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The Alternatives | CRASH COURSE

Just one look: the quick read

November 21, 2002|Susan Carpenter

People are weird. They lie. They cheat. They pretend to be something they're not. No wonder there are so many botched and bungled relationships in this world. People are just a messy bunch to figure out.

"So many [individuals] misread others, and their mistakes in judgment cause them a lot of suffering," said Deanna Foster, a Beverly Hills psychologist and executive coach who teaches the sounds-too-good-to-be-true bimonthly course "How to Read Anyone in 30 Seconds."

"Especially in Los Angeles, some people come off in ways that convey themselves in the most positive manner, disguising what their true intentions are."

Whether it's distinguishing a fox from a wolf in a romantic situation or, in a professional environment, figuring out which face is real when a co-worker appears to have two, Foster said a number of "quick and dirty strategies" can be used to assess people more accurately.

On a basic level, she helps students to read others' body language and listen to their own intuition. But first, she teaches them to clear their biases. There's a reason why some people end up having "Groundhog Day" relationships, attracting the same personality types again and again. They're bringing their own emotional baggage into the mix, and it's clouding their ability to see others with an open mind.

In the end, reading someone in 30 seconds is not about snap judgments, Foster said. It's about "looking for a few key things and using them to make some quick determinations."

"How to Read Anyone in 30 Seconds"; Tuesday, 6:45-9:30 p.m.; Doubletree Hotel, 1707 4th St., Santa Monica; $49; (310) 478-6677 or www.

-- Susan Carpenter

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