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Jude's avatar

What is one thing that a person could tell you about themselves, that would give you a better understanding of who they are, and why they do what they do?

Asked by Jude (32198points) September 29th, 2011

For me, I went through some abuse as a child, thus, I am tend to fight for those who can’t speak/fight for themselves (children, the elderly and animals).

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42 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

My travels have helped solidify my connection to humanity. Striving for a more egalitarian society is more important than profits.

Wait, you meant what people could tell me? That’s up to them to tell me something that’s important to what makes them who they are. I can’t know what that is unless they tell me.

wonderingwhy's avatar

One thing is a little tough, but I’d have to say their core motivation. At least that way I have a base to equate their actions with.

picante's avatar

Picking just one thing is difficult, but I’d say it’s likely related to your answer, Jude. I’d want to know something about their childhood and their relationship to family (is that one or two!?!). Understanding connections to one’s family is typically quite telling about the individual.

Rheto_Ric's avatar

What do they look for in another human being?

Jude's avatar

What is the one thing that you could tell people about yourself?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I lost a lot of very close family members when I was young. Taught me to really value people and not worry about the other stuff. @Jude Traumatic things suck don’t they?

janbb's avatar

One brother died when I was four and I have been sexually abused. (Two things)

john65pennington's avatar

Knowing a persons astrological sign can be a great source of information for an individual person. Like, if someone gives me their date of birth, I will search their astrological sign and will immediately know what to expect from this person.

Example: people born in March have a strong will to be correct and to be a leader.

Hibernate's avatar

Depends. A good thing said at the right time can start a nice friendship but when you hear something bad said by them about themselves it might not be something you want to hear and thus you won’t see that person with good eyes.

smilingheart1's avatar

I think that one thing would be to learn how their childhood days went. That may well be the meaning of the phrase we have so often heard “to know where they’re coming from.”

Coloma's avatar

I’m a big fan of the enneagram personality typing and I often ask friends and aquaintences to share their results with me.

Otherwise yes, a persons childhood and family of origin is vital into understanding why others might behave the way they do.

Although if someone is behaving badly I don’t use their childhood issues as an excuse for bad behavior.

Figure yourself out, do your work and take charge of your stuff.

I have no interest in developing any relationships these days with people that haven’t done any personal growth work, that aren’t striving to become more authentic.

Unconscious people wreak havoc with their unresolved stuff, I steer clear.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I don’t think they could tell me much. I need to see how they are.

Actions sepak louder than words.

I’ve learned the hard way that people can easily create personas to “fit into” without actually being of good character or intergrity.

Coloma's avatar


Right. The mask of sanity. lol

harple's avatar

@Coloma I haven’t actually taken the enneagram test, but I did look at the types and decided I was a type 4…. Probably not the right way to do it!

I guess if I could only tell someone one fact about me and wanted that one fact to be able to convey as much as possible about me, it would be that my father killed himself when I was 3. I would then be relying on them to fill in the blanks of course and they may draw the wrong conclusions. (The right conclusions would be that I have a gentle personality that wants to please people, that I’m sensitive albeit mainly in a good way, and that I have experienced and had to deal with a great loss…. the wrong conclusion would be that I’m predisposed to suicide myself.)

From someone else I would appreciate knowing if there was something large that has affected them in their life. Or if I were to ask them a specific “what if” hypothetical question, it might simply be along the lines of “what would you do if a friend pulls out of a ‘date’ at the last minute?” I think you can tell a lot about a person from how relaxed they are about such things.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Coloma I always fit into the same category with Mother Theresa and usually Nelson Mandela…on this test I’m a 2

Here’s a site that lists what the test results mean

Coloma's avatar


I like the enneagram as a tool to remind us what level we are operating under in the moment. Your “wings” have credence too, I am the #7 ” The enthusiast, with the 8 wing of “The leader.” My corresponding “sin” is Gluttony. Us 7’s…we want to inhale the world! lol

Coloma's avatar


Healthy 2’s are the MOST genuinely altruistic peeps ever! :-D

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Coloma I’ll tell ya’ it does help me readily see when others have ego issues, as I have almost none

Coloma's avatar

That’s great! Considering 2’s “sin” is Pride! haha
Yeah, I’m a pretty humble hedonist. lol

GabrielsLamb's avatar

Firstly… That is very admirable of you. It is a great field of work as a life choice too. You would probably be very good at from where I stand. *I noticed that you can be very understanding and compassionate.

For me… I have been bullied much of my life, as well as suffered depression and self esteem issues so I too always take up for the underdog. I like to encourage others to be their very best as a point specifically because I feel that there are far too many bastards in life who hover over anothers process with intent to, if you allwo them, put your light out or obscure it so that their own light look a little brighter still.

I can’t stand social injustices like that, and I tend to, if even at times to my own detriment fight voraciously for those who feel abused or taken advantage of, or seperated in some way from what society deems “Normal” I dislike the concept of “Normal” very much…

I believe that more than anything else a person is thier art as an expression of self and I always therefore encourage artists and the quirky and deemed socially odd to always be who they are unabashedly…

Too many times in my life I have allowed someone In error that I thought was somehow more deserving than I was to either take from me or hurt me… I fight against them, that type of person and that mindset with everything I am. And for it… I have been accused of everything you can imagine and then some by the very people who would seek to shut me the hell up for shedding a light on their absolute hypocracy and bullsh*t that they use to abuse others with, as well as lie about within themselves to do so.

If I am a bitch… For that cause, I’ll take it, I’ll own it and I will NEVER shut the hell up!

flutherother's avatar

Knowing who a person looks up to and admires tells you a lot about a person.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

@flutherother Not always. I think that a person who is able to seperate themselves from their preferences and maintain a social sence of individuality (Less a social mindset whatever that entails) can and does appreciate things, and situations and people as well for what and whom they are, without that ending up a personal reflection on the perciever.

I love Charles Bukowski… Knowing full on well how he was… Not only a brilliant writer, artist as well as a musician, but I appreciate him despite the fact that he was an absolute masogynistic prick and still manage to maintain how very beautiful an event he was at the same time.

geeky_mama's avatar

I think telling someone I’m “INTJ” gives them a strong clue to who I am.. but only if they know Myers-Brigg..and usually it just means they say: “What!? You don’t strike me as an introvert..Are you sure?” <sigh>

GabrielsLamb's avatar

@geeky_mama I agree somewhat. I am one of the most rare types there are. I think I am 9% of the entire population of those who have taken the test?

Kinda get’s lonely sometimes.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

@Coloma That’s why I love watching you being you! It’s a beautiful thing!

Mariah's avatar

This is a nice question…I think we all have certain pivotal experiences that play a big role in defining us, and it’s difficult to know a person on any kind of deep level without knowing those things. I love learning such things about my friends.

I hate that I let this become a defining thing for me but mine is (big surprise) being chronically ill since the age of 14 and spending this past year getting surgeries. It’s hard to say just exactly how it’s affected me, since 14–19 are pretty defining ages anyhow and I have to wonder how I would have turned out had I not had those troubles.

@GabrielsLamb Those test results can be fairly misleading. There are 16 possible outcomes to the myers-briggs test which means that on average each type comprises 6.25% of the population. So if yours is truly 9%, then you’re actually one of the more common ones.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

@SpatzieLover Thanks for that link… I am a solid 4

GabrielsLamb's avatar

@Mariah I took the test a few times and I have always been what I am and it isn’t backward I am some low number reflecting the reversal… It is rare, not a popular combination but I would have to find it to show you what I mean.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

“Would you describe the people you have fallen in love with?” Tells me way more about a person’s soul than any other question.

Sunny2's avatar

I like to know where someone grew up to get a sense of their childhood years. If I get one more, I want to know how they spend their time (occupation, leisure time, whatever.
What I would like some one to know? That I have an off beat sense of humor. Usually, I don’t have to tell anyone that.

slopolk's avatar

I think if everyone came with a warning lable like Warning! I am self absorbed and I may be hazardous to your emotional health or Warning! I use women for money, this may have a drain on your bank account. lol :) That would be great than you would know what your dealing with from the get go. ha ha

beautiful21's avatar

If they can just tell me where there heart is placed on (what/ where they want to go in life) it’ll give me a completly better understanding of them.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

How they spend their money (or not)
How they navigate conflicts and issues.
How well they fathom logic.


Their blood type. People with different blood types tend to have different personalities. For example, people with blood type A tend to be more tense in nature, whereas blood type B individuals tend to be more free-wheeling and easy-going.


@harple Have you heard about blood typing and personality types? It’s like using astrology to determine how people are. Here’s an intesting article on the subject.

What blood type are you?

harple's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES good grief, that makes for very interesting reading! I can’t remember off the top of my head – it’s been a while since I gave blood… would you care to guess in the meantime? :-p


@harple Type A or O possibly. I’m type B btw. Many people of Japanese/Chinese descent are.

geeky_mama's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES – you don’t seem selfish enough to be type B. I’m classic A. Very “kichinto” as we say in Japanese. (Means something like..‘very rule-following’..)

I was told all Cats have type B blood (that can’t be true, can it?) and that people who are blood type B are like cats..aloof and selfish. You strike as more like type O—very creative and original!


@geeky_mama I am unpredictable, though. And I’m also passionate, strong, and creative. My Dad is type O, but he’s not creative or original at all. He’s more like an A.

That’s interesting what you said about cats. I love cats.

JenniferP's avatar

If they told me they had a difficult childhood it would help me understand some of their own behavior. I had a bad childhood so I am very empathetic with others who have too unless they become bullies.

Inspired_2write's avatar

If everyone was privy to everyones Private History, then we would see enough pain in a person past that would make everyone “stop” adding to it.
In short their are reasons as to “who” we become.

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