What Do You Wish People Knew About You?

Suppose you make a new acquaintance at a social gathering. What is the one thing you would like that person to understand about you? Is there some essential bit of information that defines you as a person?

Maybe it is your chosen profession, or a particular hobby you enjoy. Maybe you feel you are defined by your belief on some topic, or your political leanings. Some people seem to think their musical tastes, or the movies they enjoy, is important to understanding who they are.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘What makes you you?’ We also discuss another question as well, ‘What gives a person value?’


Similarly, even people who have known you for a long time may not know the real you. Do you ever feel as if there is a facet of your personality hidden from your friends and family? That there is something you know about yourself that others don’t seem to understand?

If you could control how others saw you, what would you choose to emphasize? What do you wish people knew about you?

Related questions: Why do we care what strangers think of us? How does creative expression help us to know ourselves better? How do you think others see you?

Can Vulnerability Be Strength?

No one likes to appear weak. Oftentimes, we perceive vulnerability as weakness. But can it actually be strength?

Appearing vulnerable means, necessarily, displaying a shortcoming of some sort. That, in turn, means showing some sort of weakness. That would seem to be a bad thing.

But might there be a hidden benefit to appearing vulnerable, and therefore weak? What might those benefits be?


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the question ‘What belief do you have that might be wrong?’ Stay tuned for a bonus question, ‘What makes a place feel like home?’


Alternately, it might be best never to show your vulnerabilities. Is that even possible? Or desirable?

Can you think of situations or instances where revealing a weakness might be a good thing? Can vulnerability be strength? When might that be? What risks might there be?

Related questions: When is a lie justified? When is it useful to fail? What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? What is uncomfortable but rewarding?

What Five Ideals Are Most Important To You?

Do you know the ideals, roles, or things in your life that are the most important to you? Could you list them?

Knowing these things can help you in many ways. When faced with an important decision, having previously thought of your core values and ideals can make the choice more clear. Applying for jobs, making friends, or choosing a spouse can be made easier with your ideals to guide you.

Making a list, and even discussing that list with friends and loved ones, can be very valuable. Many of us, perhaps even most of us, may have some unspoken idea about what matters to us. However, writing them down, or speaking them aloud, can be an eye-opening experience.

Life is complicated, and so are we. As such, having just one, or even two, ideals that you want to embody is probably not sufficient. It might be helpful to think of as many as you can, but let’s start with five.

This exercise can also be aspirational. What would you like to be, even if you aren’t there yet? What would an idealized version of you be like? Once you know what that is, you can brainstorm ways you might get there.

Of course, these ideals or roles may change over time. For example, when in school, it might be important to you to do all your homework, or to get good grades. Once married, being a supportive partner might rise in importance. It’s only natural that what mattered most to you ten years ago might not bear much resemblance to what is important to you today.

But then again, there may be some things that retain their importance over long stretches of time. Being honest, perhaps. Or always giving your best effort. Standing up against injustice. Remaining true to yourself.

What is your list of five ideals that are most important to you?

Related questions: What is important? How have you changed? Do you keep lists?

Nouns Or Verbs?

When using language, what’s more important to you? Nouns — people, places, things; or verbs — an action, state, or occurrence?

Share why if you wish.

Nouns Or Verbs?