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Relating - It's a Bumper Car World

Let's face it: when it comes to relating, it's a sea of bumper cars out there!

It helps if you can have a sense of humor and some Face Reading insights into what makes people tick. That way you understand why they do what they do, know what to expect, and be a little less frustrated in dealing with others. Call it mental health first aid - it allows you to maintain your sanity and shift your expectations because you realize they are not acting like that just to drive you crazy. They are simply being who they are.

Let's talk about one of the most important traits in interpersonal relationships: the width between the eyes. This trait is about timing and tolerance. It tells you what kind of time frame a person operates under - immediate response or delayed response. And how much they will tolerate before doing something about it.

close-set When the eyes are close-set, less than one eye's width apart, the time frame is immediate. Some characteristics:

  • Won't willingly put up with much (low tolerance)
  • Uptight, has trouble relaxing
  • Wants everything done now
  • Tends to works from a list, is detail oriented
  • When finished with an interaction, will prefer you get out of their space so they can get on with their list


When eyes are wide-set, more than an eye's width apart, the time frame is delayed. Some characteristics:

  • Easy-going, high tolerance
  • Big picture overview
  • Has more difficulty with detail work
  • Will do things when they get around to it
  • Will put up with situations they don't like for a long time, then finally blow up about it

When these two opposites try to partner and work together, bumping up against the traits is almost guaranteed. Basically it boils down to a difference of perception in how close things are. To close-set eyes, everything is right in their face or hanging over their head so it's hard to relax about it: it's all urgent. When they ask someone to do something they expect it will be done immediately as they would do. They don't understand why people put things off.

To wide-set eyes, things seem to be off toward the horizon somewhere. Kind of fuzzy. So to them, if the deadline isn't right now, it doesn't have to be done right now. It takes awhile before it gets close enough to need attention. When they ask someone to do something, they have less expectation that it must be done immediately, unless they stress that it is urgent.

If these two opposite traits are going to co-habitate or co-work, it's a good idea to establish some ground rules about timing and boundaries. Close-set eyes: learn to count to 100 and how to step back from things. Wide-set eyes, learn to get things done before the deadline is looming, and to speak up when you don't like something... the first time it happens. That way you can come closer to meeting in the middle.

If your eyes are neither wide set nor close set, congratulations. You're balanced in that area. It is a non trait. Behaviorally, you'll generally do things in a timely fashion and don't get hung up either way. But of course, you'll bump into both of those other types and they may drive you nuts, but at least you know what to expect.