What Don’t You Know About You?

A concept that others know things about “me” that I don’t know about myself was first introduced to me in a college class where I learned about the Johari Window.

The Johari Window is a cognitive psychological tool which helps you see youself in comparison with how others see you.

It’s a little disturbing to think that you know who you are, but others see you in a totally different way. Truth is, we all silently think things about each other that we keep to ourselves.

I have come up with five things others may think but  not be willing to tell you. If any of these examples  hit a nerve, read on. The solutions are included.

No one will say to you…

1. You have bad breath

2. You are a bad listener

3. You are boring

4. You are undependable

You have bad breath

When I worked in the factory I was very fond of a particular business unit manager, but I hated it when he came up to talk to me. He had the worst breath. There’s a difference between “garlic” breath and “need to floss” breath.

Everyone knew he needed to floss except for him!

The solution to this one is easy. Ask a couple of trusted friends if you have bad breath, get regular dental cleanings, floss regularly and for goodness sakes, carry some breath mints after eating garlic.

You are a bad listener

Several bad habits come to mind, interruption, lack of eye contact, and distraction. Let’s take the phone for example. You may think you are fooling the other person as you answer e-mails, read through mail, and shuffle papers, but believe me they can “feel” your presence or lack there of.

The solution: Be willing to have the integrity to admit you aren’t listening, and ask them to repeat what they just said. “Mary, I’m sorry. I got distracted and started reading an e-mail. I’m trying to end this habit by calling it out. Please forgive me. Would you repeat what you just said?” Believe me, Mary will be so impressed and I’ll guarantee you will start to change your habit.

You are boring

No one is going to say it, even if they think it. So what makes for an interesting versus boring person? Well, this list is a long one. Let’s look at some things folks might do to bore YOU, then see if any of these also apply to you.

  • She talks about herself non-stop.
  • He can’t tell a story in less than ten minutes with too many details to count.
  • He is dogmatic, narrow minded and opinionated.
  • She is negative Nelly.

The solution is about changing habits. Here are four places to start: ask a question, open your mind, be curious and say something positive.

You are undependable

This one can be shocking because you thought you were trustworthy. What makes someone see you as undependable is the following: You don’t return calls or e-mails, you change your appointment when something better comes along, or you forget an appointment altogether. You are always “too busy” and make lots of excuses as to why you can’t do what you say you want to do.

The solution is about awareness. Even if you can’t give an answer to a call or e-mail, simply tell the person you are swamped. Even if your response seems a bit abrupt it’s better than avoidance and can save you a relationship problem later on. Learn some time management skills, or better  yet practice saying a clean and clear “no.”  Do what you say you are going to do. Quit making excuses and simply do what you promised. Only change your schedule when absolutely necessary.

So, here’s the question: What do others know about you that you don’t know about yourself?


was first introduced to me in a college class where I learned about the Johari Window.

a cognitive psychological tool created by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham, used to help people better understand their interpersonal communication and relationships. Here’s a link if you want to research this concept.

http://www.cps.usfca.edu/324sh/johari.htm

The Johari window helps us understand how we see ourselves in comparison to how others see us. Here’s the deal: Others may know things about you that you will NEVER know because they won’t have the guts to tell you. There are at least 5 things that others will never tell you about yourself. No one is ever going to say…

1. You have bad breath

2. You are a bad listener

3. You are boring

4. You are undependable

Bad Breath

When I worked in the factory I was very fond of a particular business unit manager, but I hated it when he came up to talk to me. He had the worst breath. There’s a difference between “garlic” breath and “need to floss” breath.

Everyone knew he needed to floss except for him! The solution to this one is easy. Ask a couple of trusted friends if you have bad breath, get regular dental cleanings, floss regularly and for goodness sakes, carry some breath mints after eating garlic.

You are a bad listener

Several bad habits come to mind, interruption, lack of eye contact, and distraction. Let’s take the phone for example. You may think you are fooling the other person as you answer e-mails, read through mail, and shuffle papers, but believe me they can “feel” your presence or lack there of.

The solution: Be willing to have the integrity to admit you aren’t listening, and ask them to repeat what they just said. “Mary, I’m sorry. I got distracted and started reading an e-mail. I’m trying to end this habit by calling it out. Please forgive me. Would you repeat what you just said?” Believe me, Mary will be so impressed and I’ll guarantee you will start to change your habit.

Maybe you text when you are on the phone or you read e-mails while talking to a colleague.

You are boring

So what makes for an interesting versus boring person? Well, this list is a long one. Let’s look at some things folks might do to bore you. She talks about herself non-stop. He can’t tell a story in less than ten minutes with too many details to count. He is dogmatic, narrow minded and opinionated. She is negative Nelly. The solutions are simple but not always easy to change habits. Her are four places to start:

ask a question, open your mind, be curious and be positive.

You are undependable

This one can be shocking because you thought you were trustworthy. What makes someone see you as undependable is the following: You don’t return calls or e-mails, you change your appointment when something better comes along, or you forget an appointment altogether. You are always “too busy” and make lots of excuses as to why you can’t do what you say you want to do. The solution is about awareness. Even if you can’t give an answer to a call or e-mail, simply tell the person you are swamped. Even this can save you a relationship problem later on. Learn some time management skills, and do what you say you are going to do. Quit making excuses and simply do what you promised. Only change your schedule when absolutely necessary.

So here’s the question: What is it that other know about you that you don’t know about yourself?

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