Knowing People

09 April 2018 Comments Off on Knowing People


Life is a game. It is a complicated game that people play with each other. Everyone is the main character of their own story. They may display different characteristics, but still, it is their game, so they play it by their own rules. They control it as they wish. Imagine as many stories as there are people in the world. How are they connected? There is indeed a bond between people’s different stories: relationships.

Relationships are essential to social creatures. Humans are created to be connected to each other by interaction, so they live in societies, requiring a life of harmony and peace. A relationship is the way in which two or more people are in a state of being connected. It is not so complicated for people to get into a relationship. They might easily find common points of interest to build a connection on. Relationships are thus easy to start – but they are hard to sustain. Nothing stays the same as it is at the beginning; this includes human beings and their relationships. There have to be many inputs if a healthy relationship is to be created. When one of these inputs changes or disappears, or a new one is added, the relationship changes. Maintaining a relationship sounds easy at first, but in fact it is difficult, as both parties in a relationship need to put in the same amount of effort. The ability to have a healthy, loving relationship is not something natural or innate. As people grow up, their childhood experiences shape their future relationships and abilities; as more time passes, they continue to change and develop, and their way of connecting to others changes as well. To have a healthy and sustainable relationship last through all kinds of changes and new situations, there must be a synchronization of trust, respect, love, honesty and communication.

Trust is one of the most important tools for a functioning relationship. Actually, it is vital not only for relationships, but for life itself. Without trust, no one could act freely; society would collapse. But even though it is very important, it is also very easily damaged. Trust is so essential that when it is broken, great effort should be made to repair it. Repairing trust that has been broken, however, is much harder than gaining someone’s trust in first place.
To have a sustainable relationship, people naturally want to trust the other person. They want to know the individual they will be communicating with. However, there is no doubt that a single person has a number of different characteristics; no one is the same throughout their life. We present different versions of ourselves according to the situation and the attitude of the other person toward us. Even though this is true for each and every person, we still think that we are able to know others and see into their souls. We forget how dynamic humans are and believe that it is possible to know someone. But since you can be different to everyone, how can you expect everyone to be the same to you?

When asked to describe a person, people usually describe that person’s actions rather than their personality. As already stated, people tend to act differently according to the situation, so it is hard for us to see the internal states of others. It is only possible to know someone within the bounds of the personality they want to project. In fact it is normal to think that you know someone, when they are actually displaying only one version of themselves to you. So you generally do not refer to those other states of the person when describing their personality. However, you should consider yourself as an example. I am sure that you have different roles in your life, different reactions to the same thing at different times. I know that sometimes you cannot even understand yourself. So how can you expect to truly understand others?
All this notwithstanding, there are some techniques that can be used to know and understand people better. First of all, there is body language. People may choose particular words to communicate with. What they say may be what they actually think, or it may be the opposite. People are professionals when it comes to hiding themselves behind words. However, they are not equally professional when it comes to controlling their body language. The body may reveal the truth that has been hidden by words. Body language includes appearance, posture, facial expressions and physical movements such as crossing the arms or legs or biting the lips.

Learning to interpret body language is helpful, as are other techniques to interpret human behavior. They make complicated situations easier to understand; but still, such techniques have their limits. The best way to have a healthy relationship is to realize that it is not possible to know another person in all their aspects. If you try to learn everything about someone, you will get discouraged, and will inevitably fail. And at the same time, do not try to explain yourself to the other person, because they cannot know all about you any more than you can know all about them. As for trust, be trustworthy, but do not trust easily. Also, find limits for your “trust.” Trust in order to live a peaceful life, but do not let it reveal all of your weaknesses. Once someone breaks your trust in them, do not try to repair it for them to break again – because it is easier to trust someone new, than to repair trust that has been broken.