Wednesday, December 06, 2006

There's only so much creative energy

Appologies to anyone who cared that I haven't posted in a month. It seems that I am incapable of divying up my creative energy between important school essays and extra-curricular writing. Don't feel ripped off...I haven't done much of anything else this semester either. To re-invigorate my supposedly non-fictive habits, I present the following:

On Social Inhibition

Do you ever see a stranger on the bus and just know that that person has no idea that he's standing too close, that no one wants to discuss the ins and outs of the weather (especially with a stranger) or that a book or headphones mean willing disengagement with the surrounding environment?

Surely you have an acquaintance or two that you really dread meeting by chance and end up getting locked into tedious, uncomfortable conversation despite your best efforts.

The thing that we can't seem to understand when this happens is why the other person doesn't realise that they aren't welcome, that we don't wish to talk to them. We do all the regular things that are supposed to communicate the "no-go" signal: avoid eye contact, appear otherwise engaged, close off body language, and keep conversation to a minimum whenever possible. But nothing seems to work.

It occurs to me...a few months ago really...not recently at all....that the way we treat these people must at some point make thier social defficiency even worse. If you were trying to engage people on a one to one basis, and you were always treated like a social leper, perhaps you would begin to recognise that as a normal social interaction. The normalisation would push you further and further to the fringes of society, because you honestly couldn't recognise that what you were doing was wrong. It may eventually result in complete ostracism, which I think is very very depressing. Surely there is a way in which we can alter our communication patterns in such a way as to make ourselves understood? To correct this destructive behaviour before it ruins someone's life?

I feel like there is some overlapping characteristics here with romantic engagement, but am sort of at a loss to explain it just now. Suffice to say that when whatever you are trying is
not working, there must be some way around it. Communication does not simply fail. It's just a matter of trying a different approach.


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