How To Read People: 7 Insights Into Human Behavior

September 20, 2023

How To Read People: 7 Insights Into Human Behavior


Understanding others’ motivations provides valuable life skills. Here are seven observations that offer insights into character when viewed holistically:

Keeping Commitments Signals Reliability

Honoring major vows shows dependability, but minor promises also matter:

  • “I’ll email the report tonight.”
  • “See you in 10 minutes.”
  • “I’ll call at 6 pm.”

Breaking commitments indicates unreliability, poor accountability, and undervaluing relationships. Allow flexibility for uncontrolled events. But frequent excuses reveal a pattern.

Commitment Integrity Reflects Daily Choices

Daily integrity shapes lifelong character. Small, consistent actions demonstrate responsibility. Someone who repeatedly breaks little promises likely neglects larger ones, too.

Reliable people consider their words binding. Their everyday conduct honors obligations. They expend effort to fulfill even casual agreements. Their commitment to integrity earns trust.

Unreliable people dismiss informal promises. They rationalize breached pledges as insignificant. But misconduct in minor matters enables misconduct in major ones. Consistent failure to honor commitments indicates profound flaws.

Judgment requires context, not condemnation. But patterns of integrity or hypocrisy become evident over time. Character emerges through small choices.

How One Treats Subordinates Reveals Virtue

“The true test of a man’s character is how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Service staff receive basic courtesy. But examine how one treats people unable to impact them at all. A person’s true colors appear in these interactions.

Condescension Towards “Lesser” People

How does one view janitors, subordinates, and the homeless? Condescension and contempt for “lower” people often stem from entitlement or insecurity.

Some feel inherently superior and thus justified in demeaning “lessers.” Some manipulate superiors while ignoring underlings. Both reveal callousness.

True virtue uplifts others regardless of station. It avoids judgment based on transient trappings of status. Spiritual depth manifests in small generosities.

Empathy for Those in Need

Homeless people face immense challenges. Yet they remain human, deserving basic kindness.

Some respond to those in need with empathy. They appreciate humanity’s shared struggles. A caring spirit sees beyond surface circumstances to the latent divinity in all.

Others respond with disgust. They see “failures” as undeserving of compassion. But their revulsion often exposes ugly interior realities.

Darkness perceives darkness. Light perceives light. How one treats the “least” among us discloses the contents of their heart.

Car Condition Hints at Self-Image

A cluttered car may mirror a cluttered self-concept. Surroundings subtly reflect inner states. Environments act as psychological projections.

Cleanliness Shows Orderly Self-Perception

Well-organized cars suggest orderly inner lives. Their owners likely have defined identities and directions. A coherent environment reflects inner coherence.

Chaotic cars indicate fragmented self-concepts. Disorganization stems from internal confusion. Lacking conscious identity, and such people live reactively. They require external structuring.

Clarity about one’s deepest values provides internal organization. A strong self-concept naturally creates order. Environments then organize around conscious purpose.

Customization Expresses Identity

Personalized vehicles also provide self-insight. Bumper stickers, seat covers, air fresheners – these express identity. The car becomes a mobile canvas for the owner’s self-image.

Some may present an inflated self-perception at odds with reality. But customization inherently discloses aspects of self-conception. Cars, homes, and spaces shape themselves around their occupant’s psychological contours.

Surroundings offer subtle personality clues. As environments reflect inner states, observing them grants intuitive self-knowledge.

Handling Mistakes Reveals Maturity

Mistakes inevitably occur. More important than the error is how one responds. Reactions underscore character.

Defensiveness and Blame Demonstrate Immaturity

Like children, immature adults deny responsibility when confronted. They attack the confronter, make excuses, or passive-aggressively punish.

Immature responses ignore personal agency. But embracing responsibility marks adulthood. Sincerely apologizing and improving demonstrates wisdom.

Accountability and Change Display Maturity

Humility acknowledges the mistake without rationalization. It recognizes the incident as an opportunity for growth.

With empathy, the mature individual apologizes. Internally, they realign with a conscience. Externally, they take actions to avoid recurrence.

Accountability combined with change leads from tribulation to wisdom. Since none are blameless, forgiveness is imperative.

Forgiveness After Your Mistakes Shows Security

In relationships, both parties err. How one responds to an apology reveals one’s inner foundation.

Belittling Apologies Reflects Inner Issues

Some receive apologies for escalating attacks. They highlight past grievances, insult, and recriminate.

Such reactions often arise from unhealed pain. Hurting people hurt people. Their souls require compassion to recover wholeness.

Grace In Difficult Moments Exposes Strength

The strong remain tranquil when wronged. They know a friend’s mistake isn’t a reflection on them. Sincerity matters more than perfection.

They receive apologies with forgiveness, empathy, and elevation. They value relationships over ego. This requires deep security and conviction.

Measuring others’ spiritual progress, including after they wrong you, demonstrates your own. The depths of the giver limit the gift.

Chameleon Behavior Reveals Manipulation

Insincerity in relationships calls motives into question. Consistency and sincerity build trust.

Shifting Personality Raises Concerns

Some personalities transform around certain people. Charming with superiors, they become indifferent or demeaning to underlings.

This reveals deep insincerity and ulterior motives. They manipulate targeted individuals. But their true personality shows with those deemed unimportant.

Consistent Sincerity Inspires Trust

The trustworthy remain true to themselves in all contexts. They interact authentically, whether with superiors or subordinates.

This requires inner security and conviction. They know their value and live accordingly. Relating constructively within complex dynamics evidences maturity.

Sincerity expresses the golden rule: treating others as you wish to be treated. Hypocrisy arises from disconnection from conscience.

Online versus Offline Personas Highlight Insecurity

Social media tempts the projection of idealized selves. But online facades often conceal painful realities.

Grandiose Profiles Suggest Inner Emptiness

Some showcase idyllic existences online. But their real lives lack the status, success, and fulfillment portrayed digitally.

This deception attempts to combat deep insecurity and desire for external validation. It seeks to inspire envy as a salve for inadequacy.

Genuine Presence Indicates Self-Acceptance

Self-awareness doesn’t require virtual validation. They know that popularity and “likes” don’t determine worth. Their social media presents an authentic existence.

This stems from inner wholeness. External factors may flounder, but inner light persists. Self-acceptance transcends circumstance.

Objective self-knowledge is the foundation of security. Avoiding subjective reactions allows wisdom. Enlightenment brings freedom from illusory chains.


These principles expose motivations and values, not to judge but to discern compatibility. Choices determine destiny. Inner states become external conditions. Intuition, integrated with compassion, unveils truth.

Self-knowledge grants empathy to know others. Our deepest essence connects universally. But circumstantial illusions divide. Shedding these reveals the eternal unity beneath the transient form.

External conduct discloses the inner terrain. The outward mirrors the inward. Through the principled living of timeless values, we sculpt our consciousness and, thus, our collective future.