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The personality audit: should we ask friends for their brutally honest feedback on our flaws?

The personality audit: should we ask friends for their brutally honest feedback on our flaws?

Name: Personality audit.

Age: People have worried about what other people think about them since the beginning of time.

Even more so since the beginning of the internet and social media. How do you see me, incidentally? Great. Inquisitive, certainly.

That’s my job. I mean what about my personality? Erm, are you sure you really want to know?

Yes! I’m bright, warm and fun to be around, right? Well …

Hang on, are you saying there could be a gap between how people (me, for example) see themselves and how others (you, for example) see them? It is possible.

But even if it wasn’t all five-star rave reviews, it would be useful to know how others see you (me), wouldn’t it? I guess, but there are different ways of going about it.

What, other than doing what I did: coming straight out and asking? A recent Slate article focuses on a woman who was worried there might be a gap in how others saw her and what she saw in the mirror, so she drew up a survey.

Like a kind of personality audit? Exactly that, for her friends and family. It asked them to describe their first impressions of her, to characterise her voice, tone and body language, as well as asking them how she could “best show affection” to them.

And? Sure enough there was a disconnect. While she saw herself as bubbly and over the top, some of the replies called her reserved, guarded and avoidant. One said she was “coiled like a snake”.

Ouch! Yes, but she wanted to know. And going about finding out that way is probably a good way of doing it.

How so? Well it’s almost certainly easier to take when it’s presented like that – a bit formalised, in a survey. Easier than your best mate saying it straight to your face.

Yes, I can see that. Also, unless they were very cross with you or you were having a blazing row, they probably wouldn’t give it to you straight – in order to protect you and not destroy the relationship.

Hmm. So I need to draw up a questionnaire? Or there are websites available. Admonymous, for example, allows you to either admire or admonish your colleagues. Anonymously.

I guessed that, the anonymous bit. And that’s why I would call you “sharp” in any questionnaire you sent me.

Do say: “Be honest, what do you really think?”

Don’t say: “You’re going to need a thick skin – but that shouldn’t be a problem for you …”

Source: theguardian.com