We recently published a list of 10 seemingly trivial behaviors that people use to make judgments about your personality.
But we hardly covered all the weird ways in which people evaluate you. Below, we’ve drawn 10 more items from the original Quora thread, “What are the really small things that tell a lot about a person’s psychology and personality?“, as well as from other research.
Read on to learn what captures people’s attention when you first meet them.
As we noted in the first article on this topic, try not to get self-conscious. Some of these points are a little out there. Just because some people are judging you by these measures doesn’t mean their judgments are accurate. Ultimately, it’s up to you to care that people may be drawing inferences about your personality based on how worn the soles of your shoes are – or not.
1. How clean and tidy you keep your home
A recent British study found that it takes just 26 seconds for visitors to make judgments about you based on the state of your home.
Apparently, people judge first with their nose: The scent of your home is the biggest factor in a positive impression. (Note that the study was sponsored by AirWick.)
Next is how cluttered the space is – people notice shoes and coats scattered about and piles of unopened mail.
2. Your selfie style
Research suggests that people will assume a lot about you based on your selfies.
Usually, those assumptions are inaccurate – for example, being alone in a photo does not mean you’re neurotic – but people are probably right to think that positive emotion in a selfie predicts openness to experience.
3. Your taste in music
The study found that people who listen to “reflective and complex” music tend to be open to new experiences and politically liberal. Those who listen to “upbeat and conventional” jams are generally extroverted and athletic.
- Rob Loud/Getty Images
4. Your favorite color
Quora user Shivani Jha has a theory on what your color of choice reveals about your personality. For example, if your favorite color is red, she assumes you desire physical fulfillment; if your favorite color is yellow, she thinks you need logical order and value individuality.
Industrial psychologist Bernardo Tirado, PMP, breaks it down slightly differently. Writing in Psychology Today, Tirado says red-lovers are tenacious and determined, while yellow-lovers enjoy learning and find happiness easily.
5. Whether you’re a dog or a cat person
“People who do not like cats have control issues,” writes one Quora user, who also advises readers to “avoid women who like big dogs (really big, like sheep dogs). They are often not looking for long-term relationships.”
Meanwhile, one study found that people who prefer dogs are generally more energetic and outgoing, while those who prefer cats tend to be more introverted and sensitive.
6. How worn your shoes are
Quora user Calvin Chik recommends checking out the soles of people’s shoes for clues to their personality:
“People who are less confident of themselves tend to lean forward more in their posture when standing or walking. They put more body weight on the balls of their feet, like getting ready to move fast.
“People who are self-confident tend to lean back more. They have a larger proportion of their body weight on their heels than at the front of their feet.
“Over time, their standing posture is reflected in the state of their shoes. A person who is perpetually walking on the balls of his feet would have the soles of his shoes more worn out at the front, while a more self-assured person may have the heels area worn out more.”
7. How you treat animals
According to Quora user Lorri Robinson, a person’s attitude toward animals reveals a lot about them.
“If someone has never met a stray they didn’t speak to or pet (if the animal approached them in a friendly manner), that person is going to be naturally friendly and open,” she writes.
- Flickr/University of Exeter
8. How long it takes you to ask a question
Even if someone doesn’t say anything about himself in conversation, you can still learn about his personality.
As one Quora user says: “When meeting someone for the first time … see how long it takes for them to ask you a question in return. You’d be surprised how much this reveals in terms of a person being a ‘giver’ or a ‘taker.’ It will help you distinguish between ‘people who like you’ and ‘people who like what you can provide them.'”
9. How well your clothes fit
For a 2013 study, researchers had people look for five seconds at faceless images of men in either a tailored suit or an off-the-peg one. Sure enough, participants rated men in the tailored suits as more confident, more successful, and a higher earner.
10. How you use your office or desk space
2014 research found that people make pretty consistent judgments about your personality based on your office setup.
For example, observers assume that conscientious people keep their office clean and and organized – and these assumptions are generally correct (meaning they line up with the people’s self-assessments and their peers’ assessments of them). Observers also guess that people who keep their offices decorated and cheerful are more extroverted, which is usually accurate.
Business Insider invited a psychologist to analyze some of our desks. Indeed, she said that an uncluttered desk was the sign of a conscientious personality and that clutter and color reflected extroversion – though not everyone agreed with her assessments.