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What's the best way to know what other people really think of you?

In a very important way, whether you are fully conscious of this or not, you are already very aware of what other people think of you. In fact, your behavior in groups can be largely attributed to how others perceive you.

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2. Cooley created the concept of the "Looking Glass Self" at the beginning of the 20th century. The basic idea is that how you perceive yourself is a direct result of social influences. You view yourself not from an introspective, intimate point of view but rather through the lens of what you think others see.

The implications for people's behavior are profound.

A few examples below:

Have you ever marveled at how remarkably different some people become around different groups (friends, family, partners) or even had it pointed out to you? Groups with different behavior norms and expectations will cause you to shift your entire personality to fit into different groups (e.g. college student comes home for break and is a model child)

Teenagers are notoriously worried about what others thing of them. A consequence is that peer groups can exert enormous influence both explicitly and implicitly (new group members start unconsciously behaving in the manner expected by the group)

So if you really want to know what others think of you, examine your own behavior in different groups. What does your family think of you? What does your boyfriend/girlfriend think? Simply reflect on your behavior around these people and specifically how it changes from group to group.

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