The majority of us has undergone a time in which we were done wrong by a loved one or perceive friend. I know I have. If you think back on that moment, do you ask yourself, how could I have been so stupid as to not see what was happening??? So to overcome the trauma of reliving that, I became obsessed in reading people and their true intentions as a form of self-preservation. This is how I got good at reading true intentions.
What most people don’t know is that they leave clues every time they speak or interact with others regarding their true intentions. By studying why people behave the way they do, verbal/written communication, and nonverbal communication we can effectively decipher the majority of true intentions from individuals around us (good or bad).
Why do people behave the way they do?
There are many reasons as to why someone will behave in certain way. One reason may be due to past experiences. While past experiences may help to shape the individual, they may also shape the way that a person will act under certain situations. This is called learned behavior. An individual finds out what best will benefit them in that instance and will proceed forward with acting that same way for each circumstance. While this may work a few times, the individual fails to understand that each circumstance is different and will not adjust behavior to best suit the situation.
Another reason why people behave the way they do is due to emotions. I can recall a couple of times when I was victim to letting my emotions go completely out of control and reacting to things versus actually stepping away from the situation and reproaching it with a clear thought. I’m sure I’m not the only person that this has happened to. While some emotions are great (happiness, love, excitement), other emotions are damaging to interpersonal relationships (envy, anger, sadness, fear). A person may be passive aggressive due to envy, or anger which may or may not have anything to do with you.
Influenced by Others
A person’s behavior may be influenced by others. Although I like to think that people who are over 30 years old are less influenced by others that is not at all the case. Like emotions, people tend to react versus understanding the situation. This is defined (by my husband) as the cause and effect syndrome. You make someone angry; they will react. This may be due to a lack of emotional intelligence- the inability to make your emotions work for you, and being aware of how they make you act.
There is another fun fact here that I would like to point out. Not a lot of people really understand it but it does exist. Are you familiar with the old saying “You are what you eat” or “you are the company you keep”? This is exceptionally true when it comes to studying human behavior. What I mean by this is that if you hang around certain individuals with particular traits (good or bad) you tend to bring those behaviors into your own subconscious. They will become prominent over time, slowly changing your thoughts, actions, perspectives. So, when looking for the true intentions of an individual, look at the people they spend the majority of their time with. It says a lot about them.
For an Ultimate Goal or Purpose
Ahhhh, the do anything for money or power syndrome. People who have an ultimate goal or purpose for their behavior will usually disguise themselves. Some goals may include: self-preservation, gaining the upper hand, influencing others to do what they want them to do, or leverage on another individual. In order to figure this is out you need to get to know the person. Find out what makes them tick and what they want out of life. This piece of the puzzle is crucial as this will define how they behave when they are around others, and how they behave when they are by themselves and comfortable.
Looking at Communication
After understanding why people behave the way they do, we can now start to interpret forms of communication. Among them are verbal or written communication, and nonverbal communication.
Verbal or Written Communication
When thinking about communication, this way is the most common that comes to anyone’s mind. Hey, I’m communicating with you guys now through the written word. 🙂 The way a person speaks to you speaks a lot about their inner psyche. Look for tone patterns and choice of verbiage. If someone is taking too long to respond to you it is because they are thinking of the correct words to get their meaning across. Depending on their goal, this may mean that they are trying to hide their true intentions. If a person begins to talk fast about a certain subject, this may mean they are truly excited about it. Their voice may have a high pitch at certain areas of communication, indicating that they are angry at what happened, or there’s a lot of joy behind the words chosen.
Understanding the person’s background can also give you insight as to why they chose those words. Language is a learned behavior. It can be influenced by their circle of friends, family, songs, movies, etc. Knowing this, you can hear at what a person said to you in code. I’ll give an example below:
2 people talking to each other in a joking manner. One of them say something unique, something that sticks to the other person like, “They are going to want you to keep that same production all the time if you keep doing that.” The information resides deeply in the second person. The next time that second person speaks to someone, they use that same verbiage- “management will be looking to see that you continue to have that same production.”
If you are that person that the second person is talking to, then you can correctly guess that they have been talking to (and influenced) by the first person. Knowing that, you then know that these ideas were sent not by the person in front of you, they were sent by the first person with the original thought.
One of the first things our instructors taught us when studying nursing was watching for behavior cues when a patient is in pain. A patient, depending on their culture, maybe reluctant to report pain. Therefore, we were taught to interpret (and document), behavioral cues such as a facial grimace, or palm/teeth clenching. So, guess who took all that and brought it forth to everyday communication? 😉 When a person speaks to you directly, watch their face as they do. Watch if there is feeling behind the smile they give you, and if their eyebrows raise at certain points of reference during the communication. This will tell you if they truly mean what they are saying.
IF, that person states one thing, then does a complete opposite of what they were saying, the correct interpretation is their actions. I cannot stress that enough! I don’t care how much you love or care for them. Non-verbal communication holds more weight than that of the verbal communication. Period. End of discussion. Seal it and deliver it.
What does this all mean to you?
Communication is a part of daily social interactions. If you got to the end of this article, you may be sitting there thinking that I have paranoia and I need some sort of counseling. You may be right 🙂 However, I rather act in self-preservation and work to attain friendships that do not have altered motives. The damage accrued by individuals that have bad intentions is far too great. By that time, it’s too late and you will right back at the top of this article wondering why you didn’t read the signs before.
By correctly interpreting why people behave the way they do, verbal or written communication, and non-verbal communication, you put yourself at a great advantage. You can’t play the player, and now you have a skill that makes you a highly valued player.
Food for thought...
Have you ever played Sudoku? If you haven’t you are missing out. The object of the game is to figure out which number goes in the empty square. There are a number of rules in the game but the concept is somewhat similar to the meaning I tried to communicate in this article. By looking at all the numbers surrounding that empty square, and using the process of elimination, you can correctly fill that square with the right number. Taking that same concept in reading true intentions, you can enjoy your life with the right people in it who want to see you grow into the best version of you.
Yaritza Ellison has been an nurse since 2010. She has been essential to the healing process of many and seeks to continue to do so. Her passion for mental health and self help literature has lead her to launch justyari.org, where she aspires to coach young ladies navigating through work-life balance.