Contests don’t interest me. So I have never entered a staring one. Don’t even understand what the purpose is. Unless you are a dog I am facing.
Yes, eye contact. I have to remind myself to not lock eyes with my opposite. I do look at people intently. Children are good that way. They do too. And then we smile at each other – complete strangers, and yet and yet and yet. There is an understanding. As fleeting as a thirty second encounter somewhere on the High Street may be. I love children. Of any age. And they know it.
Where were we: Eyes. And then there is body language. You may be as good an actor as … (name your favourite) but you can’t cheat what your gestures, the way you hold yourself, tell. Talking of acting: There are people in management (and possibly the ‘caring’ professions) who have been taught to “mirror”. A sort of forced empathy. Though mirroring can come natural. Many years ago the Angel pointed out to me that when I fed him I’d open my mouth as he did. Well, let’s stir away from one of my hobby horse subjects, namely that a parent’s facial expressions are ‘a mirror’ to a child’s world. The one they can’t yet make sense of. Which is why a buggy should always face the one pushing it. Feedback by another name.
Body language. Whenever someone crosses their arms my alarms not so much ring as I think: Don’t barricade. Keep an open mind.
One which amuses me no end – and so many people do it unnoticed by themselves: That nervous tick of the foot when you sit with your legs crossed (you shouldn’t cross your legs, it’s bad for your legs’ circulation, not that that stops me doing it). Yes, so a dangling foot flicking up and down being a dead give away that the other person finds you or what you are saying irritating. As you know I am nervous of irritable people. Which, the Angel said to me the other day, is rich coming from me. However, he got it wrong. I am not ‘irritable’, not at all. However, I do get irritated by certain things. Fine difference. Difference nevertheless. We then discussed semantics. I did prove my point. He conceded.
The difference between being irritable and irritated a bit like wasps. Some people (the irritable) fling their arms as a wasp buzzes around. Others (that’s me) don’t flap, but will be irritated when stung.
If you can’t follow most of the above, don’t worry. I have a reputation to uphold.