Would you like to have the advantage when you are meeting someone for the first time?
Do you want to be able to de-code what people say, their body language, or the type of clothes they’ve chosen to wear? When we are meeting someone for the first time, we are bombarded with information. It can be hard to work out what kind of person they are.
It helps if we understand how we communicate.
When we communicate, we use three factors:
- Words (what we actually say) accounts for 7%
- The tone of our voice (how we say it) accounts for 38%
- Body language accounts for 55%
This means that when we are meeting someone for the first time, we have to take into account these three different factors. This is in order to de-code what the person is actually saying. When we communicate, we use a mixture of all three.
So, starting from the head down, if you are meeting someone for the first time and you want an insight into their personality – read on:
Talking – What they say
If you’re meeting someone for the first time and all they do is praise their work colleagues or talk about their wonderful better half, chances are they’re a pretty decent person themselves.
Studies show that the more people rate others as being kind, polite, loving and well-mannered, the more likely they also possess these traits.
However, the reverse is also true. Anyone backstabbing and describing others as manipulative and nasty was more likely to have a history of depression, links to Machiavellian behaviour and personality disorders.
Symmetrical faces have long been linked with perfection and beauty. But did you know they are associated with other traits as well? Knowing what these traits are can be useful when meeting someone for the first time.
For instance, people with symmetrical faces are more likely to be richer than us. The brain prefers images that are balanced. Therefore, symmetrical faces are likely to have a privileged life. There’s also evidence to suggest that childhood conditions, such as tobacco smoke, malnutrition, neglect and illnesses all shape the way our face looks.
Conversely, those with asymmetrical faces are more likely to grow up as leaders. These unbalanced faces don’t have family money to rely on, they have to make their own way in life. This makes them hardened and battle-ready.
All manner of celebrities now plump their lips up. You’d have to wonder what advantages there are for us thin-lipped folks. Well, apparently, thin lips are associated with intelligence and determination. Not only that, thin lips are deemed to be distinguished. Couple that with a few crow’s feet around the eyes and I wonder why anyone goes in for cosmetic surgery.
On the other hand, those with no pesky wrinkles and lovely full lips were deemed to be childlike and immature. These baby-faced people might have been judged as naïve and submissive, but having a wrinkle-free face (so long as it’s natural) does also suggest honesty and warmth.
We all know that a smile has to reach the eyes, otherwise, it’s not real. But, did you know that the length of a smile is also important? Genuine smilers will look you in the eye and want to stay in your company.
Think about it. If someone has made you laugh, they’ve put you in a good mood. You want that to continue. Fakers won’t. So watch out for when you’re meeting someone for the first time and they give you a wonderful smile, then say they’ve got to go because the dog’s just died.
Side glance – Another thing to watch out for is if you’ve just met someone and they immediately glance away to the side. This is a subconscious body language sign that means they are looking for an escape.
People that are warm and open to meeting you will have their body facing you and look you in the eye. A look to the side is the other person trying to get away.
Frequent nodding – Nodding is usually a sign that someone agrees with you. However, frequent nodding means ‘get on with it’, ‘hurry up’, ‘I agree’, ‘I need to go now!’ Just like a person who keeps looking at their watch or who touches their car keys. These are unconscious gestures that are cues for the other person to get a move on.
Arms and Upper Body
Handshake – You can tell a lot by a person’s handshake. Soft and flabby and they are likely to be submissive or a walk-over. Too hard and crushing and they are possibly domineering types.
The length of time is also important. Too long and it’s weird, but too short and be careful as this could indicate some form of conflict. It is possible that the person does not want to make a deep connection with you. Or it could also mean that they don’t have much time.
Leaning in – If a person leans in towards you, it is a clear indication that they are interested in what you have to say. What you might not know is that it’s also a sign of respect.
If you don’t believe me, consider that you are talking to a group of people who are sitting down. One of your group turns and moves away from you. It feels quite rude, doesn’t it? Leaning in means that people want to confide in you. It makes you feel trustworthy and valued.
Holding the baby
This might seem like a strange one, but it’s good if you’re meeting someone for the first time and they just happen to be a new mother.
Look at what arm they use to hold the baby. Happy mums hold their babies in their left arms. However, studies show that stressed and depressed new mothers hold their babies in their right arms.
If it sounds weird, just imagine holding a baby right now. Which arm did you automatically pick? I did it and it was the left and I’ve never had kids.
Feet and Legs
A person that likes you will have both legs and feet facing in your direction. It’s that old fight or flight scenario again. You only need to watch them for around 10 seconds as this is the length of time it takes for them to make their mind up about you.
However, it’s best to stay focussed as if their feet shift towards the door it means they’ve had enough and want to leave.
Speaking of feet and, therefore, shoes, a person’s shoes can tell you an awful lot about their personality. Apparently, we all make judgments about people’s shoes, but studies show that they are pretty accurate.
Nervous people will have new or very clean shoes. Amiable types will wear practical shoes. Calm people have an affinity for uncomfortable shoes and aggressive people wear ankle boots.
If you’re thinking ‘what on earth have shoes got to do with personality’, look at your own. My sandals are comfortable and practical. There is a personality type that would fit in with that.
When you’re meeting someone for the first time, what clues do you have about their personality? We’d love to hear them!
Copyright © 2012-2023 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.