The Three Keys to Read­ing Peo­ple

Cosmopolitan (India) - - YOU, YOU, YOU -

1 Lis­ten more... say less

Ac­tive lis­ten­ing is the cru­cial first step. If your goal is to read some­one ac­cu­rately, then it’s not about you talk­ing; it’s about al­low­ing the other per­son to share in­for­ma­tion with you. The more they talk, the bet­ter in­formed you will be. Pay at­ten­tion not only to what some­one says but also what they don’t say. Do they seem to leave out cer­tain de­tails in their story? Are they look­ing at you when they speak? Ev­ery word and ges­ture they use will give you real insight. Don’t cut peo­ple off while they’re speak­ing. Let them first tell their story, and come back later with fol­low-up ques­tions. Ask open-ended ques­tions. If you want to know if your boyfriend went out last night, it’s best to ask, “So what did you do last night?” rather than “Did you go out last night?”

2 Per­fect your poker face

When you are try­ing to read peo­ple, you want them to speak to you un­in­hib­it­edly. So don’t openly judge, even if you don’t like what some­one has to say. When peo­ple feel your dis­ap­proval, they will fil­ter them­selves. And then you won’t be able to read them ac­cu­rately. Even if you are feel­ing an­gry or sus­pi­cious, try to hold in your emo­tions for as long as it takes you to as­sess the sit­u­a­tion. Be aware of what your face and body are say­ing to other peo­ple. Don’t roll your eyes, clench your jaw, or cross your arms in front of you. In­stead, main­tain a soft fa­cial ex­pres­sion, hold a re­laxed pos­ture, and lean in. Hav­ing a poker face is not about sit­ting emo­tion­less—be at­ten­tive and nod po­litely in re­sponse in or­der to en­cour­age the per­son.

3 Trust the voice in your head

How many times have you heard some­one say, “I had a strange feel­ing about him”? That’s be­cause 99.9 per­cent of the time, your in­stincts are right, even when you log­i­cally can’t ex­plain why. We tune out our in­ner voice when it in­volves the peo­ple we love—we des­per­ately want to be­lieve they wouldn’t be­tray us. We ac­cept their ex­cuses and ra­tio­nalise their be­hav­iour. If within the first few min­utes of meet­ing some­one they give off a vibe that re­pels you or causes you to pause, don’t ig­nore it. It’s your gut in­stinct telling you to be care­ful. Like­wise, if you ever find your­self ques­tion­ing whether some­one is ly­ing to you, they prob­a­bly are. You don’t need any­one to give you the an­swers to th­ese ques­tions. Ac­tu­ally, you al­ready have them.

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