Tell me this, are you a collector? Do you collect people? Not dead ones, but real life ones.

Do you search out people who are high achievers or have famous relatives, an interesting flaw, a riveting story or have survived a great injustice? Do you seek out news makers, not content to hang with the news gatherers? Do you sort the compelling from the dull in the first few moments of engaging with someone? Are you only interested in surrounding yourself with people who make great dinner conversation, who are most probably wonderful people, but who you focus on at the expense of taking a punt on another whose story may take a little longer to reveal itself?

Are you a person collector? Are you a personalityoligist (it’s my blog I can make-up invent new words)?

I’ve noticed an increase in this phenomenon as I’ve grown older and found myself needing to search out new friendships in untraditional places. I no longer go to university or work in an office, we run a small business from home, and with three small children I seldom find myself propping up bars all over Adelaide. Lightening speed kindy drop-offs, infrequent playgroup attendances and often frenzied early dinner dates with friends also with children, make it difficult to engage with people. Friendships get harder to cultivate – selectiveness is often required at twenty paces.

Without a doubt I judge – it’s speed dating, for middle-aged people looking for friends, not sex. Shoes, hair, smile, sense of humour, kind, smart, schooling, career blah blah blah. There’s definitely a checklist, but often it’s discarded as you find connections beyond the surface.

However, I am a novice when it comes to people collecting. Personalityoligists can scan a room in seconds. They lock and load like a missile in combat. Firing off questions with precision, they know in seconds if their target will provide them with stimulation whether it be at the school gate or online. They hook on to the people they deem socially advanced and fuelled by a self-declared superiority, ignore the “run-of-the-mill” ones all together. I find them unnerving. They are so quick to add to their collections.

Sometimes I’m collected, I can feel the pull of their charm, enticed by their seemingly exciting life. Sometimes I am passed-on by, left to question my own appeal.

I wonder if we are all personalityologists to varying degrees? I suppose we are, I am just unsure how many good friends the hard-core people collectors truly have.

What do you think? Do you judge or feel judged? Are you drawn to certain types of people?