15 Simple Psychological Tips to Improve Your People-Reading Skills


Have you ever wished you could understand what people think and feel? Reading people can be a valuable asset in all aspects of life. It helps you handle social situations, build solid relationships, and excel in your career. While mind-reading might be fiction, psychology offers a powerful toolkit for becoming a keen observer of human behavior. Through these 15 psychological tips, you can read people better!

Listen Beyond Words

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While the content of what someone says is important, how they say it can be further revealing. Notice if their speech becomes faster or slower when discussing a particular topic. Does their voice tremble or crack? A shaky voice can indicate nervousness or trying to hold back an emotion. Pay attention to volume changes as well. Someone who suddenly gets loud may be attempting to mask insecurity or emphasize a point.

Mind the Match


Does what someone says align with their body language? Inconsistencies can be a red flag. For instance, verbally expressing excitement while fidgeting with their clothes or avoiding eye contact may hide underlying reservations.

Catch the Contradictions


Notice if someone contradicts themselves or uses vague language when discussing sensitive topics. People are likelier to be clear and direct when they’re truthful. Vague statements or backtracking on previous claims can point to them trying to hide something.

Master the Microexpressions

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Facial expressions that last less than a second can reveal genuine emotions that an individual may conceal with a forced smile. These microexpressions are fleeting, so training yourself to recognize them takes practice. You can find resources online or through workshops to learn about different microexpressions and their associated emotions.

Eyes Don’t Lie (Usually)


Increased blinking can be a sign of nervousness or anxiety. Dilated pupils can indicate heightened interest or arousal. Gaze aversion, where someone looks away frequently, can also suggest discomfort or trying to avoid eye contact due to lying.

Posture Power

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Our posture communicates a lot. Hunched shoulders or crossed arms can signal that someone feels defensive, closed-off, or uncomfortable. An open posture with uncrossed arms and relaxed shoulders suggests receptiveness and willingness to listen.

Baseline Matters


To effectively detect deception, establish a person’s usual conduct when truthful. This way, you can identify deviations from their baseline that can indicate they’re lying. Pay attention to their normal speech patterns, body language, and emotional responses in everyday situations.

Beware Information Overload


Liars often try to appear convincing by providing excessive details or unnecessary embellishments to their stories. Listen for information that seems irrelevant. A truthful account is usually more concise and sticks to the core facts

Context is King

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Don’t judge an individual’s behavior in isolation. Consider their circumstance. Are they presenting in front of a large audience, which may naturally make them nervous (increasing blink rate)? Understanding the context helps you interpret their nonverbal cues more accurately.

Don’t Fall for Flattery

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Flattery can be intoxicating, making us feel seen and appreciated. But sometimes, excess of it can be a smokescreen. People can use it to manipulate you, gain your trust, or get something they want. Be cautious when someone showers you with compliments that feel inauthentic or out of the blue. Trust your gut.

Focus on Consistency


People’s true nature is often revealed through consistency. How they behave in different circumstances and across time can be more telling than a single interaction. Does their kindness extend beyond moments when they need something? Does their frustration manifest in similar ways across situations? Look for patterns in their behavior to understand who they are better.

Calibrate Your Expectations


Not everyone is an open book. Some people are naturally reserved or guarded, so calibrate your expectations based on the circumstance and the person you’re interacting with. Attempting to decipher the deepest emotions of a casual acquaintance may be unrealistic. Instead, focus on the available information and avoid making assumptions about what you can’t see.

Observe Social Circles


The company we keep can be very revealing. Who someone chooses to associate with can tell you much about their values, interests, and communication style. Do they surround themselves with positive and supportive people? Do they engage in friendly banter or heated arguments within their social circle? Observing how an individual interacts with others can offer valuable insights into their character.

Consider Cultural Backgrounds

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Nonverbal cues and communication styles can vary significantly across cultures. A direct gaze that may signal confidence in one culture could be seen as rude or disrespectful in another. Avoid misinterpreting someone’s conduct by being mindful of their cultural background. Research common nonverbal cues in their culture to get a more accurate understanding of their body language.

Be Mindful of Your Biases


Our biases, though unconscious, can cloud our judgment. Maybe you tend to distrust overly talkative people or find quiet people intimidating. Be aware of your biases and how they may influence your perception of others. Try to approach each interaction with an open mind and objectively observe the person before you.


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