We’re all guilty of assessing a person’s character based on their appearance. What a mistake we made! All too frequently, a person’s true nature emerges only after a horrible incident occurs to them or you. Then you can witness a toxic person emerge from the ruins, which can be rather shocking.
Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us, a book by O’Toole in Bowman, reveals a very terrifying case.
A completely respectable, polite, well-dressed neighbor was discovered to have set up a torture chamber in his garage, where he was abusing kidnapped women in a systematic manner.
This is an extreme example, but it demonstrates how a person’s physical appearance, manners, and demeanor may completely trick us.
So, what are your options? When you meet new people, such as coworkers, new acquaintances, and new friends who may become lifelong partners, you want to be able to judge their personal attributes. If they are, you want to know:
- kind and compassionate
- capable of taking the blame
- able to persevere
- modest and humble
- pacific and can control anger.
The key is to refrain from making snap decisions and to take your time. Observe them in various scenarios and see how they respond. Listen to them converse, joke, laugh, explain, criticize, blame, praise, rage, and preach.
Then and only then will you be able to assess their personality. This isn’t a guarantee, but if you follow the ten steps outlined here, you’ll have a decent chance of avoiding an abusive relationship.
1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?
Angry outbursts that appear to be out of control are frequently a reflection of underlying problems. Do not assume that somebody who snaps and throws their weight around psychologically and physically is acting appropriately.
When driving or when things go wrong, everyone has an angry outburst now and then.
However, if this happens on a regular basis, you should figure out why and possibly avoid that person. Anger frequently leads to violent and aggressive conduct.
You don’t want to be near somebody who believes that using violence to address personal or global problems is a good idea.
2. Can you witness acts of kindness?
How often do you notice this person being thoughtful and kind? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charities, volunteer, or otherwise demonstrate that they are willing to share the earth with another 7 billion people?
When one of my visitors never showed charity to the town’s poor and disadvantaged, I was taken aback. She pretended to be religious, but I began to have doubts about her genuineness.
“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.” Abigail Van Buren
3. How does this person take the blame?
Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction.
If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.
4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.
You’ll be happy to learn that graphology (the study of that long-forgotten talent of handwriting) is no longer regarded as a trustworthy indicator of a person’s personality. Fortunately, neither is Facebook stalking.
According to a study, vulgar language, sexual innuendo, and gossip on Facebook are not trustworthy indications of a candidate’s character or prospective employment success.
5. Read their emails.
Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:
- Exclamation points in excess may indicate a cheerful disposition.
- Apathy may be indicated by frequent errors.
- Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
- Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
- Too many question marks can show anger
- Overuse of capital letters is viewed as shouting.
- They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of people still use them.
6. Watch out for the show offs.
Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards, and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements.
They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity! Another person to avoid.
7. Look for evidence of perseverance.
When a person endures and never gives up when they truly want to attain a life goal, this is a great signal of grit and tenacity. Look for indications of their perseverance in the face of adversity.
Perseverance is a hallmark of great achievements by scientists and inventors. Inspiration can be found in the likes of Einstein, Edison (who failed hundreds of times), and Nelson Mandela.
The United States Department of Education is certain that grit, tenacity, and perseverance will be critical success factors for students in the twenty-first century.
8. Their empathy score is high.
Pay attention to how they speak about our society’s less fortunate people, such as the poor, immigrants, and the disabled.
Do you notice how they talk about these people with compassion? Empathy is demonstrated by the fact that they even acknowledge them.
People who have little empathy will never speak up for the underprivileged. They will hardly ever ask you a question about a bad period in your life or a difficult relationship.
Usually, they will bring the subject back to themselves. These people have no empathy, and in the worst-case scenario, they are psychopaths who have no compassion for their victims.
9. Learn how to be socially interactive.
We are social animals, which is what distinguishes us as humans. Isolation or being a loner may be a bad reflection of a person’s character. You want to meet someone who understands the concepts of trust, honesty, and loyalty.
The only way to put these outstanding skills into practice is to interact with others. The greatest benefit is that you may share troubles and joys with one another.
“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”Stendhal
10. Avoid toxic people.
These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:
- Envy or jealousy
- Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
- Complaining about their own lack of success
- Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
- Obsession with themselves and their problems
Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.