One of my favorite coworkers is someone that I have only talked to a handful of times. This person is one of the most genuine I have met here and actually puts their defense down when they are having a conversation. They report to one of the managers that I took my management course with so it was funny when I bumped into them in the lunch room and they were talking about one of the projects I am working on. We had a small conversation and I moved on to consume my cafeteria food.
Today I saw that coworker in the elevator and I said, “Wow you have a lot in your mind.” Then she surprised the hell out of me by not trying to cover up her expression or totally put things our her mind to converse, she continued to be deep into thought and smiled. She smiled and said, “you are totally right, but there is always tons of things going on at the same time here. (pointing to her head)”
Non verbal communication and facial expressions are very easy for me to read. The people I know the best or interact with the most are the ones that I can read the best, and for the most part they hate it. From my wife not being able to hide that she is super worried about something or annoyed with me, from my Mom’s or sister’s faces when they have not told me about something.
I had a long conversation with a friend I have not talked to for 15 years. We went to high school together and he got kicked out of school a year before I left. We lost touch and we never really used to hang out at school. I was friends with him because his grandma live across the street from us, and I was good friends with one of his cousins. At school he hang out with another “clique” one of the members being one of my biggest bullies. The bully did come up during our conversation but it had been from him not really talking or wanting friendship with the dude anymore after some bad business ventures they had engaged on after college.
Being bullied in high school made me very introspective. There had to be something wrong with me for people to want to pick on me so much. I found many answers, but the common theme of why I was being picked on (and even what my friend told me) was age. I was younger and while they were worried about screwing the brains out of their girlfriends I was still excited just the thought of getting to second base. It actually was nothing that I could really help, but still the source of much of my torment.
My fascination with non verbal communication was also due to loving being around grown ups. I always wanted to see if I could hold a conversation with someone way smarter than I was. I also loved talking to my grandpa and hearing his stories. It made me more aware of all the facial expressions and adults became easier to read with time. I knew which ones were just humoring me and which ones were actually talking to me. I still experience that feeling with the people that make small talk instead of having real conversations, that is the way that adults that don’t care much about kids talk to them. I have always found that if you talk to kids like a person they react way better in most situations.
During college I was made aware of things that I said too much. “you know” was and still is one of my sentence completion quirks. Also when I first lived in Michigan I could not shut up about Chicago. I was and still am very unaware of what I say sometimes, despite the fact that I try to watch what I say. Others can recognize those patterns a lot easier than we can.
Going back to my coworker. The first time we actually it was right after our cars almost crashed in our way to the parking lot. I was making a left turn and she got freaked out possibly because she was not paying attention to the road. We parked our cars and I apologized for startling her and she said no biggie. It turned out that I actually had to do something for her group the week following. Later I found out who she reported to and I’ve had to have a couple of conversations since the. She is always very relaxed and does not put on her poker face mask when engaging in conversation. I don’t know many people like that.