Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Misread of Intentions?

Alright, I'm starting to feel back together again. Writing that blog post yesterday and doing some introspection on my drive to work has given me more insight in to the nature of the situation and a possible remedy. Overall I feel like I'm getting over the funk.

Revelation: What if I'm acting in certain ways that are causing people to misinterpret me?

You can hear it on common occasion where you'll hear someone pass a certain estimate on someone based on their mannerisms, only that they'll completely misinterpret the mannerisms and reach a mistaken conclusion about the person when things are truly otherwise. For instance, I've heard of cases where people in school will assume that the kid who is silent and seldom sociable is a "stuck up," when really they're only shy. The kid's behavior is sending an easy to misinterpret signal to others, so while they're just shy, the mistaken conclusion, if spread, can stir up resentment amongst the other peers.

Of course, it's not absolute that people will misinterpret one's mannerisms or behavior, but it is likely to be common, especially in this day and age where people are unlikely to have conscious standards as to how they judge people.

So what if that applies to me? I've experienced a lot of unjustifiable hostility and negativity from other people to be sure, but what percentage of those people are actually good people simply misreading my mannerisms? Dealing with so many bad people has made me develop some bad habits: I tend not to factor people too much into my life, don't invest much energy into conversations, sometimes ignore people in favor of being totally silent, and so on. I've been habituated in thinking that most of the people I will continue to meet will be non-values or negative influences, so I tend to try to do my own thing while phasing out other people. I'm certainly not rude or offensive in my manner when I interact with others, but just maybe my own withdrawing into myself is being interpreted by others as being "stuck up."

This at least tells me to be much more careful about the signals I give off to other people and to be more thorough in enumerating the possibilities of what someone's behavior could indicate. People can't see the thoughts inside my head as I cannot theirs. People have to depend on each other's perceptual and verbal communications because literal mind-reading is impossible. As such, carelessness in one's gestures can certainly send off the wrong message.

From here, I shall work harder to maintain more awareness of what I'm doing. In introspecting, for instance, I've noticed that in the past I've sometimes been very consistent in greeting a coworker when I come in and then will suddenly lapse in keeping up that habit suddenly for several weeks, which may be a possible reason why my dealings with that coworkers suddenly became hostile: They may have read my random inconsistency as a stuck-up rejection.

Such awareness won't cure all the problems, though, I know, because there are those people who have nearly inexplicable hostility towards me. As mentioned before, those people who quiver at anger at the sound of my voice despite my using a polite tone and gestures, and having never met them before. Those people probably have irrational premises they need to deal with. But increasing my awareness, at least, will enable me to avoid driving good people away as I probably have been. 

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