I’m trying to hone my ability at sizing someone up. My first impressions have been wrong often enough that I’ve been thinking…What questions can I ask and behaviors can I look for in the first 10 minutes of meeting someone to help me develop a baseline assessment of the person?
When I was in high school, I used to ask my friends what their parents did for a living. I was curious, sure, but it was also a litmus test: if somebody didn’t know what their daddy or mommy did for work, it signaled lack of caring about a basic force in their life. How else was food arriving on the table?!
Interestingly, whether someone blogs is also a good litmus test for me. When someone maintains a blog, it usually means their mind is cranking so quickly that they need one more outlet through which to channel that energy and express their thoughts. It usually means they’re engaged with the world and what’s happening. It usually means they like to write and believe in the idea-generation that comes from writing well. Yes, it probably means they’re a little self-involved and self-important, but I prefer that to someone who lacks self-confidence. In other words, I like people who have a "posture" in the world.
Asking someone about their politics is another litmus test. I don’t really care either way what someone’s views are (I’ll most likely respect them), but how they arrived at those views is important to me. Perhaps it will give insight into how they form beliefs in other parts of their life.
What other litmus tests do you use? Are there subtle questions you ask someone new that helps you understand them? I realize that the best way to improve your intuition is to accumulate lots of experiences (the more people one meets, the better one gets at discerning quality), but are there "micro-hacks" one can use to facilitate all this?