Published by Jessie Chou (Kindle Book)
Analyzing people is mostly, quite simply, about reading someone’s body language – the innate, primal language that we all understand, if not fluently, then at least in basic terms. I learnt this through drama. When I was young I was extremely shy – to the point where I didn’t talk to anyone for the first two years of my school life (what eventually broke this was my sheer anger towards someone missing me out when playing ‘parse the parcel’). I’m now an outgoing and loud (too loud) person, who enjoys talking to people as much as possible. Now, what changed this for me was when I became friends with a girl, when I was six years old. I was mesmerized by here; she was the soul of the party – sassy, cheeky, flamboyant. I decided that I needed to be exactly the same as her.
My fabulous friend’s name was India, and India was really in to Drama. I guess this was the beginning of my transformation from a shy and timid girl, to a vivacious and confident woman (it was also the start of an intense passion for acting). Through the near two decades of drama that I have participated in, from right at the beginning I was forced to learn how to ‘become’ a character. As a child, this was easy – imagination has no bounds when you’re six years old. However, as I got older this became an increasingly more difficult tool for me to use, as the restrictions of society on actions and mind began to set in. Of course, it became harder anyway due to the more complex and scenes we were given; so I found new and innovative ways to analyze people to help me in developing my acting skills.
By becoming another person, studying humans comes with the same territory. It’s a fine balance between research, personal knowledge, and people watching. Research allows you to find the traits and characterizations of individuals, whilst the people watching helps you to read specific body language: seeing how, if someone is tense, they may be stressed, or if they are relaxed, open and friendly, then perhaps they are more confident. Obviously it goes a lot deeper than this – but the basics in analyzing someone is just to notice their stance, posture and facial expressions firstly.
It’s all about ‘putting yourself in someone else’s shoes’. If you can learn this then you will learn to empathize with someone better. That’s all analyzing people is about really: to understand why people act the way they do, therefore helping you in becoming a less judgmental person. By being able to empathize with someone, you will draw more people towards you, as understanding makes you relatable. I’m not saying that it’s possible to completely know someone’s feelings (especially in the case that that person has undergone traumatic experiences, as these are more complex) but you can at least observe basic qualities of emotion. If you can’t empathize then you can at least sympathize.
Drama: exploration, reflection, connection.
In drama (if you’re not all caught up on the nitty-gritty of it) there are practitioners that teach different styles of drama: to put it simply, it’s as if there are categories, so you may have physical theatre, dance theater, grotesque theatre – for example. Of course, these are all much more specific. The reason I bring these up is because I want to mention one practitioner called Stanislavsky. Stanislavsky was the master of naturalism – creating life on stage as close to life in the real world i.e. ‘the fourth wall effect’.
‘Today the Director opened his remarks by telling us what we must always do when the author, the director, and the others who are working on a production, leave out things we need to know. We must have, first of all, an unbroken series of supposed circumstances in the midst of which our exercise is played. Secondly we must have a solid line of inner visions bound up with those circumstances, so that they will be illustrated for us. During every moment we are on the stage, during every moment of the development of the action of the play, we must be aware either of the external circumstances which surround us (the whole material setting of the production), or of an inner chain of circumstances which we ourselves have imagined in order to illustrate our parts. Out of these moments will be formed an unbroken series of images, something like a moving picture. As long as we are acting creatively, this film will unroll and be thrown on the screen of our inner vision, making vivid the circumstances among which we are moving. Moreover, these inner images create a corresponding mood, and arouse emotions, while holding us within the limits of the play.’
(Konstantin Stanislavski, An Actor Prepares)
Stanislavsky was just the brains behind this conception of naturalism – but theory needed to be put in to practice, and this was done by two men: Strasberg and Meisner. They had very different methods of exercising Stanislavsky’s theory, but this was due to different interpretations of Stanislavsky’s teachings in naturalism. The master of this theory was all about using emotion from past experiences, to generate genuine emotion that can then be reflected through the stage and on to the audience, using the character as a vice. With Strasberg, the exercises mostly involved sitting in a chair and being given an animal to hold, such as a kitten. This was a completely imaginary exercise, and through this imagination and you’re previous life experiences, you can supposedly begin to feel emotion towards the imaginary animal that you are cradling in your arms. The exercises would begin quite simply with a small kitten that had just been born, and you’re stroking the kitten and looking after it – you let your imagination create the story, and provoke old and genuine emotions from past experiences. You would then see the kitten start to turn in to a cat, grow older, and then die in your arms. You would do this exercise for about an hour, allowing yourself to get in touch with your own emotions and mirror these on to the animal you were caring for. In doing this, you would start to understand how your imaginary animal felt, and the affection between you and it. This affection (despite all being imaginary) created a genuine belief and bond for you and you’re cat, and allowed you to read how the animal was feeling, and understand the animal’s body language. Through time and development, you could then begin to apply this to real life. Slowly, through the weeks, the exercise adapted to more emotive circumstances, and you would begin by holding a baby – which was your child. The child would grow, become an adult, and die.
The point of these exercises was to take you through a very detailed, time-consuming journey so that, as an actor, you tapped in to a primal understanding towards animals and other humans. This would then allow you to apply these techniques on stage. By starting and engaging with the very foundations of the natural world, you begin to understand basic emotions: love, fear, happiness and sadness. When applying this to a scene with others, instead of thinking of yourself, you react to other’s body language, and what that language is emulating. You listen to the tone of their voice to distinguish between the basic emotions, finding the tenancies within that. The other person will then respond to your reactions and become more open.
Now, I realize that this is just acting, no matter how genuine it may feel; however, you can apply this to every-day life. It’s meditation really. If you ‘get in touch’ with your own understanding of your emotions, this will allow you the leverage to recognize similarities in the nuances of other people’s behavior. If you analyze yourself better, you will analyze others better.
With the same intended outcome: Meisner went about it with completely different methods. If you struggle to have the self-discipline to sit in a chair for hours and focus on your imaginative skills – this may be more appropriate for everyday life. With Meisner, the beginning exercises began with two people. When we began these exercises in my drama class, they made myself and my peers feel uncomfortable. The first two up were my classmates: Stuart and Esme. They were told to pick any sentence and stand opposite each other, their bodies facing. They were then commanded to repeat the same line continuously to each other. Instinctively, they both played up to the audience, trying to make an awkward situation amusing. This changed however, as after ten minutes of repeating the same line to one another, the teacher asked the two to just be ‘themselves’, no acting involved. It wasn’t about putting on a performance for their classmates; it was about stripping down to only who you are – and the vulnerability made us cringe. Along with this new instruction, Stuart and Esme were also told to change the sentence to something they noticed about the other’s behavior – both repeating each other’s words throughout the exercise, but adapting to any changes that one of the pair may notice. For example: the couple were first told to repeat lines on what the other was wearing, ‘you’re wearing a blue jumper’, which then developed to a more emotive sentence, ‘you’re smiling at me’. From switching the material observation, to observations on each other’s emotional appearances, the dynamic within the pair was completely changed. Stuart and Esme soon started forgetting the audience’s presence, and were just responding to each other’s emotions. This was so much so that they hardly noticed what they were saying to each other any more, they were just in tune with each other’s feelings: reacting to the effects of being so engaged with each other.
Undeniably, this was mesmerizing to witness. I had never seen two people (who were acquaintances at most) so deeply emotionally connected. Stuart – who was very reserved and restrained – was opening up and responding to Esme’s more happy and positive attitude. In analyzing people, it is so important to take the time to stop and study them. This exercise showed us that it is possible to connect with someone in a short space of time, if you put a lot of your focus in to observing the specifics of someone else. Precise observation of others is propelled forward by an exercise like this, mostly due to being able to look in to someone’s eyes for long enough that an affect can be felt by those involved. It teaches you how important it is to just stop, listen and respond.
Both Strasberg and Meisner put in to exercise Stanislavsky’s intention – remove social constraints of awkwardness, and you are more likely to find the honest answer that lies within people. You can see this when you watch two good friends together. Due to their close relationship, there is no awkwardness, less social restrictions and therefore less self-awareness than you would have when talking to a stranger. However, obviously this kind of relationship can take a long time to develop – not helpful if you’re trying to analyze and understand people in the short run. No less, these exercises (especially Meisner) will aid you in removing people’s metaphorically built walls, and allow you to see beneath the protective layer they present to the outside world. Analyze the close relationships that you do have, the experiences these people hold, and find the similarities between different people: as they want to talk to someone who is able to empathize.
Vulnerability and falling Victim to Abuse
As someone who is naturally open, and wears their heart on their sleeve – people tend to respond to me fairly quickly, as I’m frequently approached for help by people that I barely know. What these people notice in me is my vulnerability, and my willingness to let anyone and everyone see this at all times. This vulnerability has the same use in acting on stage – people identify with actors who are willing to expose themselves by propelling their own vulnerability and manipulating it in to the character’s emotions. This is of course why many actors are extremely sensitive people; an actor is merely the vice for the emotion to flow through and reflect that of the character, for the audience. My point is: if people can respond so well to a fictional world, due to the vulnerability that is on display – the real life will mimic the same attitude as this. By exposing yourself, others reflect your own honesty, and in turn they then expose themselves to you. This however can be dangerous when used by a manipulative person.
In example of this danger, I’m going to write about one of my personal relationships. As I said earlier, I wear my heart on my sleeve, always keeping my emotions exposed for all to see. When I began university, I met a girl called Emily. For me, I had always gravitated towards friendships with men, rather than women. Emily, who was highly emotionally intelligent, could see that this was the case with me, and she knew exactly how to manipulate me, along with my trust, in to a relationship. On first impressions, Emily seemed eccentric, happy, and she held many masculine similarities that I automatically warm to as a person, along with the same very dry sense of humor: naturally we became good friends. Skip forward to a year down the line and I’m living with Emily, and two others girls – which was a nightmarish situation that I never thought I’d get myself in to. Half way through my second year at university, I found myself becoming increasingly isolated, and doing things that were completely out of character for me. Everyone seemed to know my deepest secrets that hardly anyone knew at the time. People were constantly telling me not to trust Emily, and to ‘wake up’ and see what she was doing; and yet I still didn’t realize what was happening. She took my money, friends, and my mental stability, and I remained just as perplexed as ever over the cause of my ever-growing issues. The wool was well and truly pulled over my eyes.
By the end of my second year at university, Emily had fallen out with everyone, and consequently, she quit university. In her absence, I began to regain my confidence, independence, and the friends that she had tried so hard to demonize to me. My absolute, unconditional trust in Emily had caused my vulnerability to be taken advantage of, and abused, purely for someone else’s satisfaction. Through her manipulation, Emily had isolated me, to compensate for her own feelings of loneliness, which in turn caused me to become dependent on her. It was a pretty neat idea: she was alone, so if she made me alone she would always have company, and we could have remained tortured souls entwined forever.
What I learnt from this is not to close off from people, but to be more wary of this kind of thing happening. The majority of people won’t do this to you – but the ones that do, are almost impossible to read. The honesty that I mentioned earlier, is not present in people like Emily thus, even if you feel connected to this person, it is likely you’re connected to the person they are just portraying to the outside world. To be able to analyze these people, you will need to know more about their past life – people who have been abused in the past for a sustained amount of time, are more likely to inherit these traits and repeat the pattern of behavior towards others. Be aware that a deep connection you feel towards someone, if you feel it goes against your gut feeling, and notice a negative change in your behavior, may be the sign of an abusive relationship.
As someone who is very open, and extremely emotional and sensitive, I find it harder to read people who are more closed off. A few years ago I struggled to differentiate between shyness and rudeness – often misinterpreting the two. This was due to the standoffish traits in behavior that both being shy and being rude have; however, this was ignorant of me, as well as insensitive to be unable to differentiate the two very well. I thought back to when I was a child – too shy to interact with the other children at parties, usually clinging on to whichever adult had been given child drop off duties for the day.
I specifically remember a childhood friend’s birthday party. We were in a village hall – the one’s that smell like elderly ladies’ dusty perfume, and have the depressing paisley patterned (usually brown) 70s brocade curtains. My friend had all of her school friends there and, considering they were all girls from another school to mine, along with my aversion towards females (even at that age) I was obviously extremely reluctant to get in any way involved. I remember crying, and being forced to dance and sing ‘hot in here’ (I was 8 years old here by the way) in front of everyone. It was one of the most horrifying experiences, and one that I vividly remember to this day. It may seem strange coming from someone who can sing and dance on stage in front of 200 people – but being on stage is the difference, I can be someone else on stage and hide behind that character. This memory is what made me realize when someone’s shy, and helped me to relate to how this person may be feeling in that moment. A lot of the time, being shy is due to extroverted people displaying obnoxious behavior that others find intimidating.
As someone who is innately introspective, I gained more confidence through drama, along with forcing myself to be surrounded by loud extroverts. Remember- you never have to label yourself as one or the other, as this may psychologically restrict what you feel you can (and are allowed) to achieve as a person. The majority of people are actually extroverted introverts (mouthful, I know), which means you can enjoy the company of others, and then take the time to reflect on how you feel on your own. If you are extremely shy, it’s important to know that a lot of people may seem confident, but are in fact feeling just as nervous as you are. What I’ve learnt is to avoid judging others, so that if they do judge you, you can ignore it – knowing that you are safely secure in yourself, and the people in which you can come out of your shell with. Being around people who are similar to you can give you accurate tips to help you, and you can support each other in this; but you must also take the time to work on yourself on an individual, and more personal level. I’m afraid this means going out of your comfort zone as much as you can. This will make you feel less restricted by anxiety, and will make you more comfortable in situations you wouldn’t have been okay in before. Many people never attempt to go for their dream job for fear of failure: this comes from a lack of confidence. If you go for it anyway, knowing that it’s better to fail that to never try, whatever the outcome you will become less shy as a person, and reinforce your own self-believe so that you can continue to try. It’s not about changing who you are, but being less afraid being who you are in front of others.
Recently I was fortunate enough to meet, and eventually, get to know a girl who is cripplingly shy. The first two times I met her, we struggled for conversation (something that’s pretty unheard of with me). I would talk about a topic, and then ask her what her opinions were on said topic. I would then go on to ask her general questions about her life, and just normal small talk. In response to all of my questions…. Well, there was no response. She would nod her head, and then look down at the floor, shuffling her feet and turning red with embarrassment. In return, I felt as if I had been invasive with my questions, and couldn’t help feeling slightly ashamed of myself. I didn’t know whether to leave, stand in awkward silence, or just continue to spout complete nonsense at her. Admittedly, her nervousness made me feel anxious, and made me want to disappear altogether. A few months later, at another event, I found out a bit more about her – how a harrowing past had left her unable to connect to others, which made people constantly uneasy and unsure when they were around her. The information I was told was brief, and obviously barely touched the surface. She was a serial victim of sexual abuse, which had destroyed any social skills she had. She also despised how shy she was. The last time I saw her, she was with her boyfriends and close friends. We struck up a conversation between myself, her and her boyfriend – as we’d found a mutual ground for conversation: jobs in education, and how all three of us had hated doing them. For us, the teaching environment was not suitable, and I was enjoying divulging about my own (what I thought to be) pretty bad experiences. This was completely shot down though, when my friend (we’ll call her Sam), Sam, described her experiences at school. Due to Sam’s shyness, the other teachers had abused their power over her. They took advantage of her quietness and loving nature – to make themselves feel empowered. Sam said that her intelligence was completely undermined, and she was even given detentions so that she was placed on the same level as the children, therefore reducing her status as a teacher. These detentions were for her trying to find five minutes a day to wolf down her lunch – time that been taken away from her due to other teachers getting her to do their work for them.
I use Sam as an example of strength. She stayed at that school for two years, always knowing who she is. For someone who has suffered through so much, she is the most gentle and kind person I have met. If you are extremely shy, this can be taken advantage of by other’s who are unhappy in their lives, and who misjudge this vulnerability as weakness. You should never accept this emotional abuse, no matter what you’re like. But remember Sam if you feel the same; shyness does not devalue you in any way. If you’re too shy to defend yourself, find someone else to help you to find the confidence and security to do so. Now that Sam is a bit more open with me, I find her shyness endearing, and her honesty – however small – is so much more valuable. Just being slightly more open, especially when it takes a lot of effort and courage from someone, will be appreciated all the more.
Relating back to the abuse you can receive from being too open and trusting, creates a dichotomy between the abuse many receive for the other end of the spectrum: being shy and reclusive. Both are targets, and both personalities reveal a lot of vulnerability – it is just portrayed in a different way. This vulnerability however, will draw others towards you. It’s a complex balance that we’re all trying to figure out, but take the time to study a person’s body language and the semantics they use towards others, and this will help you to decide if you want to trust them.
As children, we are constantly exposed to the idea that men and women are emotionally differentiated. When young, children usually think the other gender is ‘gross’ or has ‘cooties’, but when we get to adolescence, this changes. As everyone knows, this is when the opposite sex becomes sexualized (talking more generally rather that the specifics in people’s sexuality.) We’re taught through the media and word of mouth how to analyze the other gender – to see if they find you sexually attractive. Most of what we leaned was to do with how the other person’s body language is towards you, being given extremely specific signs when learning how to do this. When I was 15 I had my first boyfriend (it lasted approximately two weeks), and I remember thinking her didn’t like me because when he sat down his knees pointed away from me, not towards me. So I broke up with him, purely for this reason. He cried for a week, which was half the duration of our relationship. Body language is key to understanding someone – but don’t always take this for more than it’s face value.
Now, I want to talk about a man called Roosh V. You may know him, or have seen him pop up on an advert on your computer. Roosh V. is literally about ‘how to pick up girls’ and he’s the master of manipulation.
Daryush ‘Roosh’ Valizadeh – the feminists’ bete noire – has once again returned to take up his recurring roll as Public Enemy Number One. The outrage following the announcement his ‘neomasculinist’ group Return of Kings would be hosting its first International Meetup Day on 6 February has led to petition after petition calling for the group to be banned
(International Business Times, February 2016)
Type his name in to Google and you’ll see a huge amount of accusations thrown his way – and quite rightly so. He has been labeled as having controversial views mostly due to this views appealing to rape culture. He says in his book ‘Bang Ukraine’ (no, seriously, that’s what it’s called) that, in relation to sex it’s ‘no until it’s yes’. He also states that, if you have slept with a girl before then they are you’re ‘property’ and therefore you can have sex with them whether they are a sleep or passed out – so without the woman’s consent, but this is beside the point, and not why I’m going to talk about him. Here’s how he describes his book in order to sell it (just to give you a quick idea):
Here’s a few more things you’ll learn in Bang…
- How the thoughts inside your head can help—or hurt—your success with women. I share with you beliefs that prevent your mind from sabotaging your efforts.
- The 8 essential beliefs of the alpha male, and the fastest way to copy those over your useless beta male beliefs. I explain how to be like the silverback gorilla and not the beta gorilla who begs for sloppy seconds.
- I tell you the most importantpart of the game that increases your results more than anything else—something you can start doing right away.
- Why a man who doesn’t get rejected is a man who doesn’t get women… period. I teach you how to use rejection to take your skills with women to the next level.
- Two of my favorite high-impact opening lines that work just about anywhere women can be found and are so simple that a monkey could master them.
- Five fun openers you can use in bars and nightclubs to get a girl’s attention right away. I also teach you the concept of “stacking” openers on top of each other.
Roosh V. is undeniably – and dangerously – talented at reading women’s body language. Through years of studying women he knows what to say and do to get the attention of his desired target. However worrying this may be, and in no way condoning his behavior, it’s fascinating to study how he achieves such accurate readings of women. In fact he seems to be completely capable of reading anyway, as he comments on the men he sees; why they are insecure, and what they can do to solve this. Through focusing specifically on body language, and what most women respond to, he is tactfully tactile – this is his main technique in ‘wooing’ the woman he has chosen for the night. In the right hands, acknowledging someone’s body language with precisely specific detail, and responding to those observations through tough, is a way of reflecting a deeper connection to that person, therefore intensifying the relationship.
An affectionate touch towards another, in a way of comforting, or simply acknowledging of their presence, can help you to analyze someone. As long as it’s adjusted to be appropriate for the situation (such as placing your hand lightly on the top part of an acquaintance’s arm) it will help you to distinguish how that person feels. If they shy away – which people generally don’t – you know where the boundary lies with that person. If people smile, or respond warmly, then you instantly create a more open, and more welcoming, bond between the two of you. It’s a way of non-verbally expressing to someone your affections towards them. If people choose to be physically near to you, then you know that they feel a close connection towards you, and enjoy your presence, which in itself is endearing behavior. Gestures go a long way when helping you to analyze people, as well as decreasing the distance (both figuratively and literally!).
Worryingly, Roosh V. uses this to take advantage of women. He manipulates his knowledge of female body language to study women and retrieve what he needs through this, whilst discarding anything about the woman that isn’t supportive of his superficial desires. Being tactile with people is to aid you to understand who that person is – it’s a subconscious and innate trait that all humans hold, but are skills that you can hone. Instead of using touch to draw himself closer to someone and create a long lasting, substantial connection – Roosh V. using it to create an instantaneous and deep connection with a woman, which – for him – will only be for the night. This is particularly disturbing, as not only will the woman be falling in to a false sense of comfort with him, but also his techniques will probably suggest a stronger relationship to the woman. Physicality is very strong in sharing emotions, and here it used deceivingly, whilst Roosh V.’s words disguise the dishonesty of his actions. Usually, we use touch as our honest approach towards people – when we are unable to verbalize those feelings towards someone, therefore people instinctively assume it to be an uncalculated, and honest, representation of someone’s thoughts when they are addressing you.
By manipulating someone’s emotions, Roosh V. creates significant damage towards his desired target. Through his calculating nature, he also denies the correct understanding of body language – sadistically achieving what he wants and warping the truth he portrays to others, through touch. Due to these methods – Roosh V. has been accused of much more serious accusations, with the widely spread belief that he supports pro-rape ideals. It would be incorrect to deny that humans are unable to read simple signs in the majority of people, even as basic as being able to distinguish positive and negative behavior in others. By Roosh V. using specific language, body language, and tactile behavior to manipulate his subject, he quite clearly warps that person’s thoughts through suggesting he can give them comfort, as well as denying his instincts on whether the woman is saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ through her body language. He complicates the system, so that the ‘game’ works in his favor: eradicating any negative responses he may get. Of course, this leads to more obvious supports of rape, especially in is books, where he quite plainly condones it. For Roosh V., his insight in to other people’s body language gives him a powerful tool towards achieving a clearer understanding towards others.
The alternative side to this is someone who can read body language well, but who is afraid of hurting someone else. One of my close friends, Tom, was brought up in a household that was strictly feminist. Tom’s mother banned anything sexually explicit in the house, if she felt that it was degrading towards women in any way – even if this was just simply a girl modeling a bikini. Clearly Tom’s parents were trying to make sure that he respected women, and ensured to make females feel empowered in themselves. Although respect should be fundamental between the genders, and are important to be taught – the pedantic teachings of Tom’s parents restricted him, and had a reverse affect when applied to his respect towards his own gender, as well as towards himself. For Tom, he had grown up in a house were sexuality was condemned, as well as men being demonized: creating conflicting feelings towards his own being. This created a long-term complex for Tom where he feared being a perpetrator of sexual assault. These agonizing thoughts made him extremely anxious, and prevented him from living a normal life from adolescence to adulthood. His relationships with others became increasingly distanced, as he lost the ability to be tactile towards others (especially women) and shied away from other’s touch, making him seem cold. The removal of women as sexual beings, created perpetual anxiety for Tom, and removed the natural foundations that everyone has when reading simple emotions in each other. It also taught Tom that his natural desires as young man were perverted, which weren’t just harmful to his mental health, but also harmful towards his relationships with male friends, as their sexual journeys reflected negatively on his own repressed sexual feelings. Tom continues to struggle in analyzing people, causing him to become more isolated and his mental health progressively declining. Due to the repression of his own feelings, Tom fails to understand simple emotions in others – both through body language and words – which in turn results in others being unable to understand him, and so distance is caused by both parties.
Despite Tom’s sexually repressed upbringing, he continues to show unfaltering empathy towards females. This is arguably more down to nurture, rather than nature. A close friend of mine, Freddie, challenges the nature/ nurture argument, defying the conventional following of parental ideals that many people inherit. Freddie is an extremely effeminate, straight man – who hasn’t seen his mother for over fifteen years, due to a difficult divorce between his parents. Freddie was also born as the eldest of two brothers, along with a father who despised women, and demonized his mother. There was not just a lack of significant females in Freddie’s life – but also a de-humanization of women by his father. However, despite this, Freddie unconditional love and empathy towards all females. His levels of reading people through body language are exceeded by his ability to understand people through their tone of voice, and the semantics they use. This usually results in an understanding of feelings by Freddie, before the person experiencing them has digested and deciphered them.
This extraordinary insight Freddie holds (as well as defying his own circumstances and probable outcome) is due to his strength of character; as well as teaching, learning and then achieving his desired empathetic intuitions towards others. He persevered in striving towards always showing compassion towards women, which in turn allowed him to feel compassion towards males as well – which shows that, through drive, people can continually develop and improve their skills in analyzing others.
I feel that his own difficulties in life, along with his focus on study in Drama, has enabled him to analyze people with such mesmerizing affect. Freddie has practiced drama throughout his life (and is now at drama school) focusing a lot on the Stanislavsky techniques I discussed earlier. This regular practice of Strasberg and Meisner exercises has ensured he has a solid grasp of other people’s emotions – as well as a firm grip on his own. Freddie also suffers from severe anxiety due to his parent’s divorce. His focus on his own cognitive behavior, understanding of this (as well as the repairing needed of it) enables him to notice, and therefore do the same for others. As mentioned about, Freddie’s father is extremely ‘anti-women’, whilst his mother (who he recently sourced out and is now back in touch with) is an extremely loving and accepting character. The dichotomy between his parents only strengthened Freddie’s ‘inner-bond’ with himself, thus solidifying his ability to analyze others. Confidence and knowing oneself are necessary in being able to notice behavior and thoughts held by others – this is why Freddie is both a successful actor and a compassionate friend to many.
The family and friends that surround us during our adolescence are usually a crucial part in determining who we are later on in our lives. Tom’s parents were vigilant in ensuring that women remained untouched, to the point where females were perceived by Tom as the superior gender: whilst Freddie’s father presented opposing theories of degrading language and views towards women. Despite the hurdles in both men’s lives, they both developed compassion towards others whilst have to adhere t the effects of invasively opinionated parents – where both men were forced to succumb to the harrowing emotions that can be caused by these upbringings, and can lead to more severe results, such as mental illness.. Despite it being important to have strength in oneself, the external will drastically affect our character, and our emotions. An unbalanced lifestyle can have a negative affect on people’s health, and magnify any pre-disposed feelings of anxiety, depression or psychosis.
In remembering that everyone deals with their own difficulties differently – including traumatic circumstances – it will help you to ensure that you are more understanding towards other: conveying to them that you are open and welcoming. If you hold pre-existing compassion towards people, either from previous personal experiences, or from research and listening to friends, you will feel more emotionally accessible to others. As Freddie’s dad lacked any compassion towards his son, it meant that Freddie fought for that understanding through watching and learning from other people in the street, on TV, or wherever he could. Freddie created sympathy for people, which then allowed him to being able to empathize with many people, and therefore ensured that people felt comfortable to be open about their feelings. If you have struggled with very difficult issues in your life, then you won’t want to talk to someone who is judgmental, and you will shy away from those who are. People who suffer, or have suffered, from mental illness, are easily relatable for others who have had similar issues.
Along with being more relatable, those who have undergone mental illness – that being any on the spectrum – are much better at recognizing signs and symptoms in others. By analyzing people in this way, you can imply, or say supportive things to show understanding without having to have a direct conversation about these symptoms, as this can usually be awkward and uncomfortable. Many of the techniques I have discussed earlier can also be applied to these situations, such as slightly prolonged eye contact or affectionate gestures towards them through touch – keeping in mind that these situations may be more sensitive, and require more analyzing. The reason I deny the limitations in labeling and then differentiating mental illnesses in terms of relating to someone, is that there are many similarities between them all. I think of mental illness as an umbrella term – there is no singular label that applies to one person. For example, if someone has Bi Polar disorder, it doesn’t mean they will experience the same rapid mood changes as other sufferers, their mood may change more sporadically. The important thing here though is, not the difference between the illnesses, but the connection that they all have. Usually you can draw similar symptoms between a whole spectrum of mental disorders, so you can find similar ground to relate to people on. Someone who suffers from anorexia will probably experience many similar symptoms to someone who experiences depression – you can understand these similarities by looking at the causes and beginning of each illness. Of course, each mind has their nuances, but to find and detect similarities in others is the first strep in analyzing someone, and allowing you to be closer people.
Many people I know are drawn in to circles where their peers have very similar issues. In doing so, it allows you to either directly communicate with like-minded people, or to steer conversations in ways that others understand and appreciate; so that you can tackle your issues together. Naturally (like anything) this can have a negative affect on you. If you are involved with a group of friends who, for example, suffer from severe depression, whilst you only suffer from mild depression or less frequent boughts of depression, you may be in danger of exasperating your own issues. Although it’s best to believe that other’s will endeavor to support and relieve your symptoms, there are others (like the girl Emily I discussed early) who will abuse this. A lot of these abusive people are looking for someone to share the pain with, but it usually ends up being damaging for both parties.
During my three years at university, I was friends with a severely Bi-Polar man named Matt. Being Bi-Polar myself, I saw him as an older and more experienced friend who would advise me on how to ease symptoms of my illness, and continue my life in a more therapeutic way. Instead I was about to visit the extreme end of my illness. For three years I tried to help someone who refused to help himself, and would also not let me help myself. He would throw glasses at me after draining them of alcohol, he would verbally abuse me, and manipulate me – twisting and confusing my emotions to a point where I felt constantly baffled, and my mind quickly began to dwindle and disintegrate. A perfect example of ‘misery loves company’.
Relating back to Emily and Roosh V. – Matt was also a master of manipulation. He used similar techniques to Roosh V. in manipulating women’s emotions in to building a strong desire for him, which he used to inflate his damaged ego. In fact, I was his only long-lasting friend at university due to never falling for his sleazy antics – in fact I don’t really understand how anyone fell for it as his manipulation seemed so obvious to me. Of course, he was extremely charming which was probably what people fell for, and I suppose I did in some ways, as I created a strong bond with him and desire to ‘fix’ his life. Sadly, I have had to stop speaking to Tom, as his actions were too damaging towards my own life. Again, it’s another example of extraordinary power that touch and carefully chosen words have in order for someone to open up. If you can extract these techniques in a safe, and positive, way then you can hold an invaluable tool when analyzing people.
Awareness, balance and empathy are your keys in to analyzing people successfully. Awareness of the situation, and gaging people’s body language – remembering to seek for the positive and negative signs in body language, and then develop this knowledge in to more specific signs. Once you get to know the nuances in one person, then you can find the similarities in these traits when analyzing other people. Also to keep an awareness of others and potential emotional abuse, as well as being in keep with your own techniques. Balance is after you have judged the situation, and taken in to account anything that you know about that person, and then providing a balanced opinion. Remove any judgments you may already hold (especially in concern of superficial things), and just be open and ready to listen. If you struggle to provide your own opinion due to shyness or lack of confidence, then you can use supportive gestures. Relating to your own experiences, feelings, insecurities and general knowledge is the essential empathy – and it’s the most crucial element to being able to analyze people successfully. Despite what you may think, others will be feeling similar to you in so many ways – and if they seem overly confident, compared to you who may feel intimidated and shy – know that it comes from the same foundation as everyone else, and is usually born out of insecurities. Although don’t mistake confidence for arrogance (as it’s usually threatening to many), and if it’s what you yearn for then analyze someone who is confident, and who you admire, and then apply your own steps to live your life more comfortably – with less fear of judgment from others.