How Studying Body Language Changed the Way I Socialize - Dear Charlotte: A Life of Self-Improvement
Jason Belich stashed this in hope
I've been undergoing a similar transformation for the past nine months or so. I picked up a book called The Definitive Book of Body Language, and I've made a little rule for myself: "Empathy should precede all social interactions." Whenever I start talking to someone, or if the conversation is going toward something more serious, I look deeply into their eyes, and I try to mirror and hold their emotional state in my heart.
The results have been fascinating. I end up in less arguments, and I have much less post-social anxiety. It's like I know the reaction my words are going to have before I make them. I feel like Neo at the end of The Matrix now. I was waiting for a flight at the airport the other day, and it's like I could see an emotional label hovering over everybody. "This person's uneasy. This one's stressed out. This other one, he's uncertain. That couple over there, they're happy."
This is awesome:
He used to rub people the wrong way, giving robotic/functional responses. For example, if someone came up to him and said, "Oh man, I'm tired," he would respond, "Why don't you sleep more?" If someone said, "I like this band," he would say, "They're okay." In his mind, he was just being accurate and honest, but in actuality he put people off and had very few friends.
And so, one day, he decided to make a conscious effort to read people's body language, to establish a context by which to base his social interactions. And now that he's mentioned it, I recall moments when his eyes had widened intently when he had talked to me. I now realize that the whole time that I was working with him, he was very deliberately scanning me for tone, feeling, and overall demeanor.
Some people just get it... but we aspies have to do it manually!
One of the rules of software is to do something manually until you can automate it. :)