Post One In A Six-Month Series On People Reading
*New posts in the series will be published every other Wednesday*
An Introduction To This Whole Bit
I remember late one night I found myself flipping through one channel after another (as one does during late nights,) and I came across an episode of Covert Affairs on USA Network, two striking women (who, since it’s television, simply must be the extremely intelligent and sharp-witted secret agents) inside of what appeared to be a glamorized version of the starship enterprise (turns out it was supposed to be the CIA…) were looking up at a massive computer screen that displayed a mans face with various markings and angles supposedly tracking his facial expressions.
“There are no signs of deceit in his orbicularis oris or orbicularis oculi movements.” The raven-haired one said while staring intently at the screen.
It was three in the morning, that didn’t stop grumpy, half-awake me from snapping, “You mean his mouth and eye muscles, Barbie?” It always annoys me when I hear fictional characters complicate the obvious. I know, I know, they are not real people, and the writers need to make the characters seem intelligent, but it feels as though draping cut-and-dry explanations with useless jargon looks down on those who don’t speak the language. This extends past television, it goes into the real world through writers and inspirational speakers and public figures and authors like Joe Navarro, an ex-FBI agent who wrote What EveryBODY Is Saying (longtime readers will recall that I loathe Joe Navarro, and consider him to be my unofficial arch nemesis,) or the author of one of the first body language books ever written, Julius Fast who wrote Body Language in 1970. And so I tell you the point of this post series: there is a lot of hot air out there, in the world of people-reading manuals and how people reading is portrayed by the media. It is seen as some sort of mysterious skill. And we are all unfailingly impressed by people who read people. It’s just when body language experts come on Fox News and state the obvious cloaked in long-winded explanations, or when yet another new book comes out on how to not only read people, but to use what you find to manipulate someone and become a master persuader, that the art of people reading turns into a game for children. I am writing this post to explain to you how to read people in the ways that I know how. And I’ll mention reliable books and authors who will never write the prideful waste that is so common when it comes to the topic of people reading. I’ve been studying people for five and a half years, and during that time I realized that every manner of reading people (handwriting analysis, cold reading (minus the psychic aspect), body language, microexpressions, physiognomy) can be explained in bite-sized pieces that don’t need the fluff and padding and egos that fill the extra space long enough to fill a book and make a few bucks. Also, 90% of all people-reading material out there is nothing but gobbledygook, empty words, crap, intuition without testing and proof ect., I have read every book that I could get my hands on that speaks on the topic of reading people, and out of the hundreds of books and authors, there are only a handful that have proven themselves truthful and compassionate, and whose work has stood the test of time.
You might think that this means I am dismissing authors and experts just because they seem a tad full of it.
You would be correct.
While many authors may be correct with the very basics regarding the brain and how it influences our facial expressions (such as Joe Navarro,) an author that is riding in the clouds on their high horse (such as Joe Navarro) is bound to trust their own intuition far too much (ahem…Joe Navarro,) therefore skewing perfectly good material. I want you to only get the entire truth so you can accurately read people. This is truthfully a place where my heart is, because I do genuinely feel angry at folks who write books flooded with incorrect information, knowing that the public will read it and be misinformed. They may believe their analysis to be correct because experience surely must have given them a good enough spidey-sense to make assumptions with no foundation, but many times as I’m reading a point made from just intuitive analysis (analysis by one’s ‘gut feeling’ alone) I can recall several moments from personal experience off of the top of my head where points certain authors have made are proven entirely wrong (for example, one book claims that if you’re speaking with someone and their legs are crossed towards you while you’re speaking, and mid-conversation they switch their position so they have now crossed their legs away from you, they must suddenly disagree with your point. But, there have been multiple occasions where I shift simply because I lose feeling in the leg that is currently crossed, not because I disagree that Taylor Lautner looks exactly the same as he did in Shark Boy & Lava Girl…am I honestly the only human being who thinks he’s flat-out unattractive? Ahem, anyway…) I can trust an author’s analysis when I see joy in the project and humility in their words. A lovely example of this sort of human being is Allan Pease, who wrote (with his wife, Barbara) The Definitive Book of Body Language. Read, listen, or watch any seminar or interview of his and you can see passion for his work and a childlike amusement for the subject. His book on body language is number one on my list. There are several points in the book that I don’t entirely agree with because they cannot be proven (such as his belief that the movement of shaking our head to signal ‘no’ comes from our days when we would move our heads away from a bottle when we were finished eating as babies,) but without a doubt his book is the best on the topic I have ever read.
Also topics I’ll be covering include a few unusual methods of reading people. Such as cold reading. Cold reading is used by fake psychics to make their customers believe that they know impossible things about them without having met them before. I’m not going to try to explain how to be a fake psychic, but I will tell you about some neat little people-reading tricks that cold readers use frequently. As well as getting to know someone from their appearance, using everything from the size of their nose and cheekbones to the back of their shoes. I tell you now that this is sort of a personal venture of mine, about three years ago I realized that my mother could identify a decline in my mood based on my clothing choices alone, and ever since I’ve become fascinated with the art of profiling people based on their clothing choices. As for the nose and cheekbone bit, that comes from the Taoist art of mein shiang, which associates personality traits with facial features. Obviously, there’s a lot of spirituality in this type of people reading that we shall avoid (did I mention monks are the ones who came up with mein shiang?) but again, looking past the unprovable, we find some gems that can tell us a thing or two about personality.
Also I will tell you here and there bits about the brain…The lovely, lovely brain. Actually, expect me to try to make you fall in love with your central nervous system, because it’s pretty (dare I say it again?) freakin’ awesome when it comes down to it.
Until I Write Again,