T Nation

Stereotyping Personalities


To preface, my talent in life has always been understanding and being able to see people's strengths and weaknesses completely and at the same time (thinking that they are terrible at one thing doesn't prevent me from recognizing that they're great at another). This makes it as hard for me to really dislike someone has it is for me to completely support every idea that crops into their head.

However, I've noticed that most people are very black and white in their judgments of others and it usually works out better to actually pretend to be black and white as well. For instance, if you're in the work place, you're the manager's righthand man, and the manager starts joking around about how terrible one of the guys on the bottom is, it generally goes over better to joke around with your manager rather than point out the things you actually like about the bottom man.

Or, if there's a person which everyone likes, and you notice that they tend to blow up all the time at their wife, if you like everything else about them you will probably give them a free pass on that rather than make the situation awkward.

Does anyone have the ability to look at a person and understand that if they have a weakness, it doesn't make them all "bad", and if they have a strength, it doesn't make them infallible?

How has this worked out for you?


One time, I thought I had three nipples but it turned out one was my bellybutton.


Yeah. I tend to take people for what they are in their entirety as I understand it, but remain open to facets of their personality that are not obvious at a glance either.

At different times and under different circumstance, people demonstrate different traits and values. I also find it very interesting to see people outside of the context that I am accustomed to seeing them. (work, play, etc.)

edit: It has worked out pretty well. Some people are easier to be around when you understand them more thoroughly.


Doesn't everyone do this, when given enough information about someone else? Does making a joke about someone mean you think they're worthless as a human being? Seems pretty judgmental to jump to that conclusion...

If you couldn't make fun of and laugh at people's flaws, there would be absolutely nothing to laugh at in the world except monkeys.


One rule I learned at a young age is:
If you can't laugh at yourself, you shouldn't laugh at anyone else.


Its part of maturing to actually not place people in boxes and not look at the world as black or white. People are people and complex in nature.


O rly?


I think most women THINK they have this ability.

I think most women are WRONG about this.

I think most women judge men by notions they received from their mothers and father figures.

I have had women make comments based off of what kind of shoes a man is wearing or what kind of car he drives.

I have also never had a woman guess my true personality, strengths or weaknesses by meeting me one time. They almost always jump to the wrong conclusions.


Yes young one. Looking outside of yourself and your own personal experiences and viewing others through there own experiences is growing up. :stuck_out_tongue:


To be a good manager, its something that you should be very skilled at.

I doubt most people have the ability or the need to focus on developing a skill like this. In the workplace you have to be able to determine your workers ability to complete a task/project, work well with others etc.. in order to be both efficient and effective.

If anyone is interested in learning, I'll teach you for $49.95. jk


To be honest, a manager's only concern is whether a person can function well within the small world of that one business.

In life, there is much more to a person than just "job performance". Someone may do their job great...but go home and beat their wife or husband.

I think I misread the original post at first and do not judge people as black and white. I have ended up respecting people in spite of massive biases that originally made me consider them a negative person.

Every friend I have has their strengths and weaknesses, just like I do...and the reason we are still friends is that we all accept those differences because there has historically been more good than bad between us.


X I know the answer but ask anyway,

Did you have this ability when you were in your early 20's?


Well, yeah, but I was out of college by 21. If you had asked me if I had this ability at 16, I would have said no because my world was much more black and white. I believed that "this" was bad and "that" was good.....only to find out a year later about all the gray areas in college.




But you have undoubtly grown even more since you were 21 also. My point that to mature and become self aware is to know that people as individuals are very complex. The time frame of course is always variable, I had a two children and was a RT by the time I was 21. However mature I was then I am WAY more mature at 37.


I agree...also, there are certain professions where that skill would help more than anything. I think most doctors, police detectives, and nurses have to be good at reading people very well very quickly. The lives of the people in those professions could very well depend on it.

My ability to read people has saved my ass more than once in that regard because, let's face it, most people lie in some way about some thing...and when your ability to help them lies in your ability to reach the truth quickly, you either gain that talent or find another profession.


^ I used to always tell my patients "Dont lie to your Doctor or Lawyer, cause both can keep your ass alive". I also agree that visual triage and quick assessments with a 2 minute conversation in our field is a must. However that again is only narrowing the focus as it pertains to the medical treatment of individuals.


You feel your talent in life is being able to make instantaneous, inerrant judgments about the strengths and weaknesses of any individual?

I am going to have to agree with Professor X that you are probably flattering yourself with this super power. While I agree that it is certainly possible to 'read' people over the course of a brief encounter, particularly with regards to stressful situations and only as far as certain traits or inconsistencies are concerned, being able to accurately judge the spectrum of one's character as far as evaluating their 'strengths and weaknesses' is something that would take a little more time.

The only person I've seen who can do this is House... and he isn't real.

As far as your actual topic is concerned: yes, I can see the silver lining on the piles of shit I see every day just as I notice the occasional smudges on the otherwise pristine characters of people whom I also happen across.

Of course, I still classify people as douchebags based on single tidbits of information because, shit, I see a lot of people over the course of my day and I need some way to filter out the rabble. While I wouldn't consider these pricks to be Satan incarnate, if they happen to personify any particular trait I find distasteful I happily reserve the right to just consider them a piece of shit - or, at the very least, not give a crap about them - and move along rather than dirty myself rummaging around piles of coal hunting for potential diamonds.

I think most people operate the same way. Very few people, I would think, genuinely believe that any one person is "all bad" or "infallible". However, there will always be traits that ultimately color one's perception of an individual, whether it is the many small ones that allow one to conclude the person is an all-around good fella or even a single horrible one that forces one to believe that the person is a scumbag.

I'm sure more than a few of the Catholic kiddie diddlers did some good work in between pressuring underaged boys into blowing them, but I certainly wouldn't be shedding any tears if they took a bullet to the face. Likewise, I would still consider Mother Teresa a good lady if I found out she enjoyed the occasional shoplifting binge.


I haven't met a women yet who does NOT think she has this ability.


^ Hahahahahahahahaha I just cant add anything else, just sitting here laughing at my desk.