When you know how to effectively read people, you’re in an elite club.
It can take years for other people to get to this point, but not you. You’re sometimes able to understand others through a mere facial expression or a seemingly innocuous glance.
By having this heightened social awareness, you’re able to regularly gather insights into your business, personal, and romantic interactions, saving yourself a few headaches in the process.
And the great news is, if you aren’t born with the innate ability to read people, you can certainly develop it over time.
Having said that, here are a few signs that you have an uncanny knack for reading people.
If these items resonate with you, you’re in good shape.
Let’s dive in!
1) You’re highly intuitive
Maybe you’re a little bit psychic–or just naturally intuitive.
If you can form opinions about people almost immediately, with the history to back it up, then chances are, you’re a veritable pro at reading people.
Maybe you coin it ‘gut instinct’ or simply having a hunch about things; regardless, your ability to foresee things before they happen will take you places (if they haven’t already.)
You aren’t some naive imbecile waiting to be duped.
You’re able to navigate your relationships with equal parts tact and caution–somehow knowing which interactions are authentic and which need to be tossed in the bin.
2) You pick up on microexpressions
You’re a master of tells.
You’re so observant that you often pick up on key messages through subtle, involuntary facial expressions.
Microexpressions can hold a wealth of genuine emotion.
A wince there, a furrowed brow there–these microexpressions can be a window into someone’s real feelings, perhaps even more than what’s being said.
Remember, as the old adage goes, “Actions (and microexpressions) speak louder than words.”
3) You’re tuned Into vocal nuances
Our speech patterns can reveal a lot about our emotional state.
This is something you’re deeply, almost instinctively attuned to.
Depending on the circumstances, a shift in someone’s tone can signify anger, sadness, disappointment, happiness, and so on and so forth.
So when you hear a difference in pacing or a sudden change in volume, these understated nuances can reveal a lot about someone’s emotions in a given circumstance–which, in turn, provides you with insight into crafting the appropriate reaction.
4) You’re sensitive to body language
We touched on body language earlier. But it’s worth repeating since, as many scientists will tell you, non-verbal cues represent over 70 percent of our communication.
When you’re in tune with someone’s body language, reading that person almost becomes a walk in the park.
Things like posture to hand gestures convey specific messages, ones that you’re able to decipher with relative ease.
But don’t forget that, like anything, context is everything.
In another life, I was an active fixture in the dating world.
Sometimes, I’d go out and notice my date would have her arms crossed as I animatedly told a story or attempted a joke.
Conventional wisdom would tell me that this was a discouraging sign, that she was uncomfortable or not into me.
But the more experienced a dater I became, I learned not to rush to conclusions.
For instance, I recall one date when the woman had her arms crossed for nearly the entire duration of the evening.
While initially perturbed, I was relieved to also find her laughing, engaged in the conversation, and occasionally even touchy.
Fast forward a month and a half, and she became my girlfriend.
So in other words, certain gestures are not absolutes.
Once you see the bigger picture, whilst also taking into account other signals, your ability to read people (and body language) will inevitably grow.
5) You can spot discrepancies
Here’s the thing: once someone’s story becomes inconsistent, this is almost always red flag territory.
Do you ever watch true crime documentaries? Well, whenever a suspect begins to change their story, that’s almost a certain admission of guilt–or, at the very least, culpability.
Hence, being the near expert at reading people that you are, you always prioritize consistent behavior.
You might recognize when someone’s words are inconsistent with their actions or body language.
Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and where there’s inconsistency, there’s probably trouble.
6) You have empathy
Empathy doesn’t end at being compassionate or altruistic. In fact, possessing this emotional gift can also be used as a tool to read people.
Some people are so tone-deaf, so out of touch, that being able to read the room becomes a legitimate challenge to them.
When you’re empathetic, you tend to understand what others are feeling and react accordingly.
This level of connection to others allows you to deeply relate, interact, and read them in a fashion that goes far past surface level.
7) You can recognize patterns
“Fool me once, shame on you, Fool me twice shame on me,” said Stephen King, one of my all-time favorite authors.
In other words, if someone wrongs you more than once, then at that point, it’s on you.
By not learning from the past, you’re allowing bad things to happen repeatedly, failing to recognize negative behavioral patterns.
The person who can read others is able to perceive patterns as they happen.
Hence, once you see a negative pattern forming, like a certain behavior, you’re able to nip things in the bud before they get out of hand.
Think of the forgiving girlfriend who periodically takes back her deadbeat, cheating boyfriend.
Or vice versa.
You, on the other hand, are different.
People can’t easily take advantage of you since you don’t often fall for their tricks, particularly when those tricks are recurrent.
8) You’re culturally sensitive
Along with the ability to read others, comes a sort of elevated awareness and wisdom in terms of different cultures, social norms, and people.
In other words, you’re constantly on top of things, not one liable to make the odd cringe-inducing faux pas.
You’re a cultural chameleon, in the best possible way.
In foreign environments, you don’t rush to judgments without considering the context.
For instance, a person from Italy might leave little to no tip after a meal in the US, since tipping is not a cultural norm in Italy.
But in a country like the US, not tipping is practically unimaginable.
So instead of judging or dismissing the Italian person as cheap or greedy, you’re able to take into account their European culture and background first.
By being persistently mindful of global cultural distinctions, you are able to mitigate misunderstandings.
If you’re gifted with the ability to read others, you’re already miles ahead of the game.
So continue to use it to your advantage.
You don’t just read people like a book, you’re likely in touch with their emotions, intentions, and hidden feelings as well.
With the expert knack for reading people, comes great responsibility.
Keep using your gifts wisely with understanding and respect always top of mind.