Candy Dish Psychology

I often feel as though I’m the only one in the Pleasanton office who isn’t a health nut.  I’m surrounded by perfectly healthy people always trying to be healthier.  Diets, healthy eating habits, the gym, Zumba–these are all very common topics of conversation in this office.  My favorite thing to do is talk about how I’m actually trying to gain weight when I hear others talk about going on some diet or other.  Sorry, ladies!  It’s the only way I can participate in that kind of discussion.

There is, however, some office health-kick kryptonite, and that’s the addition of the candy dish a couple of months ago.  I have a love-hate relationship with the candy dish.  I like having scrumptious, accessible candy at my fingertips all day, and it’s been a critical key to reaching my 110-pound goal.  At the same time, though, it tends to be a distraction.  I can’t think of anyone in the office who’s resisted the candy dish thus far.  I always think someone walking up to the dish is about to talk to me, and I get aaaaaaall excited for the chance to work on my conversational skills, but wait . . . what’s this?  No.  They just want to paw through the candy dish.  Naturalmente.

Darned candy dish is stealing all my limelight.  If I want to top that I’ll have to get up and sing.  And don’t get me wrong; I’d love to get up and sing, but I’m afraid people would start making requests and then I’d never get anything done.

Watching all those people has given me an opportunity, though, to notice a couple of things.  Most notably what everyone’s personal candy kryptonite is and which candies I’m going to be leaving on their desks to sabotage the Biggest Loser Contest for everyone (do I get the money pool if nobody loses weight?), but also I’ve noticed the way people pick their candy.  And yours truly being Kristin, I’m bound to put a lot of psychological implications onto something so ordinary as picking out candy.

I remember having a discussion a few months ago with my mom about how when she was a hiring manager she always chose people to hire based almost purely on how they walk.  This might seem silly to a lot of people–heck, sometimes it sounds silly to me–but I think there’s some truth in the idea that your personality shines through in almost everything you do.  She said people who walked very slowly and slouched were often sloppy and slow workers, while people who walked quickly and with good posture tended to be efficient workers.  It worked for her.  It seems as though everyone has their own version of determining personality type, whether it’s handwriting analysis, reading body language, or dissecting speech patterns.

For myself, I’ve wondered if the way people choose their candy is indicative of their personality types.

Take, for example, the diggers.  Diggers will, using their fingers, dig through the entire candy dish, either because they are looking for a particular type of candy, or else because they want to know all of their options before settling on something.  Do you think this type of candy taker is also this way when rifling through the clothes rack in a clothing store or researching different brands of a product on the web?  Interestingly, there are two types of diggers: those who move things around daintily, as if they’re afraid to touch the candy they don’t want (perhaps because they’re afraid they have to take it if they touch it?), and then there are diggers who just plow through everything with strong, decisive movements.  Diggers are the most likely to ask if there’s candy available that isn’t in the dish.

Then I’ve noticed there are also hoverers.  These people will stand over the candy dish, not touching anything, just eyeing the options laid out on the top layer of candy, hand poised over the dish, ready to strike as soon as they’ve located something palatable.  It’s come to my attention that the hand in question is always pointed downward in a claw-like pose.  Do you notice that this is the same way these people work?

Related to the hoverer is the looker.  The looker does the same thing, just looks at all the candy on the top layer without actually touching anything, but the hand is either laid gently on the counter or down at the looker’s side until the piece he wants is discovered among the mass of sugar rejects.  The heretofore passive hand then goes in for the kill.  Lookers are more likely to take more than one piece of candy than the other types.

There are also those I call grabbers.  These people don’t even slow down as they walk by.  They reach out a hand and grab anything on the top that looks as though it might be tasty and keep walking, not slowing a single step.  Sometimes I wonder if they even know which piece of candy they’re taking, or if they just want something sugary in their mouths.  Perhaps they don’t even want the candy they’re taking; they just take it because they know they can.  Or maybe they just eye the piece they want from afar and practice their hand-eye coordination as they walk by.  Grabbers tend to be fast walkers.  I wonder what my mom would say about that.

Finally, there are the people whose candy choosing habits change from one choice to the next.  These people I simply call erratic.  One day they’ll hover, the next they’ll grab, and later that same day they may dig (most people who take from the bounty of the candy dish do it more than once a day).  If the way they choose candy is indicative of their personalities, this makes them the most unpredictable and spontaneous.  Depending on your own personality type, you’ll either love this or hate it.

This is just one of the many made-up psychological theories I use to help me answer that all-important question, What makes people tick?  Who knew the candy dish would be such a font of delicious speculation for me?

I’ve had lots of great fun conversations with starters like, “You’re a hoverer.”

“Do you always start conversations this way?” (That’s a Princess Bride quote, if you didn’t get it.)

Why yes.  Quite frequently I do.

What’s the window you use to look into people?

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