Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Skill of People Watching

Observing visual cues are a very important aspect regarding our perceptions and observations about our world. We all probably have some level of skill observing people's body language however some of us have more skill than others. Anecdotally, I find those who lack that specific awareness as probably the most capable of annoying others (or myself).

When some one's posture is stiff or rigid it can mean many things including someone who might be experiencing pain or discomfort or perhaps feeling some level of frustration or tension. Further clues would include facial grimace or a tight clench of the fist. Maybe it's time to run in the other direction but first look at the eyes because that can often be the telltale sign of reading the emotion or by looking at the person's facial expression.

It doesn't seem overly difficult to be able to read another person's facial expression or perhaps my experience or practice makes me more proficient in that area. Part of this involves eye contact. I get very nervous with someone who doesn't make eye contact with me. What are they trying to hide? Self conscious people have difficulty making eye contact and this can often be misread as rudeness or disinterest. Some people also believe that when people are not being truthful they are not able to maintain eye contact. A good sociopath probably can fool us though.

When you are speaking with someone you can usually tell how interested they are by how they maintain eye contact, nod their head, or hold a stationary position. I've witnessed people walk away as you are trying to talk and engage them and if this happens it's fairly certain they are not interested in what you are saying so stop trying.

People are not that difficult to read if you take the time to observe their behavior. Of course you can make some wrong guesses but it's also possible you might have some success at surmising a person's mood or intent. Isn't that sort of true of animals too? When a dog wags its tale doesn't that mean he's probably friendly? Unfortunately people do not have a tail to wag and don't usually bite.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Walter Mitty's World

I do not know if I am boring but I can tell you I am hardly ever bored. Somehow a very long time ago I learned how to keep my mind busy. Maybe I'm simple minded but it apparently doesn't take much to amuse me. I don't mind being alone. I'm not a lonely person.

It certainly helps that I enjoy reading so my mind is often occupied reading something even if it is just the back of the cereal box. My curiosity tends to keep my mind active as well as possessing a healthy imagination
Visually I'm always scanning, noticing the environment surrounding me. I admit to being an avid people watcher, not critical more quizzical. In airports, I'll make up little stories about people, where they might be going and extrapolate regarding their traveling companions
I'll make a further distinction that my mind is not obsessed with worried thoughts. Actually there is a large portion of randomness and free association that often prevails. I'm always having internal conversations with myself and humor is often on the edge of whatever thoughts my mind generates. I'm not afraid of my thoughts and just about anything is fair game. Once in awhile I shock myself but since it is just me and my thoughts I'm not likely to get myself in any trouble as long as I know it's not reality.

The difficult task is to remain in the" here and now " and to be careful not to over intellectualize. Being present is a wonderful place to be and life can be as interesting as I choose to make it.So I may be a bit of a day dreamer at times but that does not mean that I am preoccupied with my own thoughts to the extent I miss what is going on.

Okay, so I know I'm a bit weird sometimes......but usually harmless.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Flash from the past

Not everyone is engaged to technology. There are more and more people though regardless of age who are growing more comfortable with using the computer for recreational purposes. I have a few acquaintances who use their computer all day at work and so do not really have much of an interest in sitting in front of the screen and keyboard to catch up with friends on facebook or blog. "Not everyone has a blog. Oh really?"

I recently ran across a site which involved the hometown I grew up in and there were several people on facebook that I was able to remember from my childhood and from the old neighborhood. It was great fun catching up. This led to my coming upon a site for my old high school where you just type in the year you graduated and "poof" there it all is. Many female classmates that married no longer have their maiden name anymore but with a little detective work I was able to determine that one of my friends from high school was listed. We grew up together all the way back in grammar school and used to occasionally engage in our own form of mischief and rights of passage. We pierced eachother's ears and she taught me how to shave my legs for the first time.

I decided to take a chance and contact her via facebook and it was her. We grew apart as friends around 7th or 8th grade when she began to hang around with a much older group of kids and I had not quite gained that level of maturity or interest yet in the opposite sex. We were always friendly towards each other but just began to move in different circles. These things happen. She never attended any of the high school reunions that I managed to get to so there was always a bit of mystery about how her life might have turned out. When I would get together with old friends whom I remained close with since childhood invariably her name would come up when we would talk about old times but no one knew what happened to our old friend Gloria.

Now we have begun to catch up a bit with each other and I have also given her the names of a few of our old pals on facebook and we're all connecting again. Her life is not any different than mine, the usual work, kids, family, etc. Nostalgia is a great thing. We're talking about maybe arranging to meet for lunch with a few other old friends when my travel plans include a trip "home".