My mom had a knack for being able to assess a person’s character within a short period of time. She could know a person’s heart, know their motivations, and predict their behavior with almost pin point accuracy. I inherited this gift and I must say that it isn’t as neat as it sounds. In the end, she and I both spent the majority of our gift sorting out people’s flaws.
It is not through misanthropy or malice that I am (nor my mother was) more apt to see the “bad” in people. It is just the fact that negative traits are easier to pick up on since they are more irritating. It is much the same way a squirrel may sense a hungry wolf is nearby. It is for this reason that my “gift” can make me a bit squirrely (pardon the pun).
This “gift” can be burdensome at times as it makes the people I am surrounded by woefully predictable. I am not asserting anything about the intelligence either of myself or those around me. It is a skill much like how I also play guitar or how my brother is better at sports than I am. That being said, I can accurately predict when a person may behave a certain way given certain cue. For example, I was recently able to predict verbatim the words a certain person would use by simply asking about whether or not this person was going to see a certain movie. (I removed the names of the person and the movie as this is a psychological piece and not a harang aimed at a certain individual). The remark the person used, of course, was disparaging and negative.
This “gift” has its uses as a sort of distant early warning. As a guidance counselor, I can tell the type of person a new student is by spending a few minutes with them. While I have pegged one or two students incorrectly, my intuition is right most of the time. I can then make suggestions to my coworkers as to how to approach the student.
My “gift” is not an exact science. It doesn’t have 100% accuracy. More like somewhere between 85% and 95%. It is a present surprise some times when I am wrong on my prediction. When I have predicted a person would be mean and they end up being nice…it is always a pleasant shock. But it is always very annoying when I am right about predicting the behavior of an overly negative or even poisonous individual. One might think that the “gift” might give me the upper hand. After all, foresight was a key ingredient for victory in all of histories battles. The problem is that I am often armed with inferior weaponry. This is to say, I may know what the person may say ahead of time, but even if I prepare my words, it seldom proves useful. The best thing I can do is just roll my eyes and go on about my business.