Manny’s Moans – Too Bad He’s Taken
Ruth and I were in a home improvement store recently looking for a pole to hang the hummingbird feeder. We had a cart with us and put an adequate pole into the cart. As we walked around the outdoor plants section, we saw a woman struggling to handle a few potted plants. She was cart-less.
Being the gentleman that I am, I offered her my cart. She seemed genuinely surprised that such a good-looking man was also such a gentleman. She accepted the cart. Her demeanor and behavior made it clear to me that she thought, “Too bad he’s taken.”
I mentioned to Ruth that the woman wanted me. Ruth’s face made it very clear that she also thought, “Too bad he’s taken.” I was taken aback (whatever that means). How was it possible that the same words had such opposite meaning? The woman wanted me; that was obvious. Ruth wanted the woman to take me; that was also obvious. (Ruth is fond of saying, “Who am I to deprive her?”)
It is established that the words themselves only carry about 7% of a message, while the voice inflections and tones carry about 38%. The remainder of the message (55%) is projected by the nonverbal cues – the body language. It was the body language I observed during this encounter that led me to my above-mentioned conclusions. Both the woman and Ruth provided nonverbal cues to their thoughts by their reactions.
I should point out here that when you see something in someone’s body language you should probe to be sure you are correct before taking action on it. It is the action that normally gets us in trouble, not the conclusion we reach. (Be sure to view my presentation on The Ladder of Inference in the webinar section of this website for a clear and enlightening discussion on this.)
So…What did I learn from this. Nothing really. I already know that I am one of the last true gentlemen left. I already know that I am a great find for Ruth. I already know that she disagrees with my conclusions. I took no further action.
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