We are constantly crossing paths with new people. Some of them we are fortunate enough to meet, while others just pass us in the slipstream of life. As a writer, I have the gift of being able to observe even the tiniest of details. Unwittingly, I pick up nuances that others might miss. This is especially true when it comes to assessing people.
There are three simple keys to determining the essence of any given individual. They are the person’s manners, vocabulary, and posture. Please do not think that these three keys will tell you everything you need to know about an individual. If only it were so simple! Rather, they are an indicator of a person’s past experiences, their current state of being, and their hopes for the future. In short, these keys are a good starting point for learning about and embracing the individual in front of you.
Watch somebody as they eat. Are they methodical, tidy, and well-mannered? Listen to their use of simple, yet powerful, phrases such as “please” and “thank you!” The level of etiquette displayed by an individual is a direct linkage to their past and their upbringing. Did somebody invest time and energy in them so that they could function effectively in society? Have they taken it upon themselves to refine the more polite aspects of who they are?
Engage total strangers in conversation. I do it all of the time, even with the most questionable of people; and much to my wife’s chagrin! Everyone has something of value to share with me, so I will go out of my way to elicit that lesson from them. Listen closely to the words that they use as they speak. Are they saying that today is a “nice day,” or do they chirp out that “the day is resplendent with the harmony of the season?” I am not saying that a person needs to be a poet to converse effectively; rather, I am stating that the words used are an indication of their level of education and self-learning. This speaks to a person’s present state and their level of self-worth in bettering themselves.
Finally we come to posture. Walk in a crowd sometime and observe people’s posture. There are those that trudge along with their shoulders rolled forward, their heads lowered, and their lower back bent. Every now and then you are fortunate to find someone bouncing along with their head held high, their shoulders back, and their eyes glimmering in anticipation of life’s next adventure! You now have a glimpse into that person’s perception of the future! Posture, barring any physical malady or injury, speaks to a person’s perception of whether the future is optimistic or pessimistic.
It may seem like a bit of an oversimplification, but these three simple keys have served me well in the past. They have allowed me to gauge individuals and determine the best approach in engaging them. Is this all a new revelation? Hardly! My father was generous enough to impart this wisdom to me over forty years ago!