If you ever want to know what a person values, just look at what they do. One doesn’t need to do a deep psycho-analysis to peer into their subconscious, just simple observations and making true statements.
Below are a few observational tips for discovering what a person values.
What Do They Actually Do?
If you’re trying to understand a person take a look at what the person physically do.
Do they talk often? (Ignore for a moment what they actually say) That probably means they enjoy talking.
Do they constantly clean and organize? They must value an organized living space.
Do they frequently make self deprecating statements? They must value high self-consciousness.
My Wife Christine Values Cooking and Lone Time
If you met my wife Christine very quickly you would find out that she values cooking. She cooks and prepares food every single day for breakfast, lunch and dinner for her family. If given a large list of activities that need to happen, if being in the kitchen is one of them, then that’s what she will choose.
The other is valuing her lone time. This kind of value, can be difficult to observe without getting to know the person. However, my wife is an introvert who is surrounded by a rambunctious family. As a result, she spends most of her day in the service of others and having to listen and respond to people. By the end of the day, once the children have been put to bed, you will find her huddled up on the couch reading a book. It turns out that’s what she would rather be doing than the many other activities in her life.
What Do They Say?
Trying to understand what a person values by what they say is a tricky endeavor. When people speak it is not uncommon for them to state what they want their public “persona” to be. When what they say does not match what they do, people often call this a “do say gap.” There is figuratively a gap between what they say and what they do.
However, that can even tell you much about them.
Even a say do gap will tell you what they believe you will value about them.
“That guy doesn’t know who he is missing with. If he would have said something back, I would have given it to him.”
This tough guy statement is made by many males to their friends. It isn’t to say that this is a say-do-gap but that this person values the idea of them being tough in a moment that they would need to be. This isn’t to say this person has courage, decisiveness, dependability or initiative (all valuable traits in the time of physical duress). It just says that this person values the idea of them being able to “handle it.”
Verbalized values, tend to be what we want others to believe about us.
It is rare that people will adopt beliefs about you based on what you say, versus what you do. However, it does give them insights into what we think we value about ourselves. If you value courageous people, saying so makes it plain to other people that you value courageous people. This in turn might make people a bit aware of times to be courageous. Whether or not they will be more of that, such as to “win your favor” is another story. The fastest way to get others to adopt values, is by exhibiting the behaviors of a person who much have those values.
Do you know the values of your friends, family and yourself?
Consider putting together a list of what everyone you know values. By calling conscious attention to this effort it will make you more effective with communicating with them. In the end, it will make you more able to earn and spend influence with them.