Friday, February 27, 2009

Reading into things

A very large percentage of communication is non-verbal. We're taught to read body language and inflection and eye contact, and a myriad of other things. Some are better at these things than others, but that is not what we're talking about today.

At lunch today, I accused my friend of reading too much into my body language and inflection about what we were getting for lunch. He insisted I had this "He's going to say no" look on my face when I invited him to lunch and was confused about the way I said "The convenience store is fine" for picking up drinks. I insisted that I wasn't worried about him saying "no", though, honestly, I might have been, since our relationship is rocky at best, but the convenience store really was fine. Perfect, actually.

So, a few hours later, I'm back in my office and chatting with another guy friend as I wind down my work week. He sends me a link to a funny picture, and I laugh and thank him. He then says: "My sister sent that to me. She has such a great sense of humor."

Now, I don't have body language or inflection to go with this, so I can only guess as to what he means. Is he likening me to his sister as in that's how he sees me? Or, is he saying I'd appreciate it because my sense of humor is likewise great?

I think it's the latter. At least, I hope it's the latter, because I do kind of like this guy. But, I think of other aspects of our relationship, and I think maybe he does just see me as a sister-type or "just one of the guys". Incidentally, he's the same one who called me a modified form of my last name.

Who knows? But it's safe to say we all read into things a little more than we probably should. Still, if you nod enthusiastically when I say we should play soon, I'm going to assume you agree, just as I'll figure you don't care about what I just said if you're paying more attention to a computer game than to me. So, if you don't want me to think those things, make sure you don't suggest them, either with words or without.