decisions justified (such as when I thought a person would or wouldn't be a good fit). I can't think of any situations where I realized I was completely wrong about someone.

    I have known people who were awful at reading people. Most of them were too trusting, and almost had an agenda in getting to know a person. They assumed qualities that don't exist. Maybe that's my advantage, I start out with the assumption that everyone is an asshole.

    There's also a sexuality component. I'm less accurate at reading someone if I'm attracted to them.
    I absolutely agree.

    There have been about three or four occasions in my entire life in which I brushed off my initial bad gut feeling and pursued friendly relations with people I felt a spontaneous aversion to (often telling myself that my intuition was being unreasonable). Acting against my better (intuitive) judgement eventually bit me in the behind every single time.

    Contrarily, all of my long-standing friendships are with people I rapidly developed an intense liking to. At least I've never erred on that front.

  8. #8
    I've been told I'm pretty good at gauging people. I've always entertained the thought that my supposed people gauging skills are the reason I'm so introverted.

    If my eyes are accurate, all I can say is "Be afraid". Nobody ever listens, though.
    Quote Originally Posted by whatloveihave View Post
    I don't find you a potential threat to human society, you're not crazy. Feces.

  9. #9
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    I rarely form an opinion of others. Once I do, I'm usually not wrong.

  10. #10
    igKnight Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Polemarch View Post
    I'm pretty good at reading people, to the extent that I'm not involved in any way.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lud View Post
    There's also a sexuality component. I'm less accurate at reading someone if I'm attracted to them.
    Agreed.

    I think I'm pretty good about reading people in the absence of a stake in the outcome or attraction to them--and I concur with the idea posited by @stigmatica, I'm certain that it's related to my introversion. I've rarely had a fast friend turn out to be a bad friend, though I have had people who seemed like fast friends that I recognized as merely good manipulators. The difference is this: fast friends are people that I discuss ideas with and feel happy about the discussion. The manipulators invoke similar happiness but do it by way of well worded compliments--they manage to hone in on those things that I would be pleased to be complimented on, and while it does affect me, it also causes me to put psychological distance between myself and the interaction, and I start analyzing their words and finding the calculations behind their sums.

    More rarely, someone sets off my tweaky alarm. Usually on sight, sometimes within a few moments of talking. I always listen to the alarm. It may have been wrong before, but I have no memory where ignoring it turned out well. Since my reaction to my tweaky alarm is just to gtfo and put distance between myself and the tweaky situation, I think it's best to err on the side of caution.

    The tricky part is that because tweaky alarms are far and few between, sometimes I start to misread anxiety as tweaky alarm. Anxiety I quell as best I can manage, tweaky alarm, I flee or take up defensive position.

    All that said, some of my best friendships grew out of immediate animosity. Funny how that can play out.
    --Mention of these things is so taboo, they aren't even allowed a name for the prohibition. It is just not done.

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