top of page

Can You Really Know Someone?

When we meet people initially it is vague, the more time we spend with a person we begin to have familiarity as a friendship forms which naturally grows into a relationship over time.

As this time progresses we trust each other with the knowledge of what we know about the other person. But what does it mean to really know someone? There is a study of knowledge (epistemology), and there is a lot of debate over what counts as knowledge.

Epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge. Epistemologists study the nature of knowledge, epistemic justification, the rationality of belief, and various related issues. Epistemology is considered one of the four main branches of philosophy, along with ethics, logic, and metaphysics

Philosophers say there are two kinds of knowledge: -

  1. Knowledge by acquaintance, which is when you have direct experiences with a person. The knowledge you have of your friends or partner, is knowledge based on your experiences with them.

  2. Knowledge by description, which is knowledge based on what is supposedly true of a person without having any direct experience with them. For example, you know things that are supposedly true of Julius Caesar without having had first-hand experiences with him.


Knowledge can be a belief or it can be a skill. Knowing that cars have engines is a belief. Knowing how to do carpentry is a skill. Mostly people are concerned with knowledge as a belief, that is, how do I know that my belief is true. So what follows is a basic understanding of knowledge as a belief, not knowledge as a skill.

Knowledge is defined as a certain kind of belief. It is not just any belief, but it is a belief that achieves trust.

We all seek for truth in everyday life. If someone makes a claim that something is true, and later they find out that the claim was not true, then the claim was not knowledge. Claims in themselves do not equate to knowledge.

Knowledge involves more than truth, that is, it is a certain kind of true belief. It involves First, understanding the concepts involved, and secondly, being able to give a justification (reasons or evidence) for the belief.

Knowing Someone

We can know about a person based on our belief and we can predict what someone will do, say, etc, but we can not completely understand a person or have justification as to why our true belief of who they are is who they are as it is not like knowledge of a skill.

We all have our own hidden truths, unbearable personality traits and stories that can not be shared. Most of us have become good at hiding our true emotions for the general populace. We would rather judge people and form biases created on limited experiences.

People tend to be a lot more complex than others conceive of them. You may know what someone’s favourite colour is; what food they enjoy the most; what makes them happy, you may even know how they will react in a certain situation or what makes them tick. But, would you actually know them?

People are not always what they seem. You know that saying “Everyone has two sides to them”. Guess what? it is actually three, as per the Japanese anyway!

  1. There is a side that we consciously and unconsciously share with the people around us.

  2. There is a side which we hide from every one; it may be a positive or negative side, but we don’t expose it.

  3. The third and the most important side is the reflection of your truest nature. This side is the one we haven’t explored or don’t want to.

Personality Traits

This third side is our personality traits that we are not even aware of. These traits are exposed in unfamiliar settings and situations where our habits do not suffice. Where we just have to act in the spur of the moment. A reflex action if you may. Here’s where the alchemy of character transformation works. Here is the point where personalities gamble. You don’t know when a prince can become a pauper and a caterpillar can become a butterfly. Here you are unpredictable in your own predictability. These three aspects define you.

Every personality is a story. It doesn’t matter how long or how intimately you know someone. You can never really know anybody, not entirely. There will always be something that goes unsaid, a hidden desire, a private shame, an unfulfilled dream, and an incomplete love story. All these unsaid things complete the definition of the actual person, which nobody would be completely able to figure out or observe. No one will ever be able to paint a full picture of their personality. So, next time before claiming that you know someone from inside out, think multiple times!


If you would like to get information about someone you or anyone you know is dating you can make an application under Clare's Law.

To make an application you will need to attend a police station in person where a police officer or member of the police staff will take the details of what prompted your enquiry and talk you through the next steps. A safe means of contacting you will be established and you will have to provide your name, address and date of birth.

19 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page