How to study people like a pro: 17 tricks from psychology

This article is not about reading minds like Edward Cullen of Twilight. Only vampires can do that (if they exist).

It’s about knowing, beyond words, what other people want to say. It’s about sensing what they truly mean, even when they say otherwise.

The ability to read people properly will significantly affect your social, personal, and work life.

When you understand how another person is feeling, you can then adapt your message and communication style to make sure it is received in the best way possible.

It’s not that hard. This may sound cliche, but you don’t need any special powers to know how to read people.

So, here are 17 tips for reading people like a pro:

1. Be objective and open-minded

Before you attempt to read people, you must first practice having an open mind. Do not let your emotions and past experiences influence your impressions and opinions.

If you judge people easily, it will cause you to misread people. Be objective in approaching every interaction and situation.

According to Judith Orloff M.D in Psychology Today, “Logic alone won’t tell you the whole story about anybody. You must surrender to other vital forms of information so that you can learn to read the important non-verbal inutive cues that people give off.”

She says that to see someone clearly you must “remain objective and receive information neutrally without distorting it.”

2. Pay attention to appearance

Judith Orloff M.D says that when reading others, try to notice people’s appearance. What are they wearing?

Are they dressed for success, which indicates they are ambitious? Or they are wearing jeans and a t-shirt, which means comfort?

Do they have a pendant such as a cross or Buddha which indicates their spiritual values? Whatever they wear, you can sense something from it.

Sam Gosling, a personality psychologist at the University of Texas and author of the book Snoop, says that you should pay attention to “identity claims”.

These are things people choose to show with their appearances, such as a t-shirt with slogans, tattoos, or rings.

Here’s Gosling:

“Identity claims are deliberate statements we make about our attitudes, goals, values, etc… One of the things that are really important to keep in mind about identity statements is because these are deliberate, many people assume we are being manipulative with them and we’re being disingenuous, but I think there’s little evidence to suggest that that goes on. I think, generally, people really do want to be known. They’ll even do that at the expense of looking good. They’d rather be seen authentically than positively if it came down to that choice.”

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