How to Read People

Reading people is something that comes more easily to some than others. While there are people that can immediately know what a person is thinking by taking a quick glimpse of their face – there are others that need a little more context in order to figure out what’s going on in someone’s mind.

Because we all aren’t EQ wizzes, there has been a significant amount of research aimed towards uncovering the hidden meaning of body language. The ability to decode someone’s actions and expressions is an invaluable skill for a number of reasons.

Scientists have determined some interesting (and accurate) techniques that can help you read someone’s mind. Have you tried out these people hacks?

1. Pupils and Passion

You may have seen a meme or two spreading around that when you look at something you like, your pupil expands. While you shouldn’t believe everything that pops up on an Instagram post, there is some truth to this one! Pupils dilate for a number of reasons ranging from light exposure to drug use. The size of your pupil is also influenced by mental activity. Pupils “open up” when they are trying to focus on something – think about your cat when they are about to pounce on one of their toys. When a person’s eyes dilate when looking at something, it is a sign they are interested in the subject (or may even have a little crush on the person they’re looking at).

2. Natural Lie Detectors

It can be rather handy being able to tell if someone is lying or not. While we don’t have a built-in polygraph test, we aren’t completely helpless when it comes to recognizing deceit. There is a bit of misinformation surrounding the subject of detecting lies – but with proper guidance, you’ll uncover dishonestly like a pro. For one thing, people being deceitful make more eye contact than normal. While this may seem a little counterintuitive, it’s important to remember that you can test this rather easily. Requesting people to perform cognitively demanding tasks while telling you something can make it a little harder to suppress their poker face. Simply telling someone to “look you in the eyes” and repeat what they said can make them crack under pressure or give off lots of obvious cues indicating they aren’t being honest.

3. Fake Smiles

Have you ever looked at someone’s smile and just thought that it seemed so fake despite having any real evidence to back up your claims? Turns out that we are much better at reading smiles than we think. If someone’s smile seems fake to you – there is a good chance it is being forced. Smiles are one of the most natural expressions in the human language. It’s our first method to tell whether or not something is appropriate or if someone likes us. There are a number of reasons why someone would want to fake a smile. Whether they secretly don’t approve of something or are in a bad mood, this is going to be something you want to be able to recognize.

Although there are some natural mechanisms at play that help our minds differentiate the difference between fake and genuine smiles, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the concept of Duchenne and non-Duchenne smiles. A Duchenne, or genuine, smile can be separated from a fake smile because of “smizing.” When people are smiling genuinely, they “smile with their eyes.” In other words, observing whether or not their eyes close a bit when they smile can help you determine if the person is really amused and happy.

4. Mimicry

They say mimicry is the highest form of flattery – and it turns out there is more truth to this statement than you might expect. Scientists determined that when someone mirrors your actions, it is a clear sign that they like you or are trying to get on your good side. While some people do it intentionally (as moderate mimicry can make one more likable), most times, it is an involuntary response. There are small things you can do to determine whether or not they are mirroring you or its just coincidence. During interactions, gradually shift your posture or perform small tasks like taking a sip of water.

5. Personality

An individual’s personality speaks volumes about them. Understanding the personality of other people you interact with is crucial for navigating a social circle. You can tell a lot about a person in an initial meeting just by how they carry themselves. Someone who is more dominant will stand a little taller and often keep their arms crossed. On the other hand, someone more submissive will slouch their backs a little and keep their arms uncrossed.

These little hacks for reading people will keep you ahead of the curve. You can use these techniques to learn a little bit about your peers or even learn how to control the impression you give other people.

How many of these hacks have you tried?


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