The Contrast of Communication
Communication could be a mess and hard to sit up with. Our emotions get in the way of processing other people’s messages. Everything seems so personal when in fact it is not.
I know this because I was so shy, you know, that everything seemed to be a challenge.
To switch from boring platonic conversation to flowy unfiltered speech you have to be in the right state of mind. I have been struggling with that countless times and it still happens, especially when you travel. Living in a country speaking a foreign language is a different level of communication.
One thing though applies for both contexts (being home or abroad). For me that is to be willing to be vulnerable, to humiliate yourself by stepping forwards expressing your thoughts. It is essential for my sanity to practice freedom of speech.
Conversely, some sophisticated folks might choose to stay polite.
Communication is something everyone does daily unless you live in a cave. Despite how often we practice flicking our tongues and expressing ourselves for important or less important things it is not always pleasant.
However, I am here to say how to make those pleasant conversations happen more often.
If you are shy and socially uncomfortable radical self-expression is the pill you have to swallow.
Getting used to that uneasiness will only help you move forward.
Strangers aren’t usually supportive when you want to make new friends, but you may convert them if you approach them with a full cup, instead of trying to such their energy because you don’t really feel yourself that day.
There are many professionals practicing speaking in different formats, from teacher, lawyer, and politician who are masters within their social realms.
But I am here to state that you don’t have to be one of them to feel smoother than, perhaps you feel right now.
Converaste for Hours
“But how can I never lose my thought again or run out of things to say?” some might ask.
Sometimes I am just thinking about how to start a conversation too much. Or they say “Hi!” and nothing follows. Don’t be surprised if that happens.
Own your life by owning every conversation you have. Make it a habit.
Being more assertive doesn’t happen with growing older, it happens when you practice more often.
And seriously don’t think about it too much.
Do you think of what to talk about with your friends?
For me, it doesn’t matter, and mostly the silence matters. If you are worried to have a moment or two of tranquility, something ain’t right. And yes, having those awkward moments of silence might be stressful with a stranger, but who cares if you never see them again – you are not losing a friend.
That only tells me it didn’t go so well this time, but I can try better tomorrow.
Every day is a new beginning.
Authority can sometimes make you stiff, just tense because the stakes appear high. You don’t want to make mistakes and risk your reputation. I get it, but by thinking through all that it might get even worse.
Breath in, breath out, relax.
Introvert vs Extrovert
That is the “best” excuse you can have as an introvert, to stay away from having conversations.
Some people love surprises, others don’t.
I get it.
Some people love to talk, others don’t.
This I believe however it is reversible if you are that person who is used to be quite. But it takes work though.
Frankly, nobody is either extrovert or introvert, we are a mix of both. Those are the two extremes on the same spectrum.
It only matters if you want to learn how to use your other hand – developing ambidexterity. Of course, you might be better at writing using your right hand, but you can also learn to use your left if you want. In fact, you might be just as good writing with your weeker hand, if you don’t give it a try though you won’t believe it.
My intent with this analogy you have just read above is to show you how the impossible is possible. I believe you just have to get decent, to see what it is like, to see that it is actually possible to lose yourself socially.
It is true to say I was introvert before and I also feel so now, sometimes. My truth is that it is not about who you are, but rather what is your current state of mind.
When I was in High School I was shy to talk with not only girls, just people in general. The only way for me to shift was to immerse myself into the extreme of doing the opposite. Meaning that I needed to make myself act a fool, act as if I am confident socially while I was only confident to play World of Warcraft.
Think about it, how otherwise can you compensate for the whole that time you had spent being quite?
Make a challenge with yourself, or a friend, just talk with people a little more than usual everywhere you go. Imagine you just order a pizza on the phone, you can always ask two more extra questions, just for the conversation, something casual.
I love when I get absorbed in a deep conversation with my friends or people I have just met. It happens both ways, and it is priceless, to say the least. The richness of being free to express yourself is a byproduct of getting in the zone. I love flowing in the zone. This is a recipe for a good time without caring too much what you say or do, because words just flow from within you.
Communication is for both introverts and extroverts. We are all living in a society, whether you are living in America, Africa, Europe or otherwise, and that includes being social sometimes.
Why not learn to enjoy it?
As a male, I can speak from my perspective. Flirt certainly could trigger a flow state when you just click with somebody. It definitely can put you in the zone for a while.
Here are two definitions from Merriam-Webster:
- to behave amorously without serious intent
- to show superficial or casual interest or liking
The way I understand it is — a playful exploration of selves between two people in safe (hypothetical) scenarios. And here I want to highlight that it is not only about you, but another person also has to participate as well. Meaning there should already a dialog going on between you two.
I don’t want to tell you how to flirt, I am neither life couch nor dating coach. What I want to say is that it is possible to have a great time with it even if you don’t feel particularly excited to do it.
Talking with friends for hours on a dark cold bench in the winter is something probably nobody would sign up from home. Surprisingly it happens, only because of where the conversation goes in the moment , spontaneously.
Casualty leads to spontaneity which could be leading to a flirty conversation if you drop a few interpersonal intentions without appearing too serious.
Some of those conversations are leading to nowhere, speaking about a conspiracy for example, but immensely intriguing. Others might lead to a new business idea or a disruptive new technology project, who knows, it is only about having a good time.
The nature of the conversation is always unknown.
The Danger of Being Polite
What does it mean to be polite?
Is it polite to hold eye contact with a stranger?
Being polite definitely has its subjective meaning, but one thing stood out for me.
In the vast globalized and free world, we have accepted to being polite when somebody is too emotional. As if we are doing good to that person retaining some inner conflicts that we might have with his reaction, but we want to calm him/her down so we swallow the pill.
Being too polite can kill the social vibe. It is a job though, for some people, but are you a doorman or you are being yourself?
Naive and Polite for me are words in contrast.
Being polite is to filter your words, being naive is to speak your mind completely. There are always measures, that you shouldn’t overstep at both ends.
I respect people who have courage to say the truth, although it is not always appropriate, timing matters.
All I am saying is that knowing my personal values and living in integrity requires me to appear may be a bit sharp sometimes. And shutting myself up never served me great, just to make others feel comfortable.
Yes, body language comprehension adds to your flow in conversation. I am probably not the first who says body language is an important topic to understand.
Reading social cues requires practice, it isn’t an innate ability. We aren’t born with a clear map of what people communicate with their bodies and facial expressions. We need to learn, although women, the science says, are naturally more apt to catch those social cues.
“You were never taught to speak with your face how you speak with words”
~ Paul Ekman ~
Have you ever said things that offend people?
I know I did, and truth it is that it happens because I don’t pay attention to others so much at that time. I say things I don’t really mean, and I sometimes can make it up If I excuse myself before it is too late.
That is what social calibrations represents, the ability to respond appropriately to who others react. But you can’t do that if you are not present listening or neglecting obvious body language signs in others.
People are far from perfect. You are not, neither am I, but here is what I believe I managed to get better at.
Learning to observe others body langue helps us to map out what our words and actions make cause in others and the vice versa. Thus calibration is about catching other people’s tone of voice and body language.
I remember when I was in High School I got into it so much form the TV show “Lie to Me” with Tim Roth playing the primary role. The show was about a psychologist Cal Lightman and his crew. They are hired by organizations in the business of catching liers.
Do you want to know who is a lier and who is not?
The good news is that you can become such a person even if you are not. The professional is not me, it is Paul Ekman, he also has a book called “Emotions Revealed”
This essay made me reflect on what is communication and being social for me – how to get in the zone talking.
Not every conversation is fun and easy-going, but you can have more of those if you put in some effort to be that person who has fun socially.
Change your mood to change your mind.
Communication is a gateway to fall in the zone. It doesn’t happen every time I open my mouth, but those above the things you need to be aware in order to trigger such a state. Being in flow is always fun, and enriching, great things could follow.
So in nutshell, being too polite, believing you are introvert, or being too serious can only hold you back from having fun talking.
I believe that the art of talking without saying anything is what leads to flow in casual conversations. It is a good place to start if you feel shy, that is how I grew more confident around people around the globe.
Different situations set different time frame of the interactions, whether that is going to be at the bus station, at the office, with your friends at home, on a special occasion, or just a date.
Don’t be too polite, relax, step in a little more if you have to. But remain respectful. That only way to be sure of respecting others is to observe — yourself and others.
The picture I am trying to paint here with all these words written is that when you bring your smile and positive mood people appreciate it. The conversation is another tool to find the key to a flow state, the state of mind that I am so hooked upon.
And the beauty of it all is that when it clicks, not only you fall in the zone, you enable others as well.