Sunday, November 29, 2009

poker face....nah!

Is there really such a thing as a neutral facial expression?  Is it possible to hide all of our emotions from another person?  If all it takes is one little cheek flutter, one speck of a face tic, one blink longer than the other, a lick of the lips, a downturned look, a quickening flush of colour.........just one of those finger on the nose movements to communicate that something is afoot, how can anyone boast about having a poker face? 

Stare into the eyes of another a little longer than you usually do, and the game is on to figure out the thoughts of another.  What are trying to convey?  Interest? Sexual desire? Are you trying to intimidate the other person?  If you turn them away too quickly, are you hiding something? Feeling uncomfortable? Lying? Or are you just taking a break and thinking about a response?

More times than not, we aren't even aware of our own message projections.  They become so much of our pattern of communicating, they spill out unthinkingly.  When was the last time you consciously thought about the messages you inadvertently passed on?  When was the last time you read the person's face talk and got it completely right??? 

The human interaction game has some rules, but retains a sense of puzzling mystery........ enough to keep us interested in playing because we all hold different cards based on our comfort level, our personalities, our skills and gifts.  It is fraught with underlying motives, layered in with a level of attraction,  repressed feelings, thoughts and past experiences.  Wounds from broken down attempts at connecting with another play a part too.  As do our past successes in smoothly going where no one else has penetrated before. 

Some people exude a sense of confidence, an attractiveness which acts like a magnet, pulling others into their space.  Do you know anyone like that?  Are you like that?? Charisma.  Energy. An alluring smile.  They are masters at the game of human interaction, moving from a flirtatious coyness to a determined yet friendly approach that can make someone else feel like they're the only person in the world that matters right then and there!  Fascinating!  Where do they learn this skill?  Is it an inherent thing, or do we learn through modelling and observing other's expressions as children?? Not one word need to be spoken, and yet the energy emanating between two people radiates with such an aura that it seems to be in colour.  

According to Eric Berne, the Transactual Analysis guru,  "games are a compromise between intimacy and keeping intimacy away...." The game of interaction holds many rules.....but it comes down to how close you want to be with another, and how close they want to be with you.  Sometimes it is a cat and mouse game...... I'm OK, You're Not OK.......  Sometimes it can be a mouse and cat game ..... I'm not OK, You're OK.  Sometimes the energy between two people is so repelling or perhaps the opposite, so electric that its too frightening to contemplate intimacy, and it turns into two bears vying for the same cave... I'm not OK, You're not OK.   

Ah, but then there are times when two people, under the right circumstances, in the right moodlight, with the right chemistry and with the ability to read the facial expressions, the body language, the intentions behind the game that they drop the pretences, relax and move into a place of spiritual intimacy that can only be considered a perfect match.  No more games......... Just an I'm OK, You're OK checkmate.  It's lovely when that happens........... 

Today's writing prompt from Sunday Scribblings is "games."  Though I do love a good game of cribbage, and have been known get all heated over a game of scrabble.......... the human race game is the one I prefer to play.  For more game playing interpretations, check out Sunday Scribblings.....


Selma said...

Body language and chemistry is such a fascinating subject. I have been told I have a very expressive face which might explain why I am so bad at card games. Or maybe it's just because I can never remember the rules.

The laws of attraction and repulsion are intriguing. Often they are quite inexplicable.

Jennifer Hicks said...

Thanks for this informative post! Both being able to communicate and to read non-verbal signals is a skill....there's so much more than words to our interactions!

I enjoyed your highlighted sections. I got to see what you felt was important, and it helped me sink in to your thoughts better!

awareness said...

Selma....I've been told the same... or that I wear my emotions on my sleeve. Can't help it.

Those laws you write of? Mysterious energy. I wonder where it comes from?

Jennifer...thank you. it is a skill we can learn I agree, but I think there is an inherent piece to it as well. I'm thinking about some who have such a difficult time with this. People born with Aspergers Syndrome for example. They struggle reading the non verbals.

As for the highlighted bits? Yes, they are most often the key parts I want to convey. I also will highlight some sentences in a long post so that it doesn't all just sit on the screen and blend in. :)

Rinkly Rimes said...

I hope she always keeps her openness; she has such an engaging expression. Body language (and facial) is fascinating, though and I'm sure she'll learn it.

awareness said...

Never! She is the most expressive child I know....and my favourite person to photograph! However, the kid won that particular poker game! She's lucky too. :)

Marja said...

Great piece of writing Dana Yes 70% till 80% of our language is body language and therefore I think you get find out although maybe sometimes you need a good understander to read you.
Many children have that relaxedness about them. I find them easy to approach, or maybe it is because I never grew up and understand their language

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I try to avoid people who play games. Though, sometimes it is difficult.
Reading peoples faces can be a great way to know what they are REALLY feeling---especially if the look is so impassive that you KNOW they are feeling a lot but trying to hide it...!
I don't know. Maybe I am at a time in my life when I have no patience with "people" games, and no time for it, either.

Americanising Desi said...


The laws of attraction and repulsion are intriguing. Often they are quite inexplicable.