I LOVE psycho-analysis tests. I collect them like some people collect stamps.
And not so long ago, while we were out shopping, my friend Chloe asked me if I had any new ones up my sleeve.
As a matter of fact I did. And so I tested it on her, right then and there, at the supermarket entrance.
While we were standing there, engrossed in our analysis, an old man come along and called us “stupid women” for "blocking the entrance".
I thought he must be joking (because noone is that mean) so I laughed.
He wasn’t joking.
So I laughed again, not because I thought it was funny, but because I felt uncomfortable, and when I feel uncomfortable I laugh.
Anyway, here’s the test we were doing. It’s a good one to whip out when there’s an awkward silence at dinner parties. It's called 'The Q Test'.
It goes like this:
Pretend I'm standing in front of you. Now trace a capital Q on your forehead with your finger.
Which way did you draw the Q?
So that you could read it, or so that I (the person watching you) could read it?
When I did this test, I drew it backwards and felt extremely smug because I knew I’d done it correctly (another thing I LOVE is acing tests).
But, as it turns out, there is no “correctly”.
Because this test doesn’t test how clever you are, but rather how highly you “self-monitor”.
If you drew the Q in a way in which it could be read by someone looking at you, then you’re probably a high self-monitor. If you drew it so you could read it yourself, then you’re probably a low self-monitor.
In a nutshell, high self-monitors are more worried about how people see them. They can more easily adapt their behaviour to suit any given situation (which can be a great skill), and are typically more skilled at manipulating how they appear to others (which can mean they're better liars...which is...not so good?).
Low self-monitors are either more oblivious, or less worried, about how others see them (which is probably a good thing, but will definitely embarrass you from time to time). They’re more concerned with their own thoughts and feelings than how they appear to others, so probably appear more consistent across contexts (not so good at lying either).
Why does it matter? Well, it doesn't really. It's just interesting.
As a high self-monitor myself, it's hard for me to even conceive of a person who isn't constantly aware of how they come across to others. (I compare my inner voice to the commentator of a horse-race). I'm in awe of the people who aren't constantly monitoring themselves in a social setting.
How terribly relaxing.
But not so in awe that I actually want to be one.
Because goodness knows what I'd do when I wasn't looking, and then who knows what would happen?!
No, somebody needs to keep a tight rein on me, so it might as well be me.