One time a deaf person told me I was pretty. I responded that he was sweet.
“Thank you,” he signed.
“No, thank YOU,” I signed back.
He frowned at me, appalled, then immediately walked away. At first, I couldn’t figure out why someone would leave in the middle of a pleasant interaction (especially one where I was called pretty), but then it hit me. To him, I said, “No thank you,” Which is a very bitchy response to a compliment, don’t you think? I wasn’t thinking about the differences between tone (so to speak), and the way my implied comma didn’t translate, and the poor dear left before I could explain.
Put that one in the ‘Oops’ category. Sometimes you just have to offend a few Deaf people before you learn how you’re coming off.
Last night at supper, my new sister-in-law was talking about wedding planning, and my brother made a gesture of some kind (I didn’t see).
“Don’t act like you know what’s been going on with that,” S-I-L answered.
“What?!” Brother responded, “I didn’t say anything!”
Though it wasn’t my place to intervene, I replied, “You didn’t have to.”
This is probably the argument Z and I have most frequently, and I’m sure he’s really happy about the fact that I’m putting this on the internet for all to read. (Including his mother. Hey, T!)
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.
According to Nonverbal Communication experts (and yes, this is a legitimate area of study), your nonverbals communicate about 70% of a message to the listener, 20% is from your actual voice, and 10% of the message is interpreted by the words themselves.
Are you actively aware of the way you’re being interpreted?
The other day, a young woman added my boyfriend on facebook without adding me. So, in the car, I said to her, in a jovial tone, “Bitch, I know you don’t think you can add my boyfriend and not me. That’s just Girl Code shit right there.” She laughed, I laughed. The next day, she sent me a friend request.
[By the way, if not for this blog, I would delete facebook altogether. I’ve just had enough.]
Had I frowned and said, “You are a bitch and you have violated the Girl Code,” the message would have been interpreted quite differently. She would not have sent a friend request.
I admit, I have had to work on this in the past. My tendency is to blurt, but I think I’m getting better. No one has darted away from an interaction lately. Not that I can remember.
This week, your homework is to think about your “Emotional Wake.” How do people feel when they’re done talking with you? Do you energize others, or stress them out?
Things to consider:
Taking Turns Talking
Alcohol/Drug use (I’m half-kidding… but if you’re messed up on Xanax, you’re probably not a good listener)
Dress (are you accidentally telling people that you’re a slob?)
Active Listening Behaviors (smiling, nodding, mirroring)
Of those whom you are most drawn to, (“She’s the life of the party!” “He loves to laugh.”) what are they doing to create a positive ‘wake’ ? Of those whom you hate being around, (“Ugh, she’s an energy vampire!”) what behaviors of theirs would you like to avoid?
Get back to me in a month. Let me know how others start responding to you.
Not Naming Names,
“I just want you all to know that I am PRO pizza.”