Better a Witty Fool than a Foolish Wit

Inner Workings of My Twisted Mind.

Non-Verbal Communication

I’ve had a number of conversations in the past few weeks that revolved, either directly or indirectly with non-verbal communication, especially between women.  It all started with a story I’m writing, which, as cliche as this is, is based on certain people that I’m close to, a group of friends.  One of my friends (on whom I’ve based one of the characters) and I were out to breakfast and we were talking about our tight knit group of friends and how we communicate non-verbally now.  Neither of us were really sure when the point was that we were able to read each others body language and facial expressions so flawlessly that we could stop speaking certain things out loud, but we knew that this was something we didn’t start out knowing and learned in the many years of our friendship.  I can tell when this particular friend is lying to herself and I can tell when she needs to lie to herself and when I need to call her on it.  I can tell from far away if she’s talking to someone she doesn’t like, I can tell if she has to pee.  This is all reciprocal of course.  My friends read me like a book, often better than I read myself.  They know when to push certain issues and when to leave them alone, and I don’t have to say anything.

The other conversation I had was with my mom.  She was talking about how, since her house is now mostly testosterone, it has changed from when I lived there, when it was mostly estrogen.  When I was a kid my mom and I never had rules per say.  We didn’t need rules.  I knew when I was doing something that was going to cause that look or a shouting outburst.  She never rarely needed to tell me that what I was doing was wrong, I could just read it.  If I was playing my music too loud, her head would poke in the door and her eyes would connect with mine and I would turn the music down, no harm, no foul, no talking.  Now there are rules in that house, there have to be, because the men that inhabit it aren’t in tune with her like I am.  And sure, you can argue that mothers and daughters have a kind of sixth sense, an ability to communicate that trumps any other relationship and any other communication alley, but I think it’s more than that.    
The third conversation, and perhaps my favorite one occurred approximately seven years ago, when I was still in High School.  I was watching a choir concert with a girlfriend of mine and one of our guy friends.  Three of our other girlfriends were in the choir and we were watching them.  After a few minutes my friend and I started laughing and asking each other what our friends were talking about up on the stage.  Our guy friend was completely lost, the three girls on stage were on three separate parts and were in the middle of singing, but they were most definitely communicating.  My friend and I had to actually walk through the conversation with our guy friend, who, even after a while of teaching, didn’t understand what was going on.  
One of my favorite things about close friendships is the presence of non-verbal communication.  It’s one thing to recognize by someone’s body language that they are cold or uncomfortable.  It’s a completely other thing to understand every nuance of what they are feeling simply by watching them sit on the couch and watch t.v.  
There is a point here, and I’m getting to it right now.  My mom and I disagreed about this point so I’m opening up the forum for discussion.  Do men share this weird Shining-like connection?  My point of view is that in long term relationships men learn to read their partners in such a way (I would guess it comes from getting yelled at many times by their wives and girlfriends), but they have to learn it, and the learning curve is much much longer.  Within the first two years of my closest friendships I was able to read my friends.  But that ability never goes away.  I’ve gone years without seeing certain friends and can still read them as soon as we get back together.  But do men experience relationships the same way?  Are male friendships as in tune as female friendships, and if so, where’s the non-verbal communication?  
From all my experience with men and watching male friends bond together and interact with each other, it seems that that kind of communication isn’t a factor?  One of my guy friends says that it’s because guys say what they mean.  
What’s the answer here?  And did I even ask a question?
Peace, Love and Body Language, 
Julia
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August 19, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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