“Will you be able to drive the kids to soccer tonight?”
“Have you got your homework?”
“Where did you last see it?”
“Have a great day.”
“The report is on my desk.”
“How can I help you?”
“Did you hear the latest?”
…and the conversations continue until bedtime only to begin again with the morning’s alarm.
Our daily lives are filled with questions and answers, statements and recounts, but have you considered what else you are saying?
Have you ever:
- shushed someone who has entered the room anxious to speak to you but you’re watching television so you signal them to sit then only respond to them during a commercial?
- told your kids you’re too busy to read to them or play a game or help with their homework when you’re checking your emails and reading the latest jokes being passed around?
- rushed in front of someone, swung open the door and passed through it quickly, allowing the door to swing closed behind you?
- rolled your eyes at someone else’s comments?
- carried on a text conversation with someone when you are out for dinner with someone else?
…and the list does not stop here. It could continue for pages.
We all likely do these things from time to time – I know I have, and on more than one occasion I am not proud to admit (although I try only to do the last one for child-related reasons).
What we aren’t conscious of in these moments of seemingly insignificant, non-verbal interactions, is the effect we are having on the recipient. We are saying to them:
You Are Not Important To Me.
Through grimaces, snorts, smirks, body postures, dropping eye-contact, turning our heads, turning our backs, walking away, we make thousands of non-verbal gestures every day.
Of course not all non-verbal messages are negative. Smiles, winks, glimmers in your eyes, hugs, kissed, and laughter, to name a few, are all positive loving indications that the person is important.
The ratio of negative to positive is what needs to be considered.
Only by becoming mindful of these non-verbal ‘conversations’ and their impact on others, especially those we hold most dear, will we have the greatest chance for meaningful positive impacts on our future interactions, building toward strong positive relationships.