How Do You Know if You Really Know Someone?

Getting to know another person definitely takes time, but it is easy to feel like you know someone much sooner. You may spend an entire week with someone and talk a lot — but does that mean you really know them?  Also, you may spend months emailing, communicating through Facebook or Instagram, or talking on the phone — but how do you really know if this person is who you think she is?  These are all ways to get to know someone, but only if you know what things to look for and how to see them.

Which things should you learn about a person? People are complex: full of stories, personalities, pasts, and hopes for the future. After years of research, Dr. John Van Epp, author of How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk, narrowed down the complexity and developed the following acronym for what to learn about a person: FACES — Family background, Actions and attitudes of the conscience, Compatibility, Examples of past relationships, and skills (in a relationship). Each of these really need their own article to understand in greater detail, so we’ll look at them in depth later.

Suffice it to say that some characteristics are easier to identify than others. Compatibility, for example, tends to become naturally clear. But how do we discover the hidden things?  John Van Epp presents another formula in the same book:  T+T+T=Know. The three T’s are Time, Talk, and Togetherness. Patience, asking good questions, truly listening, and spending time  together in a variety of circumstances that allow you to observe the other person will give you the best platform for getting to know him or her. Often people only use one or two of the T’s and are surprised to find out months later that they didn’t really know someone like they thought.