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How to understand people?

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Hypothesis: People do not care about us.
This is not because people are mean or hurtful, but simply because PEOPLE are mostly FOCUSED ON THEMSELVES.

In the pie chart, 60% of thoughts are self-directed. My goals. My problems. My feelings. Another 30% are directed towards relationships, but how they affect me. What does Julie think of me? How will boss evaluate my performance in the next review? Do my friends like me or see me as irritating?

Only 10% in this model is time spent in empathy. Empathy is the rare event where one person actually feels the emotions, problems and perspective of another person. Instead of asking what Julie thinks of me, I ask what is Julie thinking.
Blueroselady aspires to have MORE EMPATHY.

Within that 10%, most people then divide attention between hundreds of other people they know. As a result, you would occupy a fraction of a percentage in most peoples minds, and only a couple percentage points in a deeply bonded relationship. Even if you are in another persons thoughts, it is how your relationship affects them, not you.

What does this mean?
Blueroselady said no more reason to feel embarrassed or ashamed! Embarrassment does not make a lot of sense. Since others are only focusing a small portion of there thoughts onto judging you, your self-judgement is overwhelmingly larger.
People who appear to be mean or hurtful do not usually do it intentionally. There are exceptions to this, but generally the hurt you feel is a side-effect, not the principle cause.
Relationships are your job to maintain. Do not wait to be invited to parties or for people to approach you.

Hypothesis: People are self-absorbed
Take an OPTIMISTIC, but realistic view of people.
Do not place your individual happiness in the hands of another person (or people).

Hypothesis: Behavior is Largely Dictated by Selfish Altruism

Selfish altruism is basically win/win. It is where helping you directly or indirectly helps me. There are a couple main categories where this applies:
1. Transactions – If I purchase a car, both myself and the dealer benefit. I get a vehicle, which I want. The dealer gets money to improve his lifestyle. This is the predominant form of selfish altruism between people who don’t have emotional bonds.
2. Familial – Blood is thicker than water. We are designed to protect people who share our genes. This can sometimes shift towards extremely close friends and loved ones.
3. Status – Helping someone is a sign of power. Many species of primates will offer assistance as a sign of dominance. People act similarly, offering aid to boost their self-esteem and reputation.
4. IMPLIED RECIPROCITY – Many relationships are based on the idea that if I help you, one day you will help me as well.
Occasionally behavior falls outside this group. Nameless heroes dying for causes that don’t help their bloodline. Volunteers devoting their time towards humanitarian missions. But these are the minority, whereas most actions can be explained by some form of selfish altruism.

Hypothesis: People Have Poor Memories

People are more likely to remember your similarities than your differences (unless they were emotionally incensed by them).

People are forgetful by nature, so once again, don’t assume malice or disinterest if something is forgotten. The other side of this rule is that you can demonstrate reliability by having a good memory or system (if it doesn’t fail you).

Hypothesis: Everyone is emotional

We all have our individual problems, angst and upsets that are normally contained. You don’t need to call people out on their private deception, but being sensitive to those underlying currents gives you an advantage in trying to help.

Hypothesis: People are lonely
People are especially sensitive to any threats to becoming ostracized.
Recognizing this feeling of LONELINESS as COMMON, will help us to minimize it.

References:
1. http://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2007/08/28/the-critical-7-rules-to-understand-people/

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Written by blueroselady

August 1, 2010 at 5:44 am

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