Every now and then, you meet a person who is just different.
And it’s not one thing that makes them different; it’s everything about them, as if they exist on a higher frequency from the rest of the world.
These people seem to be inherently complex individuals, with more layers and sides than you can imagine.
But what exactly makes a complex person “complex”?
What are the common traits of complex individuals, and what really makes them tick?
To better understand our complex colleagues, here are 12 general traits of complex people:
1) Authenticity Is Important
There’s certain security about complex people; they’re not afraid of asserting who they really are, even when it seems much easier to blend in and avoid standing out in a crowd.
Whereas other people would typically find it concerning to be called weird or odd, complex people aren’t really worried about giving off a “bad” impression.
Most people especially feel self-conscious in a new group where they feel like they have to tiptoe around who they really are.
Instead of skirting around topics like politics and moral standards, complex people aren’t afraid to have that conversation around strangers and stay true to themselves.
They’re not afraid to show their authentic selves primarily because they know that people are three-dimensional beings, and that things like their political affiliation don’t purely define just one person, and they hold people by the same standards.
2) Small Talk Bores Them
Who cares about the weather when you can talk about more substantial things? Complex people aren’t so interested in the mundane.
Sure, they would engage in jokes from highschool or embarrassing tales from work, but that’s not really the best way to build relationships with them.
Complex people thrive and seek out conversations that challenge and intrigue them. Topics that others would typically find tedious inspire curiosity in them.
For instance, they might enjoy talking about work and figuring out what other people need to feel fulfilled in their jobs.
It’s not so much the topic of conversation but the intent behind it.
They could probably talk about bread as long as they can engage in it in a curious, non-superficial way.
3) They Love Learning About Other People
Curiosity is an attitude that comes easily to them.
Curiosity often serves as a trailhead for exploration, whether it’s engaging in a new hobby or getting to know someone.
They bring an engaged energy that makes you feel heard and seen, like they’re actually holding on to every word you say.
Talking to them is especially enjoyable because they ask insightful questions that challenge you to dig deeper about yourself.
When you interact with them, you know that they’re not filling the conversation with fake, polite interest.
They genuinely want to get to know you and understand what makes you tick.
4) They Don’t Seek Attention
They’re not really the life-of-the-party-types and more often than not prefer observing in the background rather than being the center of attraction.
It’s not because they’re shy in social situations; they feel comfortable being an observer and don’t really feel the need to participate every second.
This proclivity for introversion lends to a slower temperament.
In conversations, they let others speak freely and don’t particularly mind being cut-off mid-sentence.
They encourage discussion, even when people disagree with their thoughts and points.
Instead of raising their voice in tense situations or resorting to bully tactics, complex people keep a calm head and use their conversational and negotiation skills to wade through the tension.
5) They Let Their Emotions Flow Freely
And not in a they’re-always-sad kind of way.
They embrace their emotions and express them freely without judgment.
Because they’re in tune with their emotions and understand its ever-changing nature, they feel secure in themselves when they feel anger or sadness.
As a result, this also makes them empathetic listeners.
They connect well with people who want to share and explore their feelings, whether it’s mourning or celebration.
They encourage the same kind of emotional vulnerability in others.
You’ll know you’re talking to a complex person when they do your emotions justice.
It’s easy for them to pick up the nuances in emotion and behavior because they have a great understanding of their own inner workings, and are therefore equipped in dealing with others.
6) They Prefer Experiences Over Stuff
Getting them gifts is pretty easy.
Nine times out of ten, they’ll likely prefer a sentimental experience, like going on a trip or even just hanging out together, rather than receiving something material.
To them, the phrase “it’s the thought that counts” resonates profoundly.
The gesture of giving them a gift and thinking about them is infinitely more meaningful than any item they can unwrap.
7) They Always Try To Be Kind
It can be easy to dismiss complex individuals as having large egos and being downright jerks, and while that may be true for some, it’s definitely not the case for most of them.
Complex individuals tend to be kinder than other people, because they’re above all the petty emotions and drama that most people can’t get over.
For a complex individual, there are so many more important things than trying to get back at people or feeding their own ego, so they would rather be nice to those around them.
They know that kindness goes a long way in making other people feel better, but also in making their own soul feel better.
8) The World Inspires Them
For most of us, the world can be boring at times.
When you find yourself in the middle of a hiking trip, you might be more concerned about the network signal on your phone so you can update your social media rather than your actual surroundings.
But no matter where a complex individual finds themself, they’ll always find something to interest them.
They take pleasure in not only learning more about the world and everything in it, but also simply experiencing their life in the moment.
This is what makes complex individuals so interesting to talk with.
They will always have something to say or something to share with you, even if it’s just something unusual they saw today, or a piece of trivia they learned that excited them.
9) They Enjoy A Challenge
A complex person always wants to see what else they can do.
When presented with a challenge, they don’t like saying no and backing away.
Instead, they like to analyze whether the challenge is something they can do; and if there’s any chance they can do it, they’ll jump in headfirst.
What makes them so challenge-happy?
It’s the fact that complex individuals need more from life to find satisfaction.
They want to explore the boundaries of what their mind and body can accomplish, and feel themselves pushed to their limits.
They not only enjoy challenges; they thrive in them.
10) They Have Amazing Focus
One of the most interesting traits of a complex person is their almost superhuman ability to focus.
The way they live and experience the world trains their focus and attention span, meaning whenever they take on a new project, they can get it done much faster (and do it much better) than most other people around them.
So what makes their focus so heightened? Simple: they know how to shut out the rest of the world.
They don’t let distractions pull them away from what they’re doing, and they truly get into the zone of their task.
To a complex individual, nothing is more important than the task at hand, until that task is complete.
11) You Go Beyond Social Media
Who isn’t on social media these days?
When you’re deep in Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, you can feel real FOMO when you leave your phone for a few hours.
Scrolling through your various news feeds can feel comforting; seeing all the things you like, all your friends’ posts, and everything else you’ve approved for your feed.
But complex people and social media don’t go well together.
A complex individual needs more than just endlessly scrolling through a bottomless feed, which is why you will rarely ever see a complex person who is addicted to a social media app.
12) Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Complex people can see through all the superficial talk that most people love doing.
They don’t get charmed by smooth talkers who can charm their way through any conversation, because complex individuals understand that words are meaningless; it’s your actions that define you, not the things that you say.
For complex people, it’s not what you say to them that makes them like or dislike you.
It’s how you act around them, what you do, and your general behavior.
They pay attention to everything rather than just relying on your words, which is why you can rarely ever fool a complex person; they know you better than you think they do.
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