Who do you know that can spot a phony from across the room?
Which of your friends has an uncanny way of correctly predicting which relationships will succeed and which will crumble?
Someone that can sense when the atmosphere in a public space is about to change… she someone you trust as a flawless judge of character.
We all know at least one person like this (or perhaps your person is you!)
Some people are blessed with amazing instincts when it comes to intuiting people and social dynamics.
This skill is called social intuition, and although most of us have it to a certain degree, some people excel at it.
Social intuition involves coming to quick conclusions about the emotions, character traits, intentions, views, and capabilities of others. It is not logical but instead based on a perception of nonverbal cues like facial expressions, posture, and other gestures.
It’s what’s referred to as a “gut feeling.”
So how do you know if yours is any good? Let’s consider some of the major indicators.
Because people with razor-sharp social intuition display these 7 behaviors (without realizing it).
1) They take observation to another level
This may seem like an obvious one, but there are observers who don’t have a refined social intuition. It really does depend on the type of observation we’re talking about.
For expert-level social intuition, multi-level observation is key.
This means not only taking in what is unfolding in front of our eyes but being able to sense the circumstances that have led to the situation.
Imagine a fist fight breaking out in a bar and everyone there sees it unfold before security breaks it up. The regular observer will tell you all the gritty details: which guy (or gal) threw the first punch, who defended in what way, and what the outcome seemed to be.
The razor-sharp socially intuitive observer will tell you about the group dynamics before the fight and the circumstances that led to it breaking out, as well as how it likely ended. They were probably aware of the growing conflict many moments before the first blow was struck!
The deeply socially intuitive take everything in, from pitch to tone, micro expressions to grand gestures, and posture to preening.
2) They trust themselves implicitly
As well as being acute observers, the extremely socially intuitive also have great faith in their perceptive abilities. They trust their instincts and allow themselves to be led by them.
Think of any famous fictious detective… Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, for example.
Poirot could enter a drawing room and get a sense of the extended family dynamics immediately. He could tell who hated who, who was having an affair with who, who resented who… And this is before he’d even gotten to know their names.
A literal powerhouse of social intuition playing out.
And even though Poirot was a logical man, he let his intuition guide him initially. This mirrors a psychology theory that says people make moral judgements based on intuitions and then use reasoning to justify their conclusions.
(And let’s not forget that Poirot got it right almost all the time!)
Onto the next behavior of those with searing social intuition…
3) They are fantastic mixers (when they choose to be)
Although not every person with razor-sharp socially intuition is extraverted, all of them can mix well with others and make great impressions when they choose to. They can artfully navigate group dynamics and always find common ground, pretty much fitting in with any kind of group.
After all, social intuition is based on having a deep sense of interpersonal relationships.
When excellent social intuition is at work, the subconscious mind is attempting to recognize, process, and use patterns of thinking based on prior experiences. Therefore, the more experiences of different types of interactions, in different settings, with different sorts of people, the more refined the intuitive powers become.
You may even find that many people with razor-sharp social intuition are incredibly charming too.
Some people have all the luck!
4) They feel for others acutely
A person with piercing social intuition is incredibly perceptive and extremely sensitive to the emotions of others. (Whether this sensitivity is informed by perception, or the other way around is debatable!)
Empathy is a vital skill when it comes to social connection; the most effective communicators and leaders are generally empaths.
So, it follows that the best people-readers will also be extremely empathetic, feeling what those around them feel, even taking on their joy, sorrow, horror, you name it.
This enables them not only to perceive what someone is thinking in the moment, but also to detect subtle changes in group dynamics. Things that wouldn’t even occur to those of us who don’t have the same level of empathy.
Basically, they are living, breathing vibe sponges!
5) They value self-awareness
But unfortunately, being so sensitive to vibes and emotions makes it challenging for highly intuitive people to know when other’s feelings end and theirs begin.
This is why building more self-awareness is another behavior people with keen social intuition will likely be interested and engaged in. Unconscious cognitive biases can wreak havoc on the powers of perception, and any phycological projection would act as a barrier to accurate perception.
People with excellent social intuition are also the type of people to work on their self-awareness. And although this will help them avoid or at least mitigate any of the impediments above, they’ll do it without even being aware of these benefits.
And whether they spend a lot of time alone in thought, embrace mindfulness, or get therapy, you can be guaranteed that they are on a lifelong quest to understand themselves better.
And understanding themselves better enables them to understand others better.
And on that note…
6) They embrace their shadow self
We are all governed by some unconscious influences, and the shadow self is often described as our emotional black spot, the part of ourselves we often choose not to acknowledge.
And because the “why’s” of life hold an enduring fascination for those with acute social perception, it follows that they will be drawn to exploring their shadow self to better self-actualize.
And this fascination inevitably supports a better understanding of others.
Exploring the shadow selves allows them to uncover these hidden motivations, desires, and fears. Integrating our shadow means they can become more authentic and fulfilled.
It is this authenticity and personal congruence that enables people to hone razor-sharp social intuition skills.
And onto the final thing people with razor sharp social intuition do without realizing it…
7) They hear between the lines
There is a form of active listening which is the most powerful, enabling people to hear what’s being said at an unconscious level. It’s called intuitive listening.
It involves not simply hearing the words being said but also tuning into what is not being said such as the tone and pitch of voice, body language, and context.
Through their boundless curiosity and becoming so engrossed in the conversation, people that listen intuitively pick up on nuance and subtext. And literally hear what’s being said between the lines.
And crazily enough, most people who listen intuitively won’t even be aware they have this amazing skill.
Superior social intuition is an incredible superpower that can guide and protect us through the complexities of work, relationships, and social dynamics.
And there’s no doubt, those that excel in it are compelled by similar interests and are bound by certain behaviors.
If you want to know more about social intuition, check out this article on 10 surprising things intuitive people can sense about others.
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