How To Read ANYONE

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How to Judge Character

Three Methods:

When you meet someone new, it is natural to wonder about their personality. Are they kind? Are they honest? This is especially important if you are trying to get a read on a new co-worker or someone like your brother's new fiance. If you can learn to be a better judge of character, you can feel more at ease around new people. In order to help you make an assessment of character, look for several specific traits. You can also take steps to observe someone's actions.


Evaluating Personal Characteristics

  1. Consider the communication style.Maybe you are interacting with a new person. Or perhaps you are trying to get a better sense of someone who is already part of your life. Judging someone's character can help you understand them, and noticing how they communicate is helpful.
    • Pay attention to the amount of talking that is being done. Is the person you are evaluating speaking more than anyone else in the room?
    • If the conversation seems very one-sided, it is possible that the person you are observing is not a very good listener.
    • Controlling the conversation could also be a sign that the person is somewhat domineering. These might not be traits that you enjoy being around.
  2. Pay attention to body language.A person's body language is a good indicator of some personality traits. For example, maybe you notice that very little eye contact occurs when you speak to that person. That can indicate a few different things.
    • Refusing to make eye contact might indicate timidity. It could also indicate dishonesty or insecurity.
    • You can also use a person's handshake to evaluate their personality. A firm handshake indicates confidence.
    • A handshake that crushes your hand might indicate a need to dominate. A very weak handshake can indicate lack of interest.
  3. Notice the energy in the room.Pay attention to how other people react to the person you are evaluating. The energy level in the room can help you figure out some key things about someone's character. Observe how the vibe changes when the new person enters the room.
    • Does the room suddenly seem quiet and uncomfortable? It might be that the person makes others somewhat uneasy.
    • Perhaps the room seems lighter and happier. Maybe the person you are observing makes others feel at ease. That could indicate kindness.
    • Does this person seem to give energy or to suck it in? It is always better to add to energy rather than deplete it.
    • Ask yourself if you would be comfortable taking a long car trip with this person. That can help you figure out how you feel about him or her.
  4. Decide if you can trust the person.Trust is an important part of any good relationship. This is true for personal and professional relationships. When you are judging someone's character, take some steps to figure out if they are trustworthy.
    • Take a look at their track record. Past performance is sometimes and indicator of future actions.
    • For example, maybe you are considering dating someone who you know cheated on an ex. Mistakes do happen, and people often deserve a second chance. But keep all relevant information in mind when forming an opinion.
    • Do you have a co-worker who is routinely late? If you cannot rely on someone to be on time, you might not be able to trust them with greater responsibility.
    • Give people a chance to prove you can trust them. For example, if you have a new friend, see how she reacts when you tell her some sensitive information. If she's kind and a good listener, she could be trustworthy.
  5. Handle someone who is not nice.Unfortunately, you will sometimes have to be around people who do not have good characteristics. You might have to figure out how to deal with someone who is dishonest, or just plain rude. Learning to cope with people who aren't nice can help you feel more comfortable about those interactions.
    • Keep in mind that you can control your reactions. Just because someone else is mean does not mean that you have to behave in kind.
    • For example, if a co-worker makes a snide remark about your cluttered desk, just say something non-committal. Try, "Yes, I guess I've been so busy I haven't had much time to straighten up."
    • Look at the reason's behind someone's bad attitude. Does your sister continuously belittle your choice to not have kids? It's possible that she is jealous that you can take a vacation whenever you want.
    • Remember that compassion is always a good choice. Try to be kind, even when others are not.

Judging Someone's Actions

  1. Observe interactions with strangers.Paying attention to the way someone acts can help you figure out some key things about their character. It can be very interesting to watch how someone interacts with people they don't know. Pay attention to this in a variety of situations.
    • Maybe you are out on a first date. If your companion treats the waiter rudely, that can be a negative sign.
    • People who are rude to strangers might also be rude to people they know. There might also be issues with a superiority complex.
    • Perhaps you are in a taxi with a new co-worker. Observe how he or she treats the driver.
    • If your colleague refuses to answer questions or make small talk, that can reveal some negative things about character. It might indicate an unwillingness to be kind to others.
  2. Evaluate consistency.Make sure to observe the person in several different situations. You want to be able to see how they react in a variety of scenarios. You don't want to judge character based on one interaction.
    • Look for patterns in behavior. Is this person consistently rude to the other mom's at your son's school? She may not be a nice person.
    • However, you might see that most times your new neighbor behaves kindly. Just because there was one rude remark about your loud music, that doesn't necessarily mean they are a bad person.
    • Remember that everyone has bad days and good days. The key is to try to observe the person in a variety of settings.
  3. Look for red flags.Reading people can be hard. Unless you know someone well, you may not really have a good grasp of their character. Fortunately, there are some signs you can look for to help you figure it out.
    • Notice whether the person seems very quick to anger or likes to talk about violence. This can indicate some anger issues.
    • Pay attention to a tendency to blame others. For example, maybe your co-worker always passes the blame if a client doesn't like the proposal. That can indicate some character flaws.
    • Be wary if the person seems to lack compassion. If you have an acquaintance who never gives up his seat on the bus to an elderly women, that is another warning sign.
  4. Appraise the honesty level.Lying is generally an indicator that someone has some character flaws. But how to tell if a person is honest? Fortunately, there are some signs to look for.
    • A person might be lying if the tone and volume of their voice radically changes. For example, if you are talking to your neighbor and you mention that a package went missing from you porch, be wary, if your neighbor practically shrieks, "I don't know what you're talking about!"
    • A person who continually proclaims their honesty may have something to hide. For example, if your brother's new girlfriend regularly proclaims how honest she is, she might be covering something up.
    • For example, if she regularly says, "I am a really honest person. You can ask anyone!", you might start to wonder why she regularly feels the need to say that.
  5. Keep your best interests in mind.Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if someone means well, or if they are intentionally trying to hurt you. This is an important distinction. Someone with good character will not try to intentionally cause you to feel uncomfortable or upset.
    • Think about your best interests. Ask yourself if the person in question is also thinking about your best interests.
    • For example, is your mom constantly trying to fix you up on blind dates? It is likely that she just thinks you'll be happier in a relationship.
    • But what if a friend regularly belittles your spouse? That is likely not something that is being done with your best interests in mind.
    • Ask yourself questions such as, "How does this person make me feel? Am I happier when I am around her?"
    • You can also think, "Does this person care about my feelings?" If the answer is no, then your best interests are likely not a priority.

Keeping an Open Mind

  1. Consider your own emotions.Before you rush to judgement, take a moment to reflect on your own feelings. Maybe you have a sense that the new woman in your yoga class is unfriendly. But are you actually projecting?
    • Think about your own state of mind. Are you frustrated because you had a bad evaluation at work? You might be letting your bad mood color your perception.
    • Does your new co-worker seem like a know-it-all? Take a moment to think about your own role at the company. Are you actually just nervous that you won't receive a much-wanted promotion?
    • Your own emotions definitely impact how you view the world. And that includes how you judge character. Make sure to keep that in mind.
  2. Be a good listener.When you are judging someone's character, it is important to keep an open mind. That means thinking about your own biases. And it means that you need to be a good listener.
    • Maybe you've always assumed that your upstairs neighbor is just rude and cranky. If you actually have a conversation with her, you might discover that she's upset because she is coping with the loss of a loved one.
    • Limit distractions. Maybe you've always found your brother-in-law annoying. Instead of texting your friends about your dislike, put down your phone.
    • Take time to actually listen to others without distractions like phones or televisions. You might discover that there are some parts of their personality that really appeal to you.
  3. Look for the positives.When you are keeping an open mind, try to avoid focusing on negative personality traits. Instead, make an effort to concentrate on the positives. Shifting your focus might help you arrive at a more positive judgement.
    • For example, maybe you have always noticed how impatient your co-worker is. But have you taken the time to notice that she is always willing to help someone who is struggling to meet a deadline?
    • You can also avoid anticipating negative outcomes. Maybe you've never had a positive interaction with your landlord. Keep an open mind and allow your next encounter to be more positive.
  4. Accept differences.Keeping an open mind means that you are comfortable with people being different from you. Maybe a new person in your social group has a very dry sense of humor. It's okay if you two laugh at different things. It doesn't make one of you a better person than the other.
    • Keep in mind that you might come from different backgrounds. People who are have different experiences might react differently to the same situation.
    • Be willing to accept that people are different. Just because someone has different personality traits that does not mean they have poor character.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    If person is sharing his What'sApp account and Facebook account, or giving his passwords out, how should I judge him?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    As naive. You should politely and discretely warn him that not everyone is honest and he should be careful. Giving good advice is a good deed.
Unanswered Questions
  • How to know if someone in your class is going to bully you
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  • Don't rush to judgement. Take some time to get to know people.
  • Remember that just because you don't care for someone, that does not mean they are a bad person.

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