How handwriting can help us understand what makes people tick

Handwriting may be less used in the modern age, but graphologist and author Emma Bache believes penmanship can be a fingerprint of our soul. Ann Chadwick reports.

Emma Bache has analysed Donald Trump's handwriting.

Emma Bache is sick of dodging zombie pedestrians on pavements, eyes fixed and souls hooked, to small screens. “Since the advent of social media and obsession with iPhones ruling our lives, both socially and professional, nobody looks where they are going any more, nobody looks anyone in the eye, nobody shakes hands, nobody uses their innate intuition to judge other people to see if they’re friend or foe,” she says. “We go on public transport and don’t even notice who we are sitting next to, we could easily be sitting next to someone with a gun or a knife, we wouldn’t even notice.”

As the UK’s leading handwriting expert, a graphologist and trained psychotherapist, Emma is calling for a new emphasis on the importance of graphology as a form of psychology to help us understand what makes other people tick, how they get on with others, and what’s really going on behind the façade.

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“I think our ability to understand our fellow human beings is pretty much nil now, because we’re all narcissists, we’re all introspective, we’re all obsessed with friends on Facebook and likes on Twitter. It’s not just the generation below me, middle-aged people can only really operate when in front of a screen. The high street is shutting because we’ve got Amazon, Post Offices are shutting, so general day-to-day meeting and greeting other people and normal levels of human communication are going.”

She’s not calling for the return of slow communication and letter-writing, but believes the need to ‘read’ people is increasingly important as we lose our ‘innate ability to keep ourselves safe and judge people’. “If I was God and ruler of the world I would be calling for people to communicate in a normal sane way as opposed to just using iPhones but that’s never going to happen; we’re never going to go backwards. So what I’m trying to advocate is that we should see the value of every other form of psychology and analysing people, as we have lost the human instinct that we were born with.”

Emma believes this is important in our everyday lives up to the very top – the politicians we vote for. She’s analysed Donald Trump’s handwriting many times. It’s all in her book, Reading between the Lines: What your handwriting says about you.

“I have analysed many celebrities and famous people from politicians, royalty and pop stars. I have uncovered all sorts of incredible things in handwriting... I discovered that Charles Dickens was extremely anxious on his wedding day from a letter that he wrote to an acquaintance and bringing us up to the modern day, that Donald Trump is far from careless with his thoughts and actions – he does little without pre-meditation.”

Emma shows how penmanship is a collection of signals that tells the world more about you, than what you’re actually writing, from your sex drive to your creativity.

Graphology can be valuable to employers for example, as ‘no acting skills can hide the personality’ in a handwritten application letter. But handwriting also plays a hugely personal part of our lives; a fingerprint of our soul.

“We are hardly likely to keep emails and texts and be looking back at them as important historical documentation of relationships. Handwritten letters take time and effort to write and send and infer an intimacy and respect that can never be obtained from modern day forms of communication. When we handwrite a letter – we choose the paper, the pen and we choose our sentiments with equal care.”

Emma Bache is appearing at 2pm on October 20 at the Crown Hotel at the Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival. Visit or call 01423 562303.