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Reading Body Language - Challenges

I was talking with my friend about developing abilities and skills of reading body language in social situations. During the discussion, he mentioned about his friend who became frustrated after starting to read people around him. Perhaps, he could not tolerate the unexpected clues given away by the people unconsciously. Many of them would be his friends, class mates, colleagues, family members, spouse and blood relatives.

The clues of negative emotions and (situational) lies can burn enthusiasm and spoil relations because an observer doesn't expect them from familiar persons at first place. Most of us have a lot of information but not the true knowledge so it's really alarming to many who get excited after reading books and website articles about body language.

In this regard, I would like to share a very interesting email that I received from another friend. He is trying hard to become a good social observer. Some text has been deliberately highlighted. For sake of privacy, I've not mentioned his name at the bottom.

Hello Sir,

It is really great to see the work you are doing for the page and community. I am really sorry that I am way too off from the page as if for now. I wanted to tell you that where I am facing problem.

Few months back, when I posted those videos. I was quite enthusiastic about it and I prepared 6 more analysis of Indian Celebrities. I started reading more and more and then I realized that I am too much into it.

The problem as with the practice, I was getting a better understanding of the nonverbal language. But, it wasn't really coming up as a boon. It started entering my personal life too much. I couldn't have a conversation without reading those few leaks of micro expressions on my classmates or friends' faces.

It gets annoying when you come to the point where you cannot just stop picking up these cues. I had quite a number of arguments and fights with people I am close with. I wasn't even able to focus on any lecture in my class as I would be busy staring at my professor for some body language cues.

My class notes had like records of at what time did say a professor ABC did and why. It is one good thing that it was trying to keep me closer to what people actually meant but I was getting closer ALONE.

For the same reason and few more things which happened, I just decided to leave for a while, till I find a good reason or a stable life where I can accept such realities.

Regards,
XXXXXX
Location: Bengaluru (Banglore), India
Date: 1st April, 2013

Negativity induced in mind of a social reader might ultimately turn it down because an unconscious mind becomes defensive very easily and instinctively. Many persons cannot overcome a shock or surprise after interpreting people around them and realizing about themselves too. High degree of impartiality, diligence and dissociation is required because an observer is also an emotional being. One has to decide what exactly it wants to make out of clues and not get involved into them as much as possible.
Professional skills are really hard to master.
It's really hard but not at all impossible to become an impartial observer and situationally aware person. It takes thousands hours of practice which includes not just reading people but also accepting some of the grave realities and limitations of human nature. After all, we're human beings and need to maintain relations with each other.

On 18th April 2013, my friend and I met in Pune. We had a very personal and serious discussion for almost an hour about issues with social reading and their resolution. Bottom line was that it's really possible to become a good and contextual reader and yet able to maintain healthy social relations. I hope that this small meeting would help him in his life and career. I wish him a great future!

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