In the movie “Some Kind of Wonderful”, Keith, who’s played by Eric Stoltz, is trying to explain to Watts, who’s played by Mary Stewart Masterson, why he’s in love with Amanda Jones. Watts isn’t buying it and Keith is trying to convince her.
At one point he says,” You can’t tell a book by its cover.”
And Watts replies, without missing a beat,” But you can tell how much it’s going to cost you.”
I think they’re both right.
There is something in human behavior that we tend to have a somewhat optimistic view of someone that we haven’t yet met. That encountering a complete stranger, we tend to be somewhat positive about them, until there’s evidence to the contrary. This may explain, by the way, why some people are so easily scammed, because they have this somewhat positive view of someone that they’re just meeting.
I think it’s important to combine that positive view that we naturally have with finding out what the other person’s values and character is all about. We can learn that by asking good questions. And therefore, you get this combination of the positive spirit towards someone new, but also making sure that you understand what they’re all about by asking the questions that reveal their values and their character.
In that sense, you can definitely learn what the book costs by its cover and then decide whether it’s worth buying…