1. The Arrogant and Proud Man
Although he may initially disguise it, this man’s touchy pride makes him very dangerous. Any perceived slight will lead to a vengeance of overwhelming violence. You may say to yourself, “But I only said such-and-such at a party, where everyone was drunk. …” It does not matter. There is no sanity behind his overreaction, so do not waste time trying to figure him out. If at any point in your dealings with a person you sense as oversensitive with overactive pride, flee! Whatever you are hoping for from him isn’t worth it.
2. The Hopelessly Insecure Man
This man is related to the proud and arrogant type, but is less violent and harder to spot. His ego is fragile, his sense of self insecure, and if he feels himself deceived or attacked, the hurt will simmer. He will attack you in bites that will take forever to get big enough for you to notice. If you find you have deceived or harmed such a man, disappear for a long time. Do not stay around him or he will nibble you to death.
3. Mr. Suspicion
He sees what he wants to see—usually the worst—in other people, and imagines that everyone is after him. Mr. Suspicion is in fact the least dangerous of the three: Genuinely unbalanced, he is easy to deceive, just as Stalin himself was constantly deceived. Play on his suspicious nature to get him to turn against other people. But if you do become the target of his suspicions, watch out.
4. The Serpent with a Long Memory
If hurt or deceived, this man will show no anger on the surface; he will calculate and wait. Then, when he is in a position to turn the tables, he will exact a revenge marked by a cold-blooded shrewdness. Recognize this man by his calculation and cunning in the different areas of his life. He is usually cold and unaffectionate. Be doubly careful of this snake, and if you have somehow injured him, either crush him completely or get him out of your sight.
5. The Plain, Unassuming, and Often Unintelligent Man
The danger with this man is not that he will harm you or seek revenge, but merely that he will waste your time, energy, resources, and even your sanity in trying to deceive him. Have a test ready for him—a joke or a story. If his reaction is utterly literal, this is the type you are dealing with. Continue at your own risk.
5 Final Words of Caution
1. In judging and measuring your opponent, never rely on your instincts. You will make the greatest mistakes of all if you rely on such inexact indicators. Nothing can substitute for gathering concrete knowledge. Study and spy on your opponent for however long it takes; this will pay off in the long run.
2. Never trust appearances. Anyone with a serpent’s heart can use a show of kindness to cloak it; a person who is blustery on the outside is often really a coward. Learn to see through appearances and their contradictions. Never trust the version that people give of themselves—it is utterly unreliable.
3. If you want to turn people down, it is best to do so politely and respectfully, even if you feel their request is impudent or their offer ridiculous. Never reject them with an insult until you know them better; you may be dealing with a Genghis Khan.
4. Some people’s insecurity and ego fragility cannot tolerate the slightest offense. To see if you are dealing with such a type, test them first—make, say, a mild joke at their expense. A confident person will laugh; an overly insecure one will react as if personally insulted. If you suspect you are dealing with this type, find another victim.
5. Swallow the impulse to offend, even if the other person seems weak. The satisfaction is meager compared to the danger that someday he or she will be in a position to hurt you.