Being “psychic” is great for dating

There aren’t many times in your life that you get a chance to recreate yourself in a new place and be whoever you want to be. When I transferred to USC in my sophomore year, I decided to recreate myself as a psychic. Yes friends, a psychic. Why? Well, I had watched a few documentaries online about how some psychics (save the real ones of course) were able to figure out anything about you through a series of deductive skills. I was hooked, and I wanted to try it out. In those documentaries, I learned that psychics figure you out by starting with things just vague enough so that they are always kind of correct. These vague statements are met with affirmation or denial through micro-cues such as minute changes in body posture, facial shape or voice.

Here’s an example: You can start by being vague and tell a college student that lately there has been a relationship on their mind. When they hear this, most will assume it’s a romantic relationship. Read their response to your statement — if it’s an affirmation through a head nod or leaning in, then proceed to make claims about that relationship, such as it has been tiring or it’s been a short time but it feels long, and proceed to make more deductions in that manner. If, however, they respond with a “no” with their body language, then simply reframe your statement. Say, “Well it’s not a romantic one. You’ve been thinking about someone you love, be it a friend or a family member.” In a situation they deny again, then broaden the love to themselves or to an object or whatever it is that gets a “yes” from them.

So here I am, a new student at USC, and I’ve learned this interesting hack of reading people. My name is Samuel Sunito, the new, weird, Australian student who claims to be psychic. I remember my first few weeks I would tell people that I was really good at reading people. I remember one girl who I had only known for a few hours challenged me: “You don’t know me. Prove it.” Definitely not a challenge you want to make. My pride was on the line now, so unfortunately I did as she asked.

There, in the presence of Tommy Trojan, at 2:30 in the morning (and remember friends, nothing good happens after 2 a.m.), I proceeded to deduce and tell her a whole gamut of things that were true about her. I told her about her relationship dynamic with her parents, the number of relationships she has been in and the hurt that she has felt from her most recent relationship (I even told her I knew his age and why they broke up, too). I told her she now finds it hard to trust people, and it has been a while since she’s opened up to someone. I told her some pretty random things too, like what hobbies she likes and how old her younger sister was.

At the end of my tirade, I paused and asked her, “But I’m just guessing. I’m not sure about any of that stuff. What do you think?”She looked up at Tommy Trojan, as if to look for a magical whispering statue behind her.  She eventually replied, “I don’t think I’ve ever felt so known before.” That night, she fell in love with me, and I decided to stop “reading” people.

Now, granted I actually didn’t really know her, it was still very interesting to me because in that moment, she felt really validated and loved. She literally sunk her shoulders as though a huge weight had been lifted off them. It got me thinking about our lives and how ultimately for our whole lives, we as people have a desire to be seen and to be known. This is especially true of us going through transitions in college, far away from loved ones and in new environments. There is a huge power in the ability to know someone and make them feel known.

I find that often in dating, we are focused on ourselves rather than the other person. We focus on trying to make ourselves attractive. We strive to present the best versions of ourselves, and we hope that the other person will appreciate it, like it and buy into it. But friends, there is something much more attractive and magnetic than your slicked, overly greasy hair (cause bro, nothing that touches it right now is getting unstuck). The attractive quality is in your ability to listen, understand and enter somebody else’s world. Loving people better is found in the random Snapchat you send of something you know that person likes. It’s found in the, “Hey, let’s go here. I know you love this type of place” and the, “Hey, I don’t know much about [insert romantic interest’s interest], but I did some reading on it. What do you think about it?” When it comes to loving people too, we sometimes try to love people the ways that we think we would feel loved, and it can feel frustrating when they don’t receive it the way we thought they would. Loving people better comes through understanding them and what they value.

In our selfie-, iPhone-, MySpace- (I am sure some of you freshmen don’t even know what that is) and Me-generation, I pose that a better way to love others is to become a psychic of sorts, figure out your loved ones and communicate that you know and see them.

Samuel Sunito is a junior majoring in business administration.  His column, “Love and Other Things,” runs every other Friday.