qualities I like and don't like in people
+ 10 things I've enjoyed lately
Cecily Brown, A Room of One’s Own, 2020
Things I really like:
curiosity and thoughtfulness
specifically, curiosity about other people and their thoughts and emotions
openness to risk
follow-through (if they say they’ll do something, they do it)
appreciation and pursuit of beauty
self-awareness/ability to honestly assess how they’re showing up in the world
competence (ability to translate desire to outcome)
great communication (what could be dreamier? nothing!)
Things that trigger me:
saying you’ll do something but never doing it
overt willingness to induce suffering in others
constant indecision (this is definitively one of those “you hate it because you can’t accept it in yourself” things. I hate it when I’m indecisive)
having really awful taste (I could write a whole post on this. Obviously, I’m not trying to make some kind of low-brow/high-brow distinction here, we don’t need to like the same paintings or whatever, but if you genuinely think something I find extremely ugly is beautiful than I feel like we have some compatibility issues)
valuing appearance over experience (how something is should always be more important than how something looks)
I was thinking about what I like (& dislike) in people and wrote these down. Of course, you can never distill anything down to an only a list of qualities, but sometimes it can be useful to give it a shot. Generally I would say that I get along with romantics with a pragmatic streak. INTJs. People who can talk a lot but are more focused on asking you questions. People who like to read fiction and poetry. Sharp knives.
Some people I really like:
I keep a short list of women I really admire, and would love to meet, though two of them are no longer alive: Ingrid Bengis, Elif Batuman, Cynthia Zarin, Jakucho Setouchi. Their lives are maps of what I value: creativity, exploration, sinking into the mind and occasionally coming up for air.
I also keep a short list of artists I particularly like: Louise Bourgeois, Egon Schiele, Joan Mitchell, Cy Twombly, Tracy Emin, Jenny Holzer, Matthew Wong, David Hockney, Cecily Brown. (Many of these artists are super famous, so I’m not claiming that their work especially speaks to me. But nevertheless it speaks to me.)
I love my friends. The whole “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” thing? I don’t think I’m nearly as awesome as the five people I spend the most time with. So I guess people who like people is also a quality I value a lot. You don’t have to like a ton of people, but you should like your three best friends! People who don’t seem to like anyone very much are suspect to me.
Question for you guys: what are the qualities that you like in people? How do they overlap with mine? How do they differ?