Too often I see people being misunderstood and mis-categorized. Like when someone says they’re outdoorsy, and they really mean they enjoy drinking outside while playing kickball/softball/bocce. The difference between the two can be like comparing apples to bacon. They’re not even in the same food group. In dating, in life, at work and elsewhere, these four commonly mistaken traits can mean the difference between dating an exciting, fun-loving person or the personification of doldrums. A mild-mannered man or a coward. It can mean the difference between getting a promotion or being a joke in the office. A slut or a lady.
1. Open-minded vs Indecisive. An open-minded person allows themselves to experience things new and strange with little or no reservations. They respect and accept your opinions while having their own. They’re often fun to be around because they’re up for anything; your idea is as good as theirs. An indecisive person has no opinions.
How to tell the difference: An open-minded person will be enthusiastic and inquisitive when confronted with a choice or an unfamiliar subject. While with an indecisive, the phrase most often used is “I don’t care.”
2. Non-confrontational vs Weak. I once had someone call me out for walking away from a post-drink political debate. I was essentially accused of being weak-minded and bourgeoisie. I still walked away. Being non-confrontational isn’t about weakness or insecurity. A non-confrontational person knows that 99% of arguments are inconsequential. Does winning this argument make their life or their opponent’s life better? The answer is probably no. Very rarely are we lucky enough to change someone’s opinion; people have to do that on their own. For non-confrontational person, fighting (verbally or physically) or protesting is only worth doing when their principles are in danger of compromise or if there’s a greater good. A weak person doesn’t has a voice.
How to tell the difference: A non-confrontational person voices their opinions when prompted and/or warranted. They’ll listen to you. A weak person, too, will listen to you; however, when they’re done, they’ll just agree with you regardless of merit and veracity.
3. Assertive vs Demanding. Being assertive can get you places, whether you’re trying to get attention from a bartender or going after a promotion at work. An assertive person demands with respect. They have principles by which they stand firmly and from which they rarely budge. They ask for realistic things, and often, hold themselves to higher standards than those around them. A demanding person asks for unrealistic things that benefit only themselves. They need things that they want, usually, of things with little to no consequences.
How to tell the difference: An assertive person never condescends while asking things from you. When they ask for things, you know that it’ll benefit more than just them, no matter how difficult the task. A demanding person makes you feel like shit.
4. Flirty vs Promiscuous. Both of men and women can be victims of this misconstruing. Being flirty is about confidence; the confidence of the person flirting with you and the confidence you get from someone flirting with you. And it rarely goes beyond that unless something intangible actually happens during your quippy exchanges. With a promiscuous person, you can tell by the third drink, whether or not this person will be naked in your bed in the next three hours.
How to tell the difference: A flirty person compliments you. A promiscuous person wants you to compliment them and will do anything to make sure that you have no choice but to compliment them. The line between the two is hard to distinguish at times becomes it depends on the state of my someone is in at the time. To put it simply: just because you were ho once doesn’t mean you’re always ho.
When I was younger, I used to say that I was just a flirty guy when, in reality, I was someone trying* (*the operative word here) to be a promiscuous person. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become more self-aware and less sugar-coating of my shortcomings. And just by being aware, I’ve changed certain things about me. I no longer think I’m apple when what I really am is bacon.
So, which one did you think you were? Do you have any other commonly mistaken personality traits?
- Eric Wang