Perceptive: having or showing keenness of insight, understanding, or intuition
We often claim to be perceptive, to read beneath the surface of someone’s actions and expressions, so that we can determine the true underlying emotions in others. I have found myself feeling perceptive in many situations, focusing on the tone of the person’s voice, the location of their eyes, or the amount of details they choose to reveal or hide. I take in the full picture of everything I can in the hopes it will help me understand the best way to respond to the conversation or situation. This is a good thing, as it makes you more intuitive and capable of developing a stronger relationship with that person or eliciting a better outcome. But that’s not the only way to be perceptive. There’s at least one other tool at our disposal, and this one is something I find myself often getting caught up in:
Are you perceptive when looking at yourself — able to understand how others see you?
Now that can be tough. Sometimes our emotions block the truth. Often our sentiments escape with an unexpected volatility. Usually we’re not focused on what others think, but on how we’re feeling about the situation. Many times we ponder our actions rather than our lack of actions. And that’s the part I often find myself forgetting to consider. I focus on listening or talking, but not understanding and interacting. And there’s a difference in those behaviors.
- When you listen, you take in the information. You can nod, reach your hand out to comfort someone or give them a hug. But when you understand, you put yourself in that person’s shoes and question how it would make you feel, think or act. Then you determine why the person behaved the way (s)he did. And you choose how you want to respond, often leading to a more connected and powerful outcome.
- Talking with/to someone is conversational and helpful when you are in an initial get-to-know-you phase. You can bounce ideas back and forth, explain what happened in the past or suggest something new. But when you interact, you immerse yourself in the conversation, showing the other person how and why you care, the level you’ve committed yourself to in the conversation and provide insight into where it may go next.
So why am I saying this? What does it have to do with being perceptive? For me, it’s one and the same. When I am involved in a conversation, be it electronic, video, on the phone or in person, I always try to think about how I am being perceived. I try not to be casual. Casual to me, while having its place at appropriate times, is not a comfortable feeling. I would rather have a strong connection with only a few people than a weak one with a lot of people. And building those connections requires effort, which almost always includes being perceptive about the other person. It applies to so many things in our lives:
- Social Media
And it makes me wonder how I am perceived to others. Have you ever taken 30 minutes to reflect on your behavior, tone, body language, word choice, volume of voice or the time you give someone in a conversation? To understand what someone else might think about you? I do a lot. I do this when I meet new people. I do this when I chat online with people I’ve never met. I do this when I am trying to help someone through a difficult situation. I think it’s important to let others know, through each of these aspects of your interpersonal skills and relationship, where you stand in the greater scheme of things.
When I step back and think about how I am perceived, and how I want to be perceived, there are a few areas I need to work on. A few examples:
- I feel repetitive when I reply to people on social media because I often might be in a rush to respond and choose the quickest words that come to mind. Maybe I should step back and wait to comment until I have some free moments without interruption to put proper effort into building new relationships.
- I am a multi-tasker by nature. When on the phone, I often am doing two or three other things. I’m sure I’ve been slow to respond or didn’t pick up on the other person’s hidden messages. I might need to step back in what could be a sensitive or important conversation and give my full attention.
- I tend to be the one to let others do the talking. Perhaps that’s letting other people think I am not interested by failing to ask questions. I should push myself to re-balance that scale with other people.
Why did this come up today? Two reasons: (1) I’ve been talking a lot lately about “me” or “I,” and realized it in a recent conversation with someone else, and (2) I’m starting to put more of myself out there with the 2nd book I’m writing, the increase in social media and the number of people I’m becoming friendly with from my blog. I will need to find the right balance between quality and quantity, as well as ensure I’m being perceived in the way I want to be perceived. I want to be seen as a genuine and open-minded individual who is unafraid to share myself and learn about others. I want depth in my relationships. I want people to turn to me when they need a respected sounding board. I hope people find intense creativity and honest thoughts in my writing. I don’t want to be thought of as boring or ineffective. I choose to be someone others look to as a role model across so many aspects of life.
How about you? How do you think you are being perceived today? Would you change anything? Or do you not feel this is something to focus on in your world? …which is totally fine… not everyone is so caught up in what others think of them as I am… sometimes it’s good to just do what you think is right and let others react as they choose!
- Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Claire @ BrizzleLass Books. And the topic at hand in the challenge is completely disconnected from Claire, but I wanted to tell everyone about her today as she’s a phenomenal person to know. Claire and I met through WordPress about 3 months ago and soon after followed one another on Twitter, Goodreads and probably a few other sites. She’s a very strong blogger and has a great social media presence. I’m constantly finding new things to look into via her Twitter feed, as she is very friendly and helpful to all her followers and those people she’s gotten to know. It’s a bit funny as her two primary genres are fantasy and romance, which are the two I know the least about; yet, we’ve found a bunch of books in common and have built a great online friendship. She lives in my favorite country (can you guess which one?) and has a really witty tone in all her posts and conversations. I enjoy chatting with her each day, even if it’s just a quick hello or a lengthier discussion about mental health, inspiration and life choices. Plus, you have to love the colorful posts and pictures she releases. Go check out her site and meet a new friend who will be a good person to know in this blogging world.
About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”
I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.
The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.
Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.