Indirect Communication (2)
This is Sean, back in the saddle and ready to ride, so to speak.
We are together again. After exploring some verbal communication that can be less than helpful; hints, clues, etc.
This time we are going to peak into the potential pitfalls of signs and signals when trying to communicate and understand each other.
“Smiling is sometimes the sign of invitation, but do not take it seriously if it is only someone’s habit.”Ehsan Sehgal
In other words, we can look at the signs in our lives and consider how well they inform us about the world around us. Signs we are considering include:
- Stop Signs
- Speed Limit Signs
- Animal X-ing
- Children at Play
Traffic signs are generally understood as being internationally understood. However, the German word for traffic is also used for intercourse. Stop signs are pretty clear but many if not most of our traffic signs are open to interpretation. This is also true of the signs we experience in our intimate lives as well.
Speaking of traffic signs, most of these are related to potential, in both directions (more/less, faster/slower). And, there are often more than one sign posted together. This suggests that the sign is not expressing exactly what is happening when we see the signs. A good example of these are the animal crossing and children signs. The truth is that there might be animals and/or children. The message is more accurately pay attention than „children at play“ or „Bear Crossing“. This often leave us to our own devices and expects us to understand and react “accordingly“. Hence, we are responsible for our reaction and the result. This can be a heavy burden in the bedroom. We can avoid being singularly responsible and absolutely to blame by actively communicating and actively listening to each other.
Seen the sign
We have seen the sign(s) and we are expected to act accordingly. On the one hand this can be helpful for further exploration, on the other hand there are no definite or clear instructions/ direction. Through active listening and asking questions we can confirm our understanding of the signs we see.
and then there is also:
Looking at advertising we have to remember that the advertiser is both attempting to inspire a reaction and a result. Thus, the message is often full of “meaning” and inference.
Form and Function
This meaning and inference is often culturally and socially specific and can be easily misunderstood. Let`s consider the experience of an American baby food company which tried to break into the African Market. The company’s very successful strategy and marketing included picture of beautiful pink smiling babies on the jars. Unfortunately, African food labels on cans and jars are known to picture the contents. Hence the African shoppers thought the jars contained babies as food!
Considering how devasting such a misunderstanding can be in our relationships. It is always a good idea to discuss and actively interpret the signs you and your partner use with one another; together. This can be done often. Some signs and interpretations and meanings can change over time. The clearer we are with each other, the better our communication and intimacy can flow.
This is Sean. Try being kinder to yourself (and those around you) for a minute, an hour, a day, a week, and see what happens.
Love to hear your thoughts. Till next time! Our earlier Blog-Lessons: