VonNoble

Misunderstandings in civilized community

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VonNoble   

Every human at some point has learned the value of cooperation.

Each by adulthood has also endured more than a few misunderstandings. 

 

OFTEN these are simple communication errors. 

We thought they said this or that - and we heard it incorrectly.

 

THEY intended something completely different than our conclusion. 

WE did not communicate our idea clearly.

 

Both sides did not ask enough questions. 

Both sides jumped to conclusions. 

 

IF any or even most of that is true - why is it we spend so little time 

cultivating communications skills?    Why do we not incorporate that

as part of everyone's formal education?   How do parents better their

own skills in order to teach their children?  How DO they teach such

things to kids?    Without some formal "learning" in this area how do we

get feedback to know if we are effective as the sender or the receiver?

 

Hummmmm......I need to work on this even though I HAVE HAD the 

benefit of formal training.

 

Did we lose something when we stopped having some old school, boring, 

social conventions?    Like how do we all agree introductions should

take place?   How do we interact (a bit more formally) in the first

few minutes of a conversation?  Did polite society have some conventions

that had worth we are now lacking?

 

Pick and choose on this one.....it seems worthy of discussion to me. 

 

Von

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VonNoble   
8 hours ago, mererdog said:

Are you calling me fat?

;)

 

Perhaps you did not hear me correctly?

Perhaps I explained it poorly.  

 

Perhaps I was inquiring about your health.

Perhaps I was noting you looked jolly.

 

Perhaps I am clueless (I will vote for that one) 

 

von

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Misunderstandings happen.  But here's the thing, we all control how we react or respond to those misunderstandings.  No matter how big the misunderstanding, or message that we haven't figured out is a misunderstanding, we can all take a second or three and think about our best response to it.

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"Why do we not incorporate that

as part of everyone's formal education?   How do parents better their

own skills in order to teach their children?  How DO they teach such

things to kids?"

 

Some of us do, and are. My youngest is currently in a charter school where this is emphasized (which is good, because Thing Two is dense, when it comes to social cues, and has demonstrated an aptitude for pugilism unseen in our family since his great-grandfather's lifetime). In theory, this is also being taught in our public middle school, too, but I don't credit Thing One's social skills to their teachings.

 

As a parent, I can tell you that the best way to teach 'em is to make every mistake a teachable moment- interrupt (intervene), make 'em stop and think it through, and then allow 'em to proceed with reaction/action of their own. Same goes for manners in general. If you want your children to NOT be "those kids" at the restaurant, you start taking them out when they're really little, and you demonstrate how they need to behave. They fail to do that, you take them out. Repeat until the lesson takes. It doesn't take long. They want to succeed. It's not that difficult- it just takes some attention and awareness. You just have to be invested in making sure that they're going to grow up to be...well, adults. 

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mererdog   
On 9/13/2017 at 9:59 AM, VonNoble said:

Did we lose something when we stopped having some old school, boring, 

social conventions?    Like how do we all agree introductions should

take place?   How do we interact (a bit more formally) in the first

few minutes of a conversation?  Did polite society have some conventions

that had worth we are now lacking

First, are the line breaks intentional? Its a completely unimportant question, but also completely on topic. Nawmean?

 

Anyway, I think the word "we" is problematic, in context. Social norms tend to be great for some and horrible for others.

 

Customs like "Don't look a white man in the eye" are obviously racist and designed only to subjugate, but there are a lot of more subtle things at play.

A handshake may as well be an assault to many germophobes and people with PTSD.

"Sir" and "Ma'am" disrespect those with nonstandard gender identities.

Saying "bless you" when some people sneeze makes them very uncomfortable and leaves them with no idea how to respond.

Even a perfectly innocent "please" or "thank you" can have the same effect as a slap in the face to those used to being subjected to hostile sarcasm or passive aggression.

 

Essentially, what I'm saying is that by standardizing our interactions through formality we fail to pay due respect to the individuals we are interacting with. Most of the time, it won't cause actual problems. Most of the time, we won't notice when it does cause problems.

 

But the normal, unthinking, habitual reliance on etiquette trains us to treat the needs and desires of the person in front of us as less important than an arbitrary set of rules. It becomes a sort of twisted social contract where we assume that as long as we stick to the script no one is allowed to complain about what we say or do.

Which causes people with legitimate greivances to get treated like crybabies or jerks. Which is unfair to those of us who are actual crybaby jerks.

 

And I'm still pretty sure you called me fat.

Edited by mererdog

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Some of us have also been raised in different cultures, either as immigrants or by immigrant families, with our own social conventions and manners.  I've gotten some weird looks because my reflex is to bow instead of shake hands when I meet someone for the first time.  Table manners also vary widely between cultures, and what passes for etiquette to one may seem rude (or barbaric) to another.

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I sometimes marvel at the depth of some customs.  I'll be in the middle of a civil service exam.  I do not want to get caught by the proctor, in anything that might be construed as cheating.  I'll sneeze.  From behind me, I hear "Bless you".  Someone had to respond to my sneeze, risking the proctor's wrath?  Yes.  They did.  Further, I felt a strange guilt in not saying -- "Thank you.".

 

:sigh2:

 

 

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My favorite for that is the old Scandinavian triple-refusal. Host/hostess offers you food. You have to decline 3 times, THEN accept. 

You will never get a cookie that way, here. ;)

 

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VonNoble   
On 9/13/2017 at 11:29 PM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

Some of the old rules were helpful.  Even when we ignored the rules, we knew what they were.

 

What did happen to dating?

 

I don't know exactly.

I have noticed that the divorce rate has climbed steadily.

Not sure the slower process of mating, by way of formal dating norms, is involved in that.

One is not indicative of the other.   So probably no correlation.  Other than somewhat loosely on a timeline sort of. 

 

:o

von

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VonNoble   
On 9/14/2017 at 1:16 PM, cuchulain said:

Misunderstandings happen.  But here's the thing, we all control how we react or respond to those misunderstandings.  No matter how big the misunderstanding, or message that we haven't figured out is a misunderstanding, we can all take a second or three and think about our best response to it.

 

Agreed. 

Communications is as dependent on the responder as the sender.   

Good point. 

 

von

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VonNoble   
On 9/14/2017 at 4:11 PM, the Hearthwitch said:

 

Some of us do, and are. My youngest is currently in a charter school where this is emphasized (which is good, because Thing Two is dense, when it comes to social cues, and has demonstrated an aptitude for pugilism unseen in our family since his great-grandfather's lifetime). In theory, this is also being taught in our public middle school, too, but I don't credit Thing One's social skills to their teachings.

 

As a parent, I can tell you that the best way to teach 'em is to make every mistake a teachable moment- interrupt (intervene), make 'em stop and think it through, and then allow 'em to proceed with reaction/action of their own. Same goes for manners in general. If you want your children to NOT be "those kids" at the restaurant, you start taking them out when they're really little, and you demonstrate how they need to behave. They fail to do that, you take them out. Repeat until the lesson takes. It doesn't take long. They want to succeed. It's not that difficult- it just takes some attention and awareness. You just have to be invested in making sure that they're going to grow up to be...well, adults. 

 

All very helpful.  Thank you. 

von

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VonNoble   
14 hours ago, mererdog said:

But the normal, unthinking, habitual reliance on etiquette trains us to treat the needs and desires of the person in front of us as less important than an arbitrary set of rules. It becomes a sort of twisted social contract where we assume that as long as we stick to the script no one is allowed to complain about what we say or do.

 

So etiquette does not provide a framework for learning the needs and desires of other people?  

It is not a framework for each to engage in dialogue? 

 

The rules are a starting point to assure equal time if to speak and listen if it is done correctly, maybe?

 

Sticking to the script allows us to begin to learn, no?   After initial contact,

relationships develop by gradually finding a comfort zone, no?

 

von

 

re: calling you fat ;)...either of us has an option to ignore what we heard by pretending we didn't, no?

There is little obligation, as a responder, to send verbal cues.  

Sometimes no response is the best response, maybe :rolleyes:

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VonNoble   
13 hours ago, LeopardBoy said:

Some of us have also been raised in different cultures, either as immigrants or by immigrant families, with our own social conventions and manners.  I've gotten some weird looks because my reflex is to bow instead of shake hands when I meet someone for the first time.  Table manners also vary widely between cultures, and what passes for etiquette to one may seem rude (or barbaric) to another.

 

Yes.   I have made more than one blunder in this regard.  However, learning the best approach is

easily handled with open dialogue and graciousness.   

 

My mother told a story of someone handling something "wrong" when at a formal dinner with 

the Queen of England.   The Queen's response when the long formal table fell silent - was to 

opt to follow the manners of her guest and put down the spoon or whatever was happening and

pick it up with her fingers for example.  The first rule was to be gracious to the guest.  

 

Your point is well made and has validity. 

von

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1 hour ago, VonNoble said:

 

I don't know exactly.

I have noticed that the divorce rate has climbed steadily.

Not sure the slower process of mating, by way of formal dating norms, is involved in that.

One is not indicative of the other.   So probably no correlation.  Other than somewhat loosely on a timeline sort of. 

 

:o

von

 

1 hour ago, VonNoble said:

 

I don't know exactly.

I have noticed that the divorce rate has climbed steadily.

Not sure the slower process of mating, by way of formal dating norms, is involved in that.

One is not indicative of the other.   So probably no correlation.  Other than somewhat loosely on a timeline sort of. 

 

:o

von

 

 

I wasn't even thinking of divorce.  Since you brought up divorce, no.  I also don't see a causal relationship between more divorce and mating rituals.  If anything, there is more divorce, because people are more honest.  They refuse to stay married to someone that they can't stand to be with.  

 

To my memory, "dating" -- at least in the beginning, was different.  There was more talk and less sex.  When there was sex, it was more gradual in unfolding.   I found it more comfortable.  I had a sense of what was expected.  I had a sense of norms.  There was a focus on getting to know more about each other.  When people were not compatible, they found out more quickly, without things becoming more committed.  Breakups were swift and less traumatic.  People simply didn't date each other when there was nothing there.  

 

Now, there are no norms.  At least, I don't know of any.  I miss norms.  

 

:whist:

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mererdog   
15 hours ago, LeopardBoy said:

Some of us have also been raised in different cultures, either as immigrants or by immigrant families, with our own social conventions and manners.  I've gotten some weird looks because my reflex is to bow instead of shake hands when I meet someone for the first time.  Table manners also vary widely between cultures, and what passes for etiquette to one may seem rude (or barbaric) to another.

The same things we use to bind a bunch of disparate "I"s into a cohesive "We" are used to build sharp divides between "Us" and "Them." The more brightly we highlight the similarities between Us the more starkly we contrast the differences with Them. As a good rule of thumb, the more homogenous a society, the more marginalized its minority members and alien visitors, and the less the majority will notice (or care about) that marginalization.

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