READING PEOPLE: ONE skill travel has TAUGHT ME
Last Updated: 12/13/2017 | December 13th, 2017
Recently, I went out to a bar with my pal Nicole. I didn’t actually know her that well as we’d only met once before at a conference. When I found myself in her town, we made a decision to meet up. considering that we still didn’t know much about each other, we spent our time chatting and sharing stories. As so typically happens, she asked a barrage of questions about my life and travels, one of which touched upon this subject of being able to “read” people.
I was telling her, in action to a question about what skills I learned in my travels, that travel had greatly improved my ability to better read people and situations.
“Oh da? BINE. read my pals over there” she challenged me.
I proceeded to rattle off my opinions about her pals I had just met and the other people in the bar. I also shared my thoughts about her, based on nothing but facial expressions and posture and our brief conversation so far.
“Cum m-am făcut?” I asked when I was done.
“Wow,” she replied in shock.
While I can only guess if I was ideal about the people in the bar, she was surprised that I had pretty accurately guessed the personality of her and her friends. I didn’t know any of them that well but just through their actions and speech, I was able to figure out a lot about them. There were no parlor tricks involved or mind games. I simply read their body language, their dress, and how they conversed with me.
Why did I get those people at the bar right? Why can I always tell who will be the asshole and which ones I will take pleasure in talking to?
Because of travel.
After spending years on the road trying to communicate with non-English speakers, miming my needs, scrutinizing people’s facial expressions for emotions when words failed, seeing so lots of different people and personality types and enjoying how they interact, I learned how to pick up on clues and hints about how people express themselves.
Since so much of human interaction is non-verbal, when you are traveling around the world trying to communicate with people whose language you don’t speak, being able to read body language and expressions becomes very important.
And that is a skill, no matter how judgmental it may come off to some people, which will help you through life.
And it’s one any traveler can — and will — learn.
Travel teaches us and changes us in ways we never really realize.
But, after a conversation with delighted Hotelier, I realized that this is the one thing I can say I only learned from traveling. Yes, I have learned other life skills but this one thing — the ability to read people and situations — came solely from my travels.
When you travel, you can’t always understand what people are saying as a lot of travelers don’t speak English so non-verbal communication becomes really important. how people act, move, express emotion in their face, carry themselves, the tone in their voice — all of that can help you figure what the heck that Italian with three words of English is really trying to say to you. Or figure out how a person really feels about something by the way they are standing or looking.
The longer you travel, the a lot more you interact with various people, the better you get at this. It’s a skill. A lot of times saying you “read” people is checked out as something bad. It makes you seem like you are casting judgment on people ideal away. I don’t think that is true.
Knowing how to read people can help you figure out if that cab motorist is really “taking a shortcut” or if that shop owner is giving you the best price or if the people you just met at the hostel are being severe or funny with that joke they just said.
We project ourselves and how we feel during our interactions with others. I wouldn’t call someone a nervous person because they were anxious if they walked up to a girl or were meeting the new boss. But, in an everyday setting, if someone seemed anxious and nervous and jittery, wouldn’t you think they were a bit like that? could I be wrong? Poate. poate nu. normally not.
Traveling around the world has taught me a lot about how to read people and situations because you see so lots of different people in so lots of different interactions on a daily basis.
And if you travel, it’s one you’ll develop too. It’s a skill that I’ve found beneficial at home and abroad, one that has helped me navigate questionable situations and helped me break the ice when meeting new people. It’s been invaluable.
And it’s all because of travel.
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