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  1. #1
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    Default Forcing conversation

    I've lately been running into people who I haven't seen in quite a while. When I do, it seems to become painfully obvious whether or not they care to talk, or if they actually remember me.

    I believe that facial expressions and movements, eye contact or lack thereof, a quizzical look, and a general 'vibe' can all tell me a lot about where I stand with such people. Unless I really don't want to talk to them, which is exceedingly rare, I always try to connect nonverbally first, primarily via eye contact and a subtle friendly smile or something of that nature. It's hard to describe since it seems to be pretty natural for me, but you get the idea.

    When I get a sense that someone doesn't want to talk, that's fine.. I don't tend to initiate conversation with them at all, in that case. I'm not pushy about that sort of thing, and I don't want to impose. (I also don't allow my curiosity as to why they act this way to lead me to actually strike up a conversation and fish that information out of them--though it could or could not have anything to do with me at that particular moment.)

    But I'm wondering whether I rush to judgment on these things, though--whether that person actually does want to talk and I'm reading them incorrectly. But then, if they really did want to talk, they could take some initiative themselves. But then, they could just be extremely shy. But then, .. ..

    And so the cycle of thought on the subject goes, and I begin to question my own judgment at times.

    On the other hand, none of this stops my ESFJ sister when she runs into a similar situation. She'll aim to "pick up" the other person's spirits.. pretty much no matter what the cost.

    So do any of you experience something similar? How accurate are these kinds of nonverbal impressions? Am I not giving people the benefit of the doubt when I get a sense that they don't want to talk? Should I impose myself upon these people?

    Feel free to explore the topic in general.. this one ain't just about me and my specific situation, after all.

  2. #2
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    You probably shouldn't have called it "Forcing conversation" because I know from experience that people do let the name of a thread color their perception of your post.

    However, if we ignore the name, we will see that you are not talking about forcing conversation at all, at least not in a negative way.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------


    I can definitely relate to your thread, though. My posts on this board tend to have fairly consistent themes, and something I mentioned before is feeling like an outsider.

    Now, what usually happens in my case is this: say I met someone at a D&D gaming session. We had a lot of fun, and learned about each other etc. However, if a week goes by and then I pass that person in the street, I would look at them and I would get this vibe that they didn't remember me, don't want to talk to me, or don't consider me as a potential friend even though we had that great experience one week before at the D&D session.


    ----------------------
    I recently learned that part of this is the American friendship pattern where they are friendly to people they never met before, but then become colder and more distant, and then become friendly again as they get to know you better. This contrasts with the friendship pattern found in other countries where people are cold and distant at first, and then become friendly later on as they get to know you. This is known as the "Wall theory" I didn't explain it very well here, but from experience, I have definitely seen it in action.




    The one on the left is the American pattern where people are warm and friendly at first (the walls are lower) , then gradually become more distant and reserved since they don't really know you, and then the walls break down again after they get to know you.

    The one on the right is the international pattern where people are cold and distant at first (the walls are higher) then they become friendlier as they get to know you better.

    ----------------------

    However, part of it could simply be my own impressions which might be incorrect. The thing though is I don't really look for visual clues when it comes to deciding if someone is interested in talking to me. It is always an impression, a vibe, an essence. It is something intuitive, not sensory, which is why I give it more credence than I otherwise would.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by purplesunset View Post
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    Interesting.

    I definitely am the same way - generally friendly and open toward strangers but as I get to know people more, I kinda don't talk as much unless we're very common. This could be an INFPish thing too because I guess I am positive in expecting that people will be like me but if I find out they're not, I know them now but don't really want to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by branflakes View Post
    Interesting.

    I definitely am the same way - generally friendly and open toward strangers but as I get to know people more, I kinda don't talk as much unless we're very common. This could be an INFPish thing too because I guess I am positive in expecting that people will be like me but if I find out they're not, I know them now but don't really want to.
    While this behavior does make sense, I hope you see all the implications there and how it could potentially hurt someone deeply (even though it's completely inadvertent). For the person on the other end, it is not a good experience at all to go through that: Someone is warm and friendly to you the first time you meet them, you talk and have fun, then they suddenly become colder and distant the next day after they decided that they don't want to know you better. It doesn't do much for one's self-esteem.

    I hope people understand the subtlety of the situation. I'm not asking anyone to force a friendship or anything like that. That's plain silly. I'm just saying that for someone who is not aware of this "wall theory" friendship pattern, the effect could be emotionally devastating, and it would be better if the other person was initially distant and reserved, rather than initially friendly and then changing.
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    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    I do admit, sometimes I come off rather cold when I'm just shy.. I don't mean to be that way, but it's a relief (most of the time) when people are capable of conversating with minimal response from me until I get a feel for them. I'm just awkward.

    But I definitely feel you.. I don't necessarily get uncomfortable from silence, I can enjoy silence with people and appreciate it when people don't want to talk.. but.. It's impossible to tell if that's the case, or if what I mentioned above is the case!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by purplesunset View Post
    The thing though is I don't really look for visual clues when it comes to deciding if someone is interested in talking to me. It is always an impression, a vibe, an essence. It is something intuitive, not sensory, which is why I give it more credence than I otherwise would.
    same here.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by purplesunset View Post
    You probably shouldn't have called it "Forcing conversation" because I know from experience that people do let the name of a thread color their perception of your post.

    However, if we ignore the name, we will see that you are not talking about forcing conversation at all, at least not in a negative way.
    Good point.. I wouldn't want anyone to read this as if I DO force people into conversations

    The one on the left is the American pattern where people are warm and friendly at first (the walls are lower) , then gradually become more distant and reserved since they don't really know you, and then the walls break down again after they get to know you.

    The one on the right is the international pattern where people are cold and distant at first (the walls are higher) then they become friendlier as they get to know you better.
    Now that's pretty interesting, and I can see how it might apply here in the states. I haven't spent enough time out of the country to 'test the validity' of the international pattern.

    Perhaps the reasoning for the American pattern is one of egoism, for good or for bad--you begin to let a person in, and then it can get scary, so you have to protect yourself.. but then once you decide a person is worthy, you get closer again. I think the first time around being friendly, it's more of a surface-level friendliness; the second time around, it's more of a deep connection once someone has earned your trust.

    If I'm reading this right, does the international pattern also signify that one builds a wall back up again once he gets to know another person?

    However, part of it could simply be my own impressions which might be incorrect. The thing though is I don't really look for visual clues when it comes to deciding if someone is interested in talking to me. It is always an impression, a vibe, an essence. It is something intuitive, not sensory, which is why I give it more credence than I otherwise would.
    Yeah, I agree with you here. The "vibe" is what registers with me the most, and part of my line of questioning here is whether the vibe itself is enough. I also try to 'rationalize' the vibe as potentially being triggered by visual cues, though I'm not sure whether that's the case.

    Quote Originally Posted by kyuuei View Post
    I do admit, sometimes I come off rather cold when I'm just shy.. I don't mean to be that way, but it's a relief (most of the time) when people are capable of conversating with minimal response from me until I get a feel for them. I'm just awkward.
    Yeah, there's usually a difference between being cold and being shy; some can pick up on that difference, and others, unfortunately, will judge you as being cold when you really aren't.

    But I definitely feel you.. I don't necessarily get uncomfortable from silence, I can enjoy silence with people and appreciate it when people don't want to talk.. but.. It's impossible to tell if that's the case, or if what I mentioned above is the case!!
    For me, I think i can get pretty awkward if there's silence between two people without an implicit mutual understanding there. I think that might be part of the difference between the other person being cold and being shy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by greed View Post

    Now that's pretty interesting, and I can see how it might apply here in the states. I haven't spent enough time out of the country to 'test the validity' of the international pattern.

    Perhaps the reasoning for the American pattern is one of egoism, for good or for bad--you begin to let a person in, and then it can get scary, so you have to protect yourself.. but then once you decide a person is worthy, you get closer again. I think the first time around being friendly, it's more of a surface-level friendliness; the second time around, it's more of a deep connection once someone has earned your trust.
    I'm glad you mentioned that the first time around is a more superficial kind of friendliness compared to the deeper one that happens later.


    This causes confusion though. To the American, that first time friendliness is meant to be a superficial, "getting to know you" kind of thing, but the foreigner takes it seriously and interprets the friendliness as meaning more than that. Because of the confusion, they feel deeply hurt or betrayed later on, or they mistakenly start to think that Americans are insincere or something.

    On the flip side, Americans in a foreign country with a different pattern could incorrectly conclude that the people there are too cold and despair about ever finding friends.


    Quote Originally Posted by greed View Post
    If I'm reading this right, does the international pattern also signify that one builds a wall back up again once he gets to know another person?
    Yeah, that puzzled me at first too. I think the international pattern is meant to be read from both sides. So if people are coming from either the left or the right, then they will encounter those high walls initially.
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