“How people describe you says more about them than it does you,” is something I often say when I show people how to assess personalities in real time. Adrianne Palmer asked me to expound on this. For example, if someone says we are disorganized, he is saying organization concerns him. Whether we are or not is a matter of who is judging. In this case he is.
People often throw their own emotions on us when they talk about us. Shakespeare’s line in Hamlet, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks,” is an example of it. People who talk a lot and complain about others they think talk a lot is an example too. By complaining about others, they feel better that they do not talk a lot. When someone says we are disorganized, he feels better that he is organized. This is called projectionism. It is similar to the childhood retort, “It takes one to know one.”
To make this work people need to talk about something. It works when they talk about us. The Rorschach Test and House-Tree-Person Test (HTP) are professional tools that do the same thing. People talk about what they see in inkblots. They draw a house, tree and person then talk about them. In this sense then, when they talk about us we are their inkblots and drawings. Doing so with everyday things also opens windows to their personalities.
No two people though describe inkblots, houses, trees and persons the same way. It is subjective. When they talk about us, it is subjective too. We are far more complex and deeper than inkblots and drawings too. Their descriptions then will tell us this about them:
- They are like that or think they are, or
- If a compliment, they desire to be like that or, if a criticism, have concerns of being like that.
Whole groups of people can throw the same emotions onto others. Scapegoats emerge this way. They become a lightning rod for those emotions. Thus, an extroverted group will think we are too introverted, an introverted one too extroverted.
In the end, the only person who can really know you is you. When they talk about us, they open windows into themselves.
- Black Bark: Real-time Personality Assessment Example
- Real-time Personality Assessment (Pt 2): Important Qualities
- Real-time Personality Assessment (Pt 3): Word Themes
- Real-time Personality Assessment (Pt 4): Extrapolation
- When They Talk About Us It’s Them
- Who Are the Always Late Personality Types?
- Assess Personality Traits with this Listening Game