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  • Steven Robinson
    Steven Robinson

    7 Tips: When People Show Their True Colors

    The First Brush of Colors

    In the grand tableau of life, people are, the most compelling figures. Each person is an intricate mosaic of emotions, behaviors, experiences, and beliefs, often hidden beneath a surface of social decorum. But, there are instances when the façade fades, revealing the true colors beneath. The phrase 'when someone shows you their true colors' refers to these very moments. It speaks of the character that lies beneath the surface, concealed behind smiles, niceties, or even frowns.

    It's vital to recognize these moments and understand what they mean for our relationships with others. For when someone unveils their true colors, they invite you into a deeper understanding of who they really are, far removed from societal expectations or pretensions.

    One such instance can be the first brush with a new acquaintance, colleague, or partner. Initial encounters are typically laden with guarded politeness and carefully chosen words. Yet, they also present the first glimpse into an individual's character.

    The first brush is usually the most subtle. It comes camouflaged in casual talks, the way someone describes their past relationships, or how they react to the waiter's slight error at a restaurant. It is a soft stroke, easy to miss yet important to observe. This is the moment where they may unconsciously exhibit signs of their core values, prejudices, kindness, or lack thereof.

    Observing these initial signs may prevent future misunderstandings and can be key to building a relationship on a foundation of authenticity. Therefore, paying keen attention to these seemingly trivial instances can pay dividends in understanding the other person's character.

    However, discerning these initial signs is not always easy, as the first brush of color is often overlaid with the appealing hues of a new connection. It takes emotional intelligence and mindful observation to see past the attractive veneer and identify the true colors starting to show.

    Unveiling the Palette: Conflict and Compassion

    The character's true hues often become more discernable in the heat of conflict or the depth of compassion. Let's explore these two instances further.

    Conflict, disagreements, and arguments are a part of human interaction. They reveal how someone handles differing opinions, resistance, or pressure. In these circumstances, do they resort to derogatory language or personal attacks? Do they refuse to consider your viewpoint, or do they choose to shut down communication altogether?

    On the flip side, do they engage in a healthy discourse, strive to understand your perspective, and remain respectful despite disagreement? These responses lay bare the hidden shades of one's true character, their tolerance for diversity, and their capability to handle confrontation constructively.

    Contrastingly, the moment of compassion — when someone is in pain or distress — can reveal a different set of colors. It's easy to be kind and helpful when it's convenient, but it's in the face of someone else's struggle where true compassion shines.

    In these moments, do they show empathy and extend a helping hand, or do they shy away, belittle, or ignore the plight? Observing someone's reaction in such circumstances can provide profound insights into their depth of empathy and their capacity for kindness, invaluable qualities that underpin any meaningful relationship.

    Again, these moments can be complex and require an understanding of human behavior and emotional intelligence to interpret accurately. Yet, they serve as a valuable compass in discerning the true colors of those around us.

    In Triumph and Failure: The Unmasking Moments

    In addition to conflict and compassion, instances of triumph and failure also often coax true colors into the open.

    Success can sometimes make people forget their humility, and failure might make them lose their courage. Observe how someone handles their success. Do they become boastful, neglect those who've helped them along the way, or do they show gratitude, humility, and the willingness to share their achievement? This not only reflects their character but also gives you a glimpse into their value system.

    Similarly, in the face of failure or hardship, you can witness another spectrum of their character. Do they blame others, succumb to self-pity, or do they take responsibility, learn from their mistakes, and rise stronger?

    Triumph and failure are powerful instances that magnify one's true character. Recognizing these moments and the behaviors they bring to light can guide us towards healthier, more genuine relationships.

    These revelations can sometimes be challenging to accept, especially when they clash with the image we had formed of the individual. Yet, accepting these true colors is vital for fostering authenticity in our connections and for our personal growth.

    Recognizing these revealing moments in others also encourages us to reflect upon our own actions, helping us cultivate self-awareness and personal development.

    When the Canvas is Revealed: Acceptance and Reaction

    Recognizing someone's true colors is only half the journey. How we react and what we choose to do with this newfound understanding is equally important.

    The revelation of a person's true nature can stir up a tempest of emotions. It's crucial to acknowledge these feelings, as they are a natural response to the dissonance between what we believed and the reality.

    It's okay to feel disappointed or hurt when someone's true colors don't match your perception. It's okay to take a step back and reassess your relationship based on these revelations. However, it's equally vital to not let these moments breed resentment or bitterness.

    Engage in open and honest conversation if you feel comfortable and safe to do so. Express your thoughts and feelings without resorting to blame. You might find that the other person is also struggling with their own internal conflicts and could be open to growth and change.

    However, if someone's true colors reveal harmful or toxic behavior, prioritizing your well-being and setting boundaries is essential. It's important to remember that while everyone has the capacity to grow and change, you are not obligated to stick around and wait for that change to occur.

    The Final Stroke

    When someone shows you their true colors, it is a moment of revelation, a moment of truth. It is the unmasking of the true self hidden beneath the layers of social niceties and pretensions. It might be uncomfortable or painful, but it also opens a door to authenticity and deeper understanding.

    The seven moments when people often show their true colors include the first encounter, conflict, compassion, triumph, and failure. Recognizing these moments can guide us in our interactions with others and in our self-reflection.

    However, it's equally important to remember that no single instance can define the entirety of a person's character. People are complex beings capable of change and growth. The colors you see today may not be the ones you see tomorrow. That is why it's crucial to approach these revelations with understanding, open dialogue, and respect for personal boundaries.

    When someone shows you their true colors, it's not just about them, but it's also about you. It's about how you react, how you understand, and how you choose to navigate your relationship moving forward.

    In this way, these unmasking moments are not just revelations of another's character but also an opportunity for our personal growth, emotional intelligence, and relationship-building skills. They invite us into a deeper understanding of human nature, the people around us, and importantly, ourselves.


    1. "Emotional Intelligence" by Daniel Goleman
    2. "Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most" by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen
    3. "Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead" by Brené Brown

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