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The Art of Reading Other People [Feb. 4th, 2004|12:25 pm]
Finished reading another chapter of "Everybody's Normal Till You Get to Know Them" last night. It was about the art of reading people. He compared this to being to be abe road signs to safely drive a car. (And joked that just as we license new drivers after they pass a test, there should be "relationship licencss" that would only be issued after you demonstrated you could read the body language signs of others.)

There were 5 signs. One of them was stop. Some people don't know how to read the stop signs of others - stop taking, stop lecturing, stop meddling, stop gossiping. Wow, haven't we all know people like this?

The concept he advanced that I found the most intriguing was how moods are transmitted. Psychological studies were done putting 3 random people together in a room. The person who had the most dominant emotions ended up passing the mood on to the other 2 after only 20 minutes, regardless of the moods of the other two going in. The author then describes it as if we are all emotional ATMs that dispense emotional credits or debits to the people around us all day.

One of the questions at the end of the chapter is "who is an emotional credtor and an emotional debtor in your life?"

I have a friend who, although I like her, I find emotionally draining. She doesn't listen to me, preferring to talk herself. She constant gives me advice. If I tell her of a problem I'm having with someone, she'll play devil's advocate and argue the other person's side instead of listening to me. No matter what mood I'm in when she calls, I always feel worse when I get off the phone with her.

By contrast, I always feel good when I talk to someone like Athena or Acorn-girl. The fact that I drove to Centrum last night to have tea with Acorn-girl in the middle of a snow advisory shows that I must be receiving some emotional credits from being around her.

Lots to think about. And I want to do a better job of being an emotional creditor to others, if not doing some of the other stuff described in the chapter.