“The mistake ninety-nine percent of humanity made, as far as Fats could see, were being ashamed of what they were, lying about it, trying to be somebody else. Honesty was Fats’ currency, his weapon and defense. It frightened people when you were honest; it shocked them. Other people, Fats had discovered, were mired in embarrasment and pretense, terrified that their truths might leak out, but Fats was attracted by rawness, by everything that was ugly but honest, by the dirty things about which the likes of his father felt humiliated and disgusted. Fats thought a lot about messiahs and pariahs; about men labeled mad or criminal; noble misfits shunned by the sleepy masses.” – J.K. Rowling, The Casual Vacancy
“It is the nature, and the advantage, of strong people that they can bring out the crucial questions and form a clear opinion about them” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Ability to ‘extract’ the essence out of any statement, conversation or question. It requires you to see beyond the superficial level, so to dig into the core meaning, the exact place where your opinions should be formed. It all comes down to effectively paying attention and using what you’ve heard. It is the insider knowledge of the listener.
Combined with observance, basic knowledge of body language, and some level of emotional maturity, you are armed with a perfect control tool. I may actually know exactly what you mean, but choose to pretend otherwise so to give you a free hand in deciding in which direction our conversation is going.
This ‘control span’ ensures that you are rarely surprised in life, rather consciously exploring what constitutes the very first knot of trust and how distinctive threads are formed in the web of interpersonal relations.
And the first knot? You like any person who shows you some portion of attention; those who are not needy nor desperate, so when they pay attention to you, you actually know that this attention matters. It seems to be something special. They ask well-thought questions, often ask why, and often seek explanation of your choices. Seems like they have chosen you on the basis of who you are, not because they planned to become friends with just anyone.