Help me understand human behaviour
March 17, 2008 5:49 AM Subscribe
How can I better understand social cues?
posted by ssg to Human Relations (15 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
I am looking primarily for books and other resources to better understand social cues, but I also welcome direct responses.
I find it difficult to interact with others socially. I think that part of my problem is that I have difficulty understanding other's social cues and sending appropriate signals myself. I've noticed this deficit mainly with contextual cues, but I'm sure I say inappropriate things as well.
For example, I don't make eye contact when I should and when I do make eye contact, I don't know how long to hold it for. I find it difficult to determine the appropriate moment to start speaking, especially in a conversation with more than one other person and I don't seem to signal others properly that I am about to speak. I'm unsure what sort of expression I should have on my face when listening to someone and so I tend to default to a blank expression. Although I probably don't notice most of the time, I can sometimes see that I am somehow making others uncomfortable.
I've found a lot of self-help books that deal with what to say when conversing with a relative stranger, how to make small talk, and so on, but haven't found much that deals with the contextual cues in detail. If I had something like a field guide to these cues, I think I'd be able to identify them in others and eventually use them myself, but at the moment, I don't even know what to look for.