March 19, 2008

The sideward nod.

You are in the middle of an excited description of something. You are gesturing with your hands, modulating your voice accordingly and looking into the eyes of the person you are talking to and all the while you are assuming that the topic of the conversation is of interest to the person you are talking to.

And suddenly, pfffffff!

The other person gives you the looking-away-nod also known as the sideward-nod. You know what I mean? She is nodding as you talk as if to say, "Yeah go on. Am listening..." and slowly, her gaze shifts elsewhere. So she has this sort of sideward tilt to her head and she is nodding but definitely not meeting your eyes. To me, it's the equivalent of pouring cold water all over me in the middle of the conversation. I find it hard to carry on but then am in the middle of a sentence and it feels like unfinished business to stop. So, I lamely finish the sentence and grudgingly also turn toward the object of her attention.

So, I ask myself if am a boring conversationalist. Not really. I mean, I have talked to people who obsessively talked about themselves and I have nodded and actually listened (not the guy trick - say "uh uh" and continue doing what you are doing under the incredibly silly assumption that the person talking to you thinks you are listening!). Anyway, if I were to semi-objectively rate myself I wouldn't call my conversations boring. They are not refreshingly stimulating and thought-provoking at all times but then whose are?

And honestly, I have never given the sideward-nod to people while they were talking to me. It is really rude if you think about it. Maybe the person you are talking to is unable to focus for long, then they are not really being rude, they are just being...distracted, I guess.

So remember, people ( me) pay a lot of attention to your little gestures and body language. So ditch the sideward-nod. Perhaps you could do something polite like saying, "Erm, excuse me, I have a sudden urge to be away from this conversation. My sincere apologies." instead!


Anonymous said...

MUCH better than the winkin', blinkin' n nod (wherein people suddenly xyzzzzz..!)

Conversation like most other modes of communication is about manipulation. It is all about control or the loss thereof -which is why it hurts like it does.

Sowmya Srikrishnan said...

Hey RS,

I've been reading your short stories regularly. I dont know how to invite myself to your party!

Maybe you have a link on this post where we can submit our email ids or something???

wr said...

guy - That's interesting, I never thought of conversation as a subtle form of manipulation....hmm! :)

sowmya - You can email me at from your gmail account and I can add you as a reader to my short story blog. Thanks!

Meera said...

oThe guy-trick (Smiles).
Even worse is when people switch off their ears and a planet farther so when you pause with a question you get that startled look and then i want to bash them up!!!

RS said...

meera - :))

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