Social Question

philosopher's avatar

Do you have the ability to read people well?

Asked by philosopher (9165points) May 18th, 2010

I think I have the ability to read people well. I can not behave like a sheep or moron. I see through all attempts to manipulate me or deceive me.
Sometimes I have to tolerate people because they have a little power over me or a family member.
I am wondering how you all deal with this?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

21 Answers

mikey_ca's avatar

I feel like I can read people too well. This is why I do not have many friends:)
I hate faking and acting like everything is all good when it really isn’t so in my mind. So I rather avoid people who give me a bad vibe even though they may seem so friendly to the average person.
I hate fake smiling :)

liminal's avatar

Sometimes I am really good at reading people and other times I am not. People often tell me I am really good at reading others.

For me, I have taught myself to hold my readings loosely. Mainly, because I am not above projecting and transferring my personal stuff onto people. I think part of my being able to read people is a gift and a good part of it is having grown up in an abusive and neglectful environment. It can be my goto defense mechanism. To be really transparent, sometimes it is just me sizing somebody up before they size me up. I have worked hard in my life to not fall into this default.

I have worked very hard to learn to hear people well. I think people who believe I ’read’ others may not understand that, really, I listen intently. I try to listen to people carefully and deeply. I frequently check in on what I think I am hearing. Sometimes what I hear confirms my ’ reading’ and sometimes it shows my misjudgments. It is becoming more and more natural for me to listen first.

le_inferno's avatar

I feel I’m quick at detecting ignorance. This doesn’t make someone bad, but it often makes me feel an immediate distaste for them. I usually assess someone immediately, which is efficient but perhaps unfair. I’m good at knowing whether or not I’ll get along with someone or connect with them in a significant way, almost immediately.

DominicX's avatar

I like to think I can. Let’s just say that I’ve been right enough that it gives me the impression that I am fairly good at it.

However, I think a lot of people only think they are excellent at reading people and just disguise their judgmental attitude as an ability to “read” people. I’ve been mistaken about people enough to realize that not everyone is at the same level of “readability”.

When it comes to people being manipulative, I will not stand for that. I’m not going to keep quiet; I’m going to call them out on it. I can be confrontational, but it works for me. I suppose that’s my way of “dealing” with that.

eden2eve's avatar

@liminal, that is a great answer.
I am usually pretty capable of reading people, but can be influenced by my bias. I am also affected by my past abuse issues, and can get defensive or project attitudes that are most likely not really in the intent of the person.
Sometimes I do (correctly) read someone as being manipulative, and will allow it if they seem fragile emotionally. I’m learning to allow less and less, as I find that I do no good to the manipulator by being silent. This tendency is not easy for me to change, as I have a very strong innate desire to cause no harm. I have to remind myself that I can be enabling, thus really being unhelpful to the individual. It’s a tough one for me.

philosopher's avatar

I am glad to know that like me others refuse to be sheep.
Unfortunately in some situations I must be a phony.
How can we all make these deceptive people come clean? When they have power over us?
I wish I knew.

liminal's avatar

@philosopher I am usually direct and ask. Then they know how I perceive them and this can immediately stop certain behaviors. Then how they respond usually tells me a lot also.

It is hard to say for sure without specific examples though.

perspicacious's avatar

I’m pretty good at this. I have been wrong though.

absalom's avatar

Yes, and it used to be a ‘hobby’, but I found it only depressed me more than anything else (no one’s image/projected aesthetic is ever really representative of who he/she is) so I stopped actively trying to read friends or discover others’ motives or whatever. Sometimes it’s best not to be too close to people.

But it can be ‘dangerous’ to rely too heavily on one’s readings of others. In my case I ended up privileging the apparent knowledge I had of my friends over the actual relationships I could have been developing with them, which sounds weird in retrospect but seems to be the only way I can explain what happened. How can you develop meaningful relationships if you’re always concerned with others’ motives or looking for some confirmation for your own biases/suspicions of them?

Also think @DominicX is correct when he says many people like to think they’re good at understanding others. I had a friend who referred to it, stupidly, as ‘analyzing’ people, but most of his observations were shallow/obvious/reductive/nothing more than fodder for gossip and shit-talking. He was generally a bad listener (but a good person)—or, so goes my reading of him; maybe I’m wrong.

eden2eve's avatar

Sometimes I have just restated their question…. ”(annoying person), do you mean (manipulative statement worded in a very slightly different way)?” When they answer to the affirmative… Then I just say… “Hmmmmmm” and shake my head. They invariably read that I know their intent. It has worked for me.

Jeremycw1's avatar

I can’t read girls at all…

Vunessuh's avatar

I think that very few people actually know how to read people well.
I agree with @DominicX that people think they have this ability as a means to disguise judgmental and intolerant behavior. I’ve come to find that some of these people who are so solid of this ability they have, are nothing more than know-it-alls, hate to be proven wrong and rarely give people the benefit of the doubt. For example, someone may think of myself a certain way and end up being totally wrong, but they’ll never recognize that because their ‘intuition’ tells them that I am this other way. Hence, they continue strongly believing in their own opinions rather than considering the fact that they could have been wrong. This does NOT make someone intuitive. It makes them intolerant and ignorant and sadly, most of them will never recognize this behavior and continue to convince others of their magical ability by convincing people that because they think so-and-so is like this, then it must be true…because they can read people well. Bullshit.

I operate by recognizing and understanding that in time people will eventually reveal themselves to you and this process can reinforce, weaken or strengthen what I’ve already thought of them. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. If I’m right, I’m right. But I will never use my intuition as an excuse that someone has to be a certain way because I personally think so. I’d rather be proven wrong of someone’s character than do that to myself or others. I would be essentially depriving myself of the chance to truly like someone or realize that I shouldn’t be associated with someone if I operated that way.

wonderingwhy's avatar

For the most part I read people with a fair bit of accuracy based on having been right more than wrong. I don’t generally rely on it though. It’s too easy to misinterpret and in most cases not worth my time to try and determine whether or not I’m correct. If I have a question I’ll ask. If I feel someone is trying to manipulate/deceive me I’ll generally give them the benefit of the doubt. If it becomes an issue I usually weigh going along with it vs. calling them on it, depending on which I believe to be most beneficial to myself; as a rule I don’t tolerate such people, regardless of their perceived power (short of holding a gun to my head), unless I believe it to be advantageous.

philosopher's avatar

I don’t judge people.
I simply don’t allow them to manipulate me and there is a big difference.
I also don’t trust easily and that is simply smart.
I am not a leader or follower. I follow my our path.
If people decide to start a riot I certainly would not join them. I fear too many sheep like people might.
Knowing how to read people comes with life experience.
Some young people can read people but most people under thirty can not.

roundsquare's avatar

Sure, I’m pretty good at reading people. Unless its a girl I’m trying to court, In these cases, I have no idea what’s going on.

downtide's avatar

I’m very quick to get an impression of a person’s character, and whether they’re trustworthy. And I’m nearly always right.

Silhouette's avatar

Well enough I suppose.I know when someone is blowing sunshine up my butt, I know when I’m being worked and I’m fairly skilled at knowing a lie when I hear one. But, there is always the one who flies under the radar. I take people at face value for the most part.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
philips's avatar

I can read people so well its effecting my life, I do not believe in psychics or anything like that..I’ve just had an ability to read people so well since the age of about 5..I’ve been a very deep thinker for most of my life and I suppose this has given the gift to read people…It actually scares me sometimes because I’ve actually predicted the future in many cases. I used to think everybody had a rough idea about reading people and situations but most people don’t notice the tiny things that I do. I can see things so fast its a joke and its not good for relationships…every girlfriend I’ve had I can read so well she can’t get away with even the smallest white lies which break the trust and eventually the relationship.
Most of the time I just stay quiet about it but eventually things will happen that I have predicted.. its 99.9% correct every time. sometimes I even dream things and the dream is so close to whats happening in the predictions.
I’ve tried to ignore it but I’m so good at it that its impossible.
The only thing I can say is to use it as a tool and to your advantage.

freeeak's avatar

Philosopher, I have wondered this for a very long time also, and have assumed there was something wrong with the way my mind works.. and most of the answers given on here, aren’t really helpfull to me.

I have struggled in every aspect of my life due to this ‘ability’ or ‘awareness’ I find that I can take on other personas easily, to blend in with the crowd I’m with, and am usually pushed to the front in leadership like positions because people mistake my intuition, for intellegence. I have a strong influence over other people bordering on manipulation, it makes me extremely uncomfortable, so I generally keep my opinions to myself. I get frustrated very easily and am very impatient.

When it comes to reading other people, it’s not about ‘Judging’ them as some others would say, but more like listening to what they’re telling you, but also hearing what they’re not.

I could go on and on, BUT the way I deal with it.. I’ve learnt to appreciate small things in people, and ultimately get a greater insight into who they are.. with all they’re quirks, behaviours that I find absolutely ridiculous and thinking patterns I find equal to that of a cave man.. and except them, it won’t, however, stop you from becoming annoyed with the blindness of the ‘sheep’. So I take time out regularly from friends and family, to read, or study languages and music.

Response moderated

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther