How to See People as They Really Are

You know, you’ve met someone who seems to have so much in common with you, you immediately take a liking to them, only later to find you wish you could know how to see people as they really are.

You let them into your inner circle, then after a while, you see them for who they really are. This person, who seemed so transparent, open, honest and the perfect person for you to work with, or spend your quality time with; you were simpatico. Then, as you get to know them better, you discover they are not the person you thought they were.

You find that they are not even close to who you thought they were, and you’re ashamed of yourself and think,

“How could this person have deceived me, like that?”

It’s easy to jump to conclusions and assume that this person tried to pull a fast one on you to throw you for a loop, which could be true, if he or she is a psychopath or sociopath (which would be rare), while the more likely truth behind this conundrum is that the responsibility for your being “duped” lies solely on you.

It’s all your fault.

In most (if not all) cases, the only person to blame is yourself, so go ahead and give up the notion that you must blame anyone for you’re being fooled into believing that someone was not who you thought they were.

How could I have been so wrong?

Forget the inclination to try to beat yourself up for not seeing this person as they really are. Why? Because you’re a good person. So good, in fact, that you tend to see the best in people. You give them the benefit of the doubt and see them in the most positive light. You see their potential, who they could be, if they embraced all the gifts, talents and special abilities, following their own life’s path to their highest and best.

Why do I do that?

When you meet someone for the first time, you have seven to fifteen seconds to fix in your mind an image of the person you’re meeting. Your mind tries to identify people quickly so that you can posture your method of communication with this person to navigate the conversation in the best possible manner. Your brain quickly tries to identify and categorize this person, so that you can find common ground to communicate effectively, or to protect yourself and not open up, if you’ve determined that this might be a toxic person.

If you’re an expansion explorer, you tend to see things through the eyes of love, or “rose colored glasses.” That is to say you are seeing people and things in all their empowered potential, as the highest and best version possible.

My daughter, Jaycie, is like that. She is a multi-media artist who sees potential magnificence in everything, whether it’s a rock, clump of earth, piece of wood, whatever she sees, she interprets as a blank canvas, and see’s the beauty of the completed project when no one else could. To you and me, it just looks like a piece of rock, but Jaycie is like Michelangelo who saw only David in the rock.

And you, too, are just like that. You see the David in everything you see. David was the potential, but without doing the work, the intricate chiseling away of everything that was not David, we would have never seen the real David realized in his full potential.

You’re Perfect

You are the visionary. In those first few seconds, you saw this person as who they could be, if they did the work. Unfortunately, most people do not do the work, or maybe this person is not unlike you and I, and he or she is in the process of growing, changing and evolving into a higher version of his or her self.

You’re not to blame for seeing someone as the highest and best version of themselves.

People Are More Transparent than You think

While your impression of this person was interrupted by your ability to see them in their best light, more often than not, people are quite transparent about who they are.

If you review your interactions with this person, in retrospect you will notice that they give you clues about what to expect from them at the get-go.

You could have paid more attention to their lack of punctuality, truthfulness, attention to detail, selfishness, or hundreds of other indications clearly warning you about what to expect from this person, but you didn’t take heed to the warnings.

Why? Because you’re such a beautiful person that you overlooked all the warning signs to see only the best potential in this person. After some time has passed, you become more and more aware of their current condition.

This person, whoever it is, is who and where they are in this moment; a work in progress, just like you and me. Only now, it’s (possibly painfully) clear about who and where they are.

What do I do now?

Love and bless them.

He or she is not broken, good, or bad; only who and where they are in this moment. So, accept them as such, and love them just as they are.

If they are not a good fit for you in your inner circle, make the adjustments necessary to reposition them. Move their position to a safer location within your social organization, or extricate them as gently as possible. Thank them, bless them, reposition them, or send them on their way. There is no need for an apology. Things just are as they are, and we all change and grow,  but do not expect this person to change to accommodate your vision of their highest and best.

You Can’t Change Someone Else

Everyone is responsible for their own personal growth and change. It’s not up to you to change them, and you couldn’t if you tried.

Make an Impact via First Impressions

When people have been exposed to you and you have had the ability to interact with them, what do they do when you leave the room?

While people will make a decision regarding you in as little as 10 seconds, are there ways to influence what they think of you in a good way, given a few more moments? It’s up to you.

Wouldn’t it be nice, if after you left they said good things about you, or at least mentioned that you seemed to be different, insightful or inspirational, or maybe you made people think outside the box, if only for a moment? That’s what happens when you make an impact in public.

You’re not drawing attention to yourself, or demanding anyone’s attention but you’re giving the most you can in the few moments of exposure you have with people who may not know who you are or what you do and making a good first impression.

What Turns Them On?

Find out what excites them and ask them about it. Listen to them and ask questions. If that’s all you do, you will make an impact. If you like, you can work in a little networking if you can think of a story that relates what you do or might like to say in a way that relates to what turn them on.

Edify Others

When someone does a good job or earns some type of accolade, don’t miss an opportunity to edify them, introduce them to others or thank them publicly, honoring their efforts. If you are seen as someone who appreciates the efforts of others and takes the time to honor them and have their moment in the sun, you will be revered as an edifier or cheerleader.

Whenever you hear of someone’s good deeds, by all means, find ways to recognize them and lift them up for doing good, or helping to make the world a better place. This will have a meaningful impact on the person you’ve edified, as well as the people who will appreciate your efforts to acknowledge and honor someone’s good deed.

Tell Stories

One of the best things you do is to be a story teller. Story tellers don’t just spill out the facts all over their audience. No. They tell stories with dramatic detail that sparks the imagination of their audience. With a little practice, you too can become a story teller. Think of colorful ways you can spice up what you have to say and hone your skill of storytelling to make an impact.

Be Creative

You can learn all the skills about how to work a room, and do the best you can, but don’t be afraid to try something new, that may benefit the people you meet, yet leave a positive lasting impression. Especially if you’re sharing the space with peer who may also be trying to make an impact, you need to think about how you can still make a positive impact in a way that sets you apart from the other people who might be working the room.





Put On a Show

You’ve seen people who garner the attention of a room by putting on a show of sorts, multiplying their networking efforts by turning their interaction with one person (or a few people) into a spectacle that causes others in the room to break from the conversation and look to see what’s happening over there. While this kind of theatrics might require a certain level of self-confidence, with a little practice, you might think of ways you could turn an impromptu demonstration into a method of getting people to wonder who you are and what you are doing.

Make Things Happen

Think about accepting opportunities, or volunteering, to take an active role in putting something together, like a group function or event. If the even or function is a success, then you will be recognized as the go-getter who gets things done and makes things happen. This is excellent public relations (PR) for which you can humbly accept the praise for a job well done on the behalf of others. This will definitely make an impact and you will be remembered for your efforts.


Dress Appropriately

Looking good and fashion appropriate for any event can help gain the approval of others when you walk in the door while schmoozing with the folks at any event. Try not to over-dress for the event because you don’t want to appear to be snooty. And even though under-dressing might make you stand out, the effect might not be what you’re looking for, and it can make it harder for you to gain the confidence of your audience if you’re inappropriately attired.

After all, ZZ Top said it best,

Every girl’s crazy for a sharp-dressed man.


Who Do You Know?

Think about who you know, how have they made an impact on your life? Think about emulating the techniques used by the people whom you respect. You don’t have to parrot their persona or hypnotize yourself to act like that person. Simply note how they interact with other people and see if you ca add some of those attributes into your character.

You Are One-of-a-Kind

There’s no one else on this planet who is just like you, so celebrate your unique characteristics and maybe think of a way to let your individuality shine through without overshadowing others. People will love you if you can come across as a real person who is authentically unique and self-confident with humility and grace, always leaving a good impression and making an impact.

10 Seconds to Trustworthiness

When you meet someone for the first time, or are just getting to know someone, they have created an image of you in their mind’s eye about whether you can be trusted or not. Whether it’s a social engagement, casual meeting, job interview, meeting a potential client, sales meeting or a potentially romantic date, you have only 10 seconds to communicate your trustworthiness.

Set the Stage

In setting the stage, you’ve taken into consideration your intention. Ask yourself, “What do I want to achieve?” and set your mind on the intended result that will lead to supporting your highest and best as well as that of any person you meet. To communicate trust you must quickly convey you are authentically open and honest, possess humility and are not selfish or conceited.

Being in tune with your intention sets your vibration and being in touch with your vibration will attract others with a similar vibration, or raise the vibration of the person or people that you meet to match your vibration. This is where true communication (or communion) takes place, but you only have 10 seconds to establish tone. Sow set yours in advance and consider also

Accessories and Attire

I know much is said about high fashion accessories and apparel that communicate confidence, compel followers to be attracted to you and increase sales.

This is a sensitive area. While the fashion industry would like you to believe that your expensive watch, designer clothes, shoes and bag will make you the toast of the town, it may also create a negative emotion in someone you might be trying to connect with in an authentic manner.

The higher your intention for connection, the more conservative your appearance (clothing and accessories) should be, if you want to be trusted. Try to match your overall look with the vibration of your intention, especially if you want to seem humble, approachable and trustworthy.

Too much bling is intimidating and may communicate selfishness or arrogance instead of trustworthiness at first blush.

Body Language

Be aware and conscious about how you communicate with your body. There are some things you can do that communicate openness and humility, like keeping your hands in a palms-up open position, keeping your shoulders down in a relaxed position, looking them in the eye but taking breaks so as not to seem like you’re staring them down and maintaining a mildly confident stance (avoid the hand on hips Superman pose).

If appropriate to greet with a handshake, firmly but gently (without a death grip) shake hands in with a vertical hand position, pump two to three times and disengage. Overdoing the handshake can put someone on the defensive.

Without going into detail about body language (which could consume a lifetime of study) avoid any stance, body motion or hand position which may put someone on the defensive if you want people to trust you. Consider being observant about others who do establish rapport and trust easily. You don’t have to hear what they are saying, just watch what they do. Consider video recording yourself. Watching your communication style from outside of your own experience may be an enlightening experience. We all could do better.

Be Attentive

Whatever it is, make it about the other person. Don’t put yourself on display or make this about you. Putting others first is the best way to establish a non-threatening position when making a first impression.

Quickly find something good to say about the person you are approaching (in the first 10 seconds) a genuine, well-intended and honest compliment can help instill camaraderie.

Be complimentary – but don’t overdo it – you want to seem nice, not manipulative.

Even if you’re in a room full of people at a networking event, for the brief moment(s) you are meeting someone, stay focused on him or her. Don’t be looking around the room for your next target, or checking your phone. Listen actively, don’t interrupt or try to show how smart or important you are. Leave them wanting more, save it for a later date.

Be willing to appear confident but honest and vulnerable.

You don’t have much time (10 seconds) to set the tone. If you are really the kind of person who can be trusted, you would like people to know this about you as soon as possible. A little thought and preparation can go a long way in communicating your trustworthiness and hopefully make an impact during your opportunity to leave behind a good first impression.