8 Things I’ve Learned About Human Nature

I was recently asked a brilliant question on Quora.

Read the original post here.

The OP wanted to know some things I’ve learned about human nature so far. While it wasn’t specifically my opinion required and more of a general wondering, it certainly gave me lots to chew over and I hope the answer interested them as much as it did me.

Questions like these always attract my attention because people are endlessly fascinating.

And hey, who doesn’t appreciate a well-crafted listicle?

So here, slightly repurposed to fit the blog, are 8 things I’ve learned about human nature, in my time on this planet.

Please note, the original post did not ask for scientifically proven facts, so the following is based entirely on personal experience and contains no sexy stats.

1. Believe Your Eyes

The first time a person displays their true colours, you should believe them!

Not especially groundbreaking but oh so true.

We’ve all been the person lamenting the warning signs we missed at the beginning of a relationship, be it platonic or otherwise.

Who doesn’t love the exciting golden phase as you begin to truly connect with a like-minded soul? It’s only natural that this is also prime self-deception territory as your respective guards are lowering.

Everyone you meet will have a shadow self, it’s just about recognising it when you see it and knowing if you can accept its presence.

2. Empathy Defuses Rage

The quickest way to defuse another person’s rage in the moment is to empathise with them.

As told to me on my first day at the OLC as a trainee member of the IAG team, and yes, it saved my arse on more than one occasion.

Ultimately, what an angry person wants the most is to be heard; bonus points if you’re able to validate their feelings into the bargain. You don’t have to accept responsibility for the upset, you just have to show them they are justified in feeling the way they do. This technique also works incredibly well if you want a defensive person to open up about something.

3. Change Is Not Inevitable

People rarely change, they just get better at managing their quirks.

That’s not to say they can’t, more that they don’t.

Bringing about effective change requires strenuous personal commitment, even for the most dedicated among us. The majority of people are happy to surround themselves with a crew who are accepting of them, rather than attempt a radical personality overhaul.

4. Conscience Is Key

A person truly devoid of conscience is a dangerous individual to know.

This person navigates life unencumbered by the little voice inside that questions ‘hold up, should we actually be doing this?’

While empathy is not an apple that grows in everyone’s orchard, the majority of humans allow themselves to be constrained by societal norms and fear of recrimination for their acts at the very least. Absent these characteristics and you have a remorseless, self-serving, and ruthless individual on your hands.

If you’re a fan of the listicle, check out my 10 First Date Red Flags

5. The Power of The Horn

Never under-estimate the lows a person will sink to when sex is involved.

Think of the worst crime you can imagine and somewhere in the chain of cause and effect will be a person driven by their basest desires. Lust is a powerful urge that many are unable to deny and is especially destructive when it accompanies a lack of conscience.

Enter the philanderer.

For a serial-cheater, the rush they experience from knowing somebody new finds them attractive trumps even the happiest relationship, but they will move heaven and earth to ensure they can have both.

Every. Single. Time.

6. Everybody Lies

Everybody lies, all the time, even you.

Mostly it’s just innocuous crap that makes you look good and doesn’t hurt anyone else. An embellishment here, an exaggeration there; it’s the seasoning we pepper our conversation with as part of the human condition.

The majority of people are bad at detecting deception because they tend to form a picture of someone and disregard anything that doesn’t fit the perceived narrative. Try adjusting the picture as new information comes in.

7. Non-Verbal Cues Trump Words

If you want the truth, stop listening and start watching.

You will always get closer to the truth by examining the spaces between a person’s words than by focusing on what they say.

Non-verbal cues are everything and if you know the person well enough to be able to spot a deviance from their baseline behaviour, then you’re winning. If you’re not sure of your stuff, I highly recommend a spell of people-watching. The facial expression of the person who thinks they are unobserved can and will speak volumes about the situation at play.

8. Cheats Rarely Prosper

If they cheated for you, they can cheat on you.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re a special case and the infidelity chain stops with you. There’s no law to say it won’t, but complacency is not your friend when you’re in love with a potential philanderer. There’s nothing inherently ‘wrong’ with falling for a non-single person, it’s how you both handle it that counts.

The wise partner remembers all the tricks that were used against the ex in their own duplicity; the foolish partner recycles them.

I’d be fascinated to hear what experience has taught you about human nature. Drop a comment below or visit me on Quora.