How are we really perceived?

I was at a gathering today of some friends and neighbours where a discussion took place about people and their behaviour towards each other.

One of the things being discussed was how our behaviour becomes so normal and predictable that family and friends know exactly how you are going to react or behave before you even say or do anything.

What was also said during this discussion was how they can better tell us about ourselves than we can. Meaning we think we are acting one way yet we are perceived a completely different way.

To be quite honest it’s true.  Many a time we are accused of being a certain way, doing a certain thing or reacting a certain way. When we are adamant it’s not true and we meant the opposite. I find myself in this position loads of time where I am having to make myself very clear that this is what I meant and not this.

Is it because people have already made up their minds about us from previous reactions and behaviours?

Or is it because we aren’t making ourselves understood very well?

Does that mean our communication skills are lacking?

Then the question arises do we really care what others think?

Well it does matter if we are being perceived wrong. It’s our own image that has been taken out of our hands and being decided on with us not even realising it.

How often have you had someone say to you… you said this.. and you have replied “yes I did say that but this is what I meant”. Before you realise it you have been completely misunderstood.

The lesson in this discussion was that we should always be aware of what sort of persona we are giving of and how we are being perceived. We should be clear in what we are meaning and saying especially in first impressions because that is what stays in a person’s mind whom you meet for the first time. Even a smile and handshake has a big impact on what you think of someone and apparently we don’t even realise this half the time.

When we touched upon smiles many of the people there agreed that there are so many different types of smiles that some make you feel warmer to some people and some make you turn away.

I know we are aware of these things but actually hearing it in a discussion certainly opened my eyes to a lot of things today. No, I’m not going to go for a complete personality transplant ( that would be one helluva job seeing how big mines is) but I will definitely be looking at others more carefully and will try to at least make sure I’m making myself clearer where it matters and better understood.

36 responses to “How are we really perceived?

  1. No wonder people think I’m some evil, bitter b*tch! I must have given them the wrong impression.

    All jokes aside, great post Aneesa and well written too. Yes, we should always be mindful of how we are portraying ourselves in order to not be misunderstood. You are also absolutely correct about how our family members and friends can anticipate our reaction.

    • I think you are one of the sweetest people I have ever met😛 and that’s the impression you give me.🙂

      Who would know us better than our family and friends… what was said at this gathering that they know us better than even we know ourselves… how true!

  2. Lol people perceive me as rude, arrogant, smart and not caring… they perceive correctly!😛 And actually a lot of times we hear what we wanted to hear and just mold words of the other person to our own will which leads to misunderstandings…

    • Devil you are perceived that way because that is what you want but deep down you I bet are totally different😛

      It is true we do only listen to parts of a conversation and let only register what we want to and the rest we ignore and very often we don’t even do it deliberately. it just happens. Yeah I see your point.

  3. I’ve been rolling this topic/question around in my head for years. When I was in school I wanted to do a paper on it and now I still want to write a blog about it. I think it’s fascinating. People seem to have VERY different impressions about me and I often wonder why. I know that their impressions say more about them than me, but shouldn’t there be some consistancy?
    Great post!

    • Hi Christine and glad to see you here.🙂

      This is what I mean are we not presenting ourselves well then? Or is there a lack of communication between us?

      Could it be that people look for underlying meanings in everything we say or do, like for instance second guessing?

  4. Very nice piece. See as far as I am concerned, reality is relative. when communicating with someone, how they decide (yes I said decide) to interpret what we say and how we say it that in a sense matters. We are the once that set meanings to things and the interesting part is that the meanings we set are often based on out own personalities. Because I think often times we are trying to fill gaps in our perception of a conversation. So If we are the pessimistic type, we often fill those gaps with negative meanings, if we are the positive type we fill them with positive meaning. I think the best way of communicating (in important matters anyway) as to do so where there as few gaps left to fill as possible. But on the other hand I also think in parts people get to know out nature so they can forsee reactions as well to a certain degree.

    For me, when I am talking and someone asks me a question, I often ask one back, it being “why are you asking THIS question” because I would much rather answer the reason for the question then the question itself.

    But how much I invest in a conversation is up to how important I find the topic and the person I am talking to

    • True say… I often find when you ask someone why are you asking this they think you are being rude or take offence that you want clarification. But it is better to sure before answering.

      Once a friend asked me “Why do you answer every question with a question?”

      Well it is better to know why and the motive and reason behind certain questions. As some people do have a habit of looking for meanings in your answers that may not be there.

      You covered conversations but what about behaviour?

    • Well behavior is an intresting topic as well, though it is not seperate from conversation is 70% of whatw e communicate is through our bodies. as with conversation if you get insight into why YOU behave as you do, then it is “easy” to see why people behave the way they do. But behavious in the same manner as conversation can be missunderstodd. I LOVE oberserving peoples behaviour and decoding it (call it a hobby) and you can often see what people are about, what they have been through and what makes them tick by observing behaviour.

    • As they say actions speak louder than words… body language always tells you way more than what a long drawn out conversation does. Well said.🙂

    • Thanks Hook… When I first started blogging I never really thought about what I was going to blog about but as time has gone on it has got more and more personal and also sometimes deeper in thoughts.

      It’s great getting everyone perspective on things and sometimes it helps too.

  5. Great and insightful post that stimulates thinking about self and how we think of others. I worked for a guy who believed that it is “more important to be perceived as good, than to be good.” … well, he meant good in terms of job performance .. but I don’t agree.

    Back to your post – we have to be in touch about ourselves so we can successfully interact with others. After all, self reflection is a powerful tool – always has, and always will be.

    BTW – …. see … I returned!🙂

    • “more important to be perceived as good, than to be good.” Sounds like the devil at work here… lol

      Sometimes things are said that make you stop for a little bit and start thinking… and this group discussion was quite interesting to say the least.. just thought i would share with you all and see what my fellow bloggers thought… If we don’t know or understand ourselves how can others..

      BTW… it’s great to see you back😛

      • “Sounds like the devil at work” … my thoughts too. Every time I think of that quote, I shake my head in disgust to think that someone in a high leadership position said it.

  6. I get you. It’s important to not keep a facade and act completely transparently. I know from experience that it’s simply better to be honest. I’m kind of a strong person, personality-wise. i know who I want to associate with(nice people, not necessarily like me, but good people) and who I want to just be on greeting terms with (fakers).
    But the whole being clear thing is really hard if you’re talking with a person in a language other than English. I have comparatively crappy Urdu, so when I go back to the homeland during summers, I have a hard time not sounding stupid. It’s so hard to be eloquent in a language that’s as limited as Urdu. NO one speaks it properly, not even the people there. None of my cousins can count in urdu. Which is stupid since I’m sure they have ample opportunity to learn something so trivial while living there.
    Long comment, sorry. But its a complicated thing, getting your idea across without it being misinterpreted/lost in translation

    • I totally get you and no comment can be too long.. especially if you are replying to me…

      Urdu is a language that is never spoken perfectly or properly… there are so many variations… so I wouldn’t worry about it terribly… also they dont expect foreigners to speak it anyway😛

      I fell out with a friend once because she was foreign and I commented on her hair and she totally took it the wrong way. the language barrier was too much. Even when I tried to explain what I meant she just wouldn’t believe me. Because I am the sort of person that laughs and jokes about everything she thought I was making fun of her. That was her perception of me that I would not compliment her seriously…

  7. Hi Aneesa,

    If you are a concious human being, then you will be interested in ensuring you express the right perception amongst others. If you are a politician, then you will have a very different angle on perception, because your job depends on it. You know how we all feel about politicians, regardless of how they might be in their “real life”. You also have to remember that if people have made up their minds about you, then you can do whatever you like, they won’t change their mind.

    For me, it’s all about the deeds you carry out, if you do good deeds, then no one can question your persona, no one.

    We are all judged by the deeds we carry out.

    Personally I don’t really care how people perceive me, you can’t please everyone, please the one’s who love you the most.

    • So do you think we should all think like poltics then?😛

      i agree that if people have made up their minds then that’s it .. you can move heaven or earth it wont matter.. what they know.. they know… but then sometimes people have decided you are a good person and no matter what they hear and what someone tells them … their opinion wont budge… so it can be a good thing too…

      It’s true the deeds we carry out will always speak for themselves… even long after we are gone.

  8. One can think about things too much though Aneesa, and second guessing oneself isn’t always the best way, I think that listening is good, thinking before speaking and guaging the person one is talking to is a benefit, but after all that, if the person is a tad negative, then he or she can misunderstand a conversation and be totally off centre, so even though one is thinking of their own approach, it is not always simple to read another peeps view…

    Well I hope you know what I am trying to say?🙂 lol All you can really do is be yourself, be true and just go with the flow my great friend, I mean some peeps can never grasp the basics of friendships anyway so don’t be blaming yourself it those peeps get the wrong end of the stick so to speak…

    Have a fine rest of weekend Aneesa🙂

    Androgoth XXx

    • I totally got what you were saying and meant… you always make sense to me O’Dark and wise one.

      I will not be worrying too much now after all these wonderfull comments… I’m really glad I did the post.. everyone has been so helpful…

      hugggzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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