Self | Psychology

How Your Personality Is Revealed By Your Choice of Words

Use deliberate listening and empathy to better understand people.

Sean Kernan
5 min readSep 15, 2023


Man talking with his therapist.
Pexels Images via Cottonbro studio

25 years ago, my 8th grade soccer coach walked up and said, “Can I talk to you for a second?”

We went back to his office and he went on to explain that he didn’t have a spot for me on the team. I was new to soccer and this was a competitive school — so it shouldn’t have been surprising. But I was crushed. I was the new kid and soccer was all the craze and a way of making friends.

At the time and in my own immaturity, I thought he’d been cruel and unfair. But decades later, I still think to myself, “Man. Coach Maloney was one good dude.”

Why? Because he was so kind in the moment. He was empathetic and explained his reasoning in a fair way. The team was already too bloated and it created problems when you have too many players. I remember he grimaced as he said, “This is the hardest part of my job and I hate doing it.” He encouraged me to come back next year (I did and, fortunately, made the team).

It wasn’t until I went out into the world, dealt with a few jerks, bad breakups, and a bad boss or two that I saw what a jerk is actually like.



Sean Kernan

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