How do you read people? Go with your gut. What more is there? Body language. It's said that at least 80% of what people say is through body language. And in fact, people intuitively read body language. They may not be conscious of it.
If someone is assertive, their posture is straight, chest out, shoulders back, head craned like a flamingo.
What if someone slumps, hesitates to look you in the eye, crosses their arms, and even angles their body away? Could be signs of deception, signs of low self worth or esteem. With everything remaining the same, but you add the characteristics of someone who's assertive, then we can assume that person simply doesn't find you attractive. Or they can be looking for someone and just doesn't see you. Or they may be angry because someone stood them up.
But when reading people, I tend to go with my gut. I do this with women. Friends of mine have tried to set me up on blind dates. The problem with that is within the first minute I can tell whether I have a connection with the woman or not. And I'm old enough to realize the difference between lust and like. Lust for men is pretty obvious. Let's just say feelings toward the woman I'm in lust for don't originate anywhere within my chest. And my eyes will most likely be focused on hers.
It sucks when I don't feel a connection. Cuz I gots to talks to her. Kinda like talking to a blank wall. I'm sure it's the same for her.
Most people can't seem to read people. Why is that? Have they lost that special power? Can anyone read people? First off, any human can read another human, unless said human doesn't want to be read. And you can lose that power by mistrust. Whose trust?
Going with your gut means that you have to trust yourself. Do you? Well...do you need or ask others for their approval or opinion? Read my post onGo with your gut. It'll give you an example of how I seeked approval outside of myself.
The way to practice this is by people watching. Sit in a mall. As a person walks by, let your mind create a story. And trust that it's true, no matter how strange. If you want to take a step further, go up and talk to them. See how close your story came.
A better way of doing this is bring a friend. My best friend and I used to do this a lot. Most of the time we came up with the same story. If our stories didn't match, then we'd discuss why we read what we read.
Writing the emotions of different characters can take the form of telling: He's mad. It can take the form of action: He slammed his cup down. It can take the form of body language: She shoved him off and turned away. Or it can take the form of dialogue: "Get off me!"
Oooh. Too much information.
Actors people watch a lot. When I studied acting, I spent a lot of time people watching. Now, I use that resource in my writing. Because if you communicate emotion through just one way--telling, action, body language, dialogue--it can get boring. Combining different ways allows for character development and variety.
Most important of all, trust yourself. As kids, parents tell us 'No', 'Do this', 'Do that'. As a result, we've become reliant on others. Rely on yourself, open your mind, and let the stories come about. You may be surprised.