How to Profile People

Three Parts:Getting the Basic IdeaGetting a Test SubjectEnhancing Your Knowledge

To understand the psychology of people about the way they behave and act, profiling is a key skill to learn. Pause the world around you and watch others. Many people travel to get from Point A to Point B, but have you really paid attention to them in greater detail? Seeing beyond what you see, so to speak.

Part 1
Getting the Basic Idea

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    Compare people to onions. Define four layers of an onion about a person's being. The deeper you get into the "onion" will determine how much you can read someone.
    • The skin: We, as people, show and reveal our personalities and traits towards others without even knowing it. It could be a simple conversation at the bus stop about the weather or other topics about lifestyle and the world around us.
    • Second layer: People whom we appreciate or get to know better, such as co-workers or classmates, rather than a random stranger, is now allowed to comprehend you better due to the comfort and trust between your relationship you have with them.
    • Third layer: Relationship bonds, such as best friends and marriages, create a "locked" sense of security between people. This layer is defined as presenting ourselves in ways where we connect on a personal basis, such as sharing secrets based on a trust factor, explaining fears and worries to another person, etc.
    • The core: Each person has a "core", where the thoughts and secrets aren't shared with anyone but oneself. This layer is more psychological rather than anything else, due to grasping onto the reality of something and the acceptance or failure to accept it.
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    Eliminate projection barriers around you. Prepare to accept the truth that is handed instead of forcing oneself to believe something that is not.
    • Many situations may result because of embarrassment, guilt, and insecurity that blind us from accepting life in a reality state.
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    Eliminate any prejudice when displaying yourself. Prejudice in psychology is far beyond race and gender. Acknowledge that prejudice is basing opinions on ideas without knowledge or facts. Keep yourself in a neutral state of mind before consuming your mind into false statements.

Part 2
Getting a Test Subject

  1. Image titled Profile People Step 04
    Analyze a person you know. Refrain from strangers, as you will need to observe them for some time. Suggestions include your significant other, co-worker, or friend.
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    Recognize their "baseline" profile. A baseline of a person is defined as their comfort zone or rest state.
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    Observe their behavior at random times. Make note on how they react to certain events, evaluate them on different days, and see how they interact.
    • All of us have different stress levels at work versus relaxing at home or if one holds a grudge against a specific person and acts completely different towards another.
  4. Image titled Profile People Step 07
    Brainstorm a list of patterns. Shape your list to structure the most common traits and acts the person has shown or done. These patterns of the person is the foundation to start knowing the truth or false being of them.
    • Different vocal tones (normal tone, excited, fear, defensive, etc)
    • Eye movements
    • Facial expressions
    • Body language (how they present themselves)
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    Concentrate on non-patterns. Draw a list of unexpected moments, behaviors, or ticks of this person that does not fit into their "baseline" profile.

Part 3
Enhancing Your Knowledge

  1. Image titled Profile People Step 09
    Define who they are. Allow their personal being, appearance, and styles become "them".
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    Recognize how they vocalize towards others. Soft toned vocalization might mean that they are shy beings, but also consider other environmental factors such as tiredness. Loud tones show the need to feel higher than others or to take command or charge of others.
    • Does their voice change when defending an opinion, or are they neutrally balanced?
    • Do they communicate with you in a mature or immature manner? This would give you a better sense of their highest completed education level and vocabulary knowledge.
    • Make sure you're aware and can differentiate between exaggerations, sarcasm, slang, and other verbal expressions used in a conversation. Watch the context flow of words being used, as it would signal to you if they have a good educational background or making themselves sound smarter than they really are.
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    Analyze their personal space. Relate their home and/or work life to how they present themselves towards the public view.
    • What kind of neighborhood do they live in? Low-income housing tends to tell people that they can afford to be on their own, with assistance versus a person in a known wealthy neighborhood placement.
    • Organization skills tell a great amount, but don't judge that quickly. If they follow a heavy life schedule, an unkempt home might be that they don't have the time to keep it clean, while someone whom does have the time might come off as the lazy type. Usually the more organized a person is and they are willing to show it in public, the more confident they are and not stressed in an array of situations.
    • How do they share their personal life with others? Many of us aren't secure in doing so in public view, however, if you walked into a business office, you are walking into that person's "comfort zone" at work. A lot of business workers (even doctors and psychologists) position pictures of their family on their desk. It can decipher to you that the person cares about their family and reminds the person of them every time they see it.
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    Review their fashion. Handle these judgments as you do with cars and homes. One can interpret on the person's organization skills on how they dress and present themselves.
    • Are their clothes tucked in or hanging casually loose? Are they suited for a business environment or casual vacation? Does it look professional or fitted for someone living in the outskirts?
    • What about their hairstyle? Does it look like they spent time on it or more of a simple "look in a mirror and quickly approve"? The "look and go" kinds of people may harvest an "as long as it looks halfway decent" personality than actually going through and seeing if it is the best they can do for a public appearance.
    • What kind of footwear do they have on? Do they take pride in having their shoes shined or do sandals have that last "wear and tear" to them?
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    Follow their reactions to sudden things in public. If they burp, do they make it conspicuous or do they try to conceal it? Burping, sneezing, and coughing in different ways can separate those whom exercise proper etiquette from the ones that don't.
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    Detect eye movements. Are they looking straight in your eye or off to the side? Do their eyes stray away when asked for an honest answer? Look what paths the eyes goes when detecting lies.
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    Evaluate their self-composure while around others. Some people tend to be nervous, especially in crowded areas, and think of any way they can to avoid being there.
    • Impatient people tend to tap their feet more at a stand-still position than relaxed individuals. They're also always fidgeting with something, such as lip biting, sighing, or looking at their watch/phone more than needed.


  • Profiling people is used in every day situations, from interviewing possible employees to playing poker.
  • People with disabilities such as autism and social anxiety may fidget more and avoid eye contact as part of their baseline behavior. Take this into account when observing them.

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