By nature, I am a people watcher. I don’t think this is something I was born being. For me, watching others, studying them and learning to predict their moods and actions as best I could was much more a matter of personal safety and survival. If you ever had a substance abuser in your home, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
People watching has turned into something different for me as I have gotten older. Like I said, as a child there was a self protective motivation behind doing that. With age, I have used it both as a means of entertainment (yes…so shoot me, lol), but really as a means of understanding people and their motivations more. It has also helped me to develop closer relationships with the important people in my life.
One thing a lot of people forget is that only 7% of what we communicate to each other is through spoken/written word. Another 38% is communicated through our tone of voice. That leaves us with 55% of what we communicate in our daily lives being communicated through body language. As a counselor in training, I learned more about what deeply troubled my clients through their body language than anything else…not what they reported to me.
As I have disclosed to people on my journey, studying their body language as I share the path I am on is always important to me. I have had people tell me they accept and support me when, in fact, their body language conveys anything but that spoken message. And those people, after that disclosure, usually go ghost on me. Of the ones who do support me, their body language and tone of voice helps me differentiate between the person who supports me in healthy ways and the person who, while they support me, also views me as some fascinating social or biological experiment.
That last statement is another discussion for another day…
55% though. Did you know that? If you aren’t a big people watcher, try it some time when you are at a park or event/location with a significant number of people around. Maybe you’ll be able to figure out the people who are playing nice but really can’t stand each other. Maybe you will be able to spot the couple in the midst of the lovers’ quarrel. Maybe you will be able to pick out the person sharing their darkest pains with someone and that someone truly supporting them.
If you aren’t already good at reading body language, watching the crowds can be invaluable. The skills carry over to every relationship you will have. Many of my friends will tell you I can pick their mood by their tone of voice and/or their body language. Often times, these friends are grateful that I can do that because I will usually catch them when something is wrong which they are trying to hide. That usually leads to some of our best conversations as they find relief in someone noticing and caring enough to ask them more about what’s going on.
Wouldn’t that be a great gift to give to someone you care about? To know their moods without them even saying a word? I think it is.
And guess what. If you get REALLY good at it, you can usually pick up on moods just through written word too, like most of us use in SL. What an amazing gift that is to your friends in world!
See it on Flickr.
Foxcity – Vacant 5 [Arm adjustment made with Animare]
Beer Stand – Keg Sconce
Beer Stand – Sign 6