It turns out, though, that this is not the case. Psychologists and researchers have come up with many personality archetypes that seem to fit most people at the primary level. People might have different ways of saying things or expressing themselves. Still, at their core, certain groups are very similar to each other.
This point isn’t just a matter of scientific interest, though - it can also make a massive difference to your life. The better you understand the fundamental emotions of the people around you, the better your relationships will be.
The Enneagram test provides insights into what makes other people tick. It’s mostly a series of questions that people can answer that tell you how they’re put together. You can take the insights and get a feel for why they do what they do. It tells you what’s driving their behaviors at the fundamental level. And it shows you how they’re different from you.
So what should you do to understand the people you love better?
Try To Discover Your Blind Spots
We like to think of ourselves in favorable terms. We tell ourselves that we are a person who has empathy and understanding to comprehend the people around us fully.
Unfortunately, though, we all have blind spots - parts of our thinking that we don’t share with others. People who are prospecting (feeling their way through life) might not understand the motivations of planners. Similarly, those who want to engage in social interactions all the time might not understand the desires of introverts.
If you want to understand people better, you must have an appreciation of your blind spots - the areas of your personality that you take for granted. Once you have a better feel for these, you’ll be better positioned to listen to other people.
Make Listening An Active Skill
Listening isn’t something you do passively. It is an active skill - at least according to the best listeners on the planet. They don’t just wait for somebody to finish talking so that they can speak. Instead, they mull over what they say and then meditate on it afterward. Their goal is to get to the core of the person - their authentic self - so that they can understand it. Knowledge of the other person becomes the aim.
Knowing that other people will necessarily have different points of view from you is essential. People construct their beliefs of the world in different ways, and so they will inevitably veer towards certain viewpoints. A lot of political opinions, for example, are based on temperament, not persuasive arguments. The reason somebody might support a particular candidate for president probably has more to do with their character than rational arguments.
So how well do you understand the people you love? Getting to know them better is usually just a matter of listening to what they say and thinking about it in relation to their personality type.