When you’re interacting with other people socially, there’s one question you might be asked, or indeed you might want to ask someone else, that can reveal a lot about someone’s personality. I wonder if you can guess what it is.

The question is quite simple it’s asking someone what they think about someone else – the positive or negative personality traits of another person.

Imagine you’ve been asked “that new guy in marketing, what do you think of him?” or the new girl in accounts “Have you met her yet, what do you think of her?” When we tend to describe other people psychologists have found (and I’m focusing on a specific study from 2010 from psychologists in the USA) that we generally see in other people the traits of ourselves. So this research found that when people were seeing the positives in other people they were generally happier with their lives, they were generally more generous.

And yet when people’s answer was “oh I don’t like him… I don’t like her” actually they were tending to reflect a lot of their own negative personality type.

So be aware when you’re asked in this social situation to describe someone else it’s really useful and important to be as positive as possible if you want to be seen as positive yourself.

Links to the research will be on the website and if you’re interested and want to learn more about meetology, the behavioural science powering world-class people skills, head over to meetology.com and sign up to get these Meetology Minutes every week .

I’ll be back in seven days with another Meetology Minute,

Until then, take care,


Jonathan Bradshaw
The Meetology® Lab


Wood, Dustin, Peter Harms, and Simine Vazire. “Perceiver effects as projective tests: What your perceptions of others say about you.” Journal of Personality and Social psychology 99.1 (2010): 174.