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Personality is something defined by other people. This isn't a particularly cheerful thought, considering that most people carry around a perfected view of themselves. It's human nature to consider ourselves the best we possibly can be, and even when we know there's room for improvement, we are still quick to point out our redeeming qualities. People generally avoid policing their personality too much as only they are aware of every thing and every thought that has ever crossed their mind, and so judge themselves more strictly than they judge others. Some are able to accept this and are quite confident with themselves, while others secretly despise themselves for their innermost thoughts and become a vessel of self-loathing. But the way you define yourself is a very personal thing and really has nothing to do with what your personality really is. Because you can describe yourself with as many colourful words as you like-- it is ultimately up to other people what they think of you.

There are two main ways that other people can control your personality. The first is through behaviour (your respective interactions), and the second is with the way it is perceived. It's usually the two of these working in combination that define who they think you are. It is said that first impressions count. They do. So does the impression after that, and the one after that, and the one after that... and so on. Probably the other person's opinion of you will not change, but knowing someone is a continuous thing and is reinforced by repeated contact.

To a certain degree, your behaviour will always be controlled by other people. Friends, workmates, a prospective employer-- these people all mean different things to you and so you will react accordingly. Consider that you're at a party where your friends and your employer are both present. You're slightly inebriated, just enough to loosen up, and you're doing the rounds. You walk up to your friend, and because you've been friends for years and have been through alot together, and really know eachother better than anyone else does, you begin to insult them in an teasing manner. "Hey, you fat bitch, why the hell do you have a lampshade on your head?! It looks terrible! Doesn't go with the shirt at all!" What your drunken friend with the lampshade does next is up to them, but you've revealed yourself as someone slightly abusive and mocking when drunk. But what if it were your boss who was wearing the lampshade? "Might I say that that looks great on you-- ridiculous?! No!! It does wonders for your complexion!" You have just been established as a brown-noser with terrible fashion sense. These are two very broad examples but they speak something of the way different people call for different actions. The consequences of dealing with people differ, and so will the way you interact. You will not always be satisfied with your behaviour, but at least if you aren't then you can put some of the blame on them-- how dare they make you act the way you do!

The way your behaviour is perceived by others says as much about them as it does about yourself. We perceive people with our own set of values and attitudes and judge them accordingly. No one can control what we think except for us. It's one of the saddest and most frustrating things about the human experience-- we can't control what other people think! It's bad enough when you inadvertedly do something to irk a friend, but when you are with someone you want to impress, influencing them to think well of you is paramount. Although to some degree this can be offset by your behaviour it is ultimately up to them. No one will perceive something in quite the same way as another person. What is sarcasm to some people is outright bitchiness to others, and childishness is easily changed to immaturity. In fact, it's not even really the actual attributes that are changing-- just the labels and connotations that are attached. Be festive and chirpy by all means. Just remember that you've just written yourself in someone's book as a hyperactive bimbo who won't shut up.

Personality is something that we all have and comes down to little more than a set of adjectives that are used to describe certain attributes. People don't have just one definite personality. It is strange, faceted and fragmented, and it's the way that these facets blend together in the presence of others that will define what's truly 'you'.

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