How to make up for misleading body language?

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EvilKimEvil
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08 Apr 2008, 11:49 pm

Does anyone have any ideas for how to compensate for misleading nonverbal communication?

I ask because people tell me that my posture always sends the message, "Go away. I don't like you." I've tried to change it, but nothing works. No matter what I'm actually feeling or thinking, I accidentally send that message non-verbally. Even worse, my face tends to look sad when I'm actually content. I've tried to change this non-verbal communication, but nothing works - it's like my body's stuck that way.

I've heard that a lot of us on the spectrum deal with this kind of thing. Has anyone found a way to successfully deal with it? Maybe something like smiling or talking a certain way could make up for the misleading non-verbal message?

I'd like to hear from NTs on this one in particular because you are the non-verbal communication experts. If you were interacting with someone whose body was stuck on a certain non-verbal message, what could that person do that would make you interpret the message differently? (I hope that makes sense.)



Last edited by EvilKimEvil on 09 Apr 2008, 2:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

Tetraquartz
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09 Apr 2008, 12:00 am

Uhm, I'm not NT, but taking drama in school or taking acting lessons or, in my case, emulating people on TV and movies helped me become more body aware. I tend to employ acting skills when I'm interacting with people, but it takes a lot of energy to do so... :)


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Bopkasen
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09 Apr 2008, 12:12 am

EvilKimEvil wrote:
Does anyone have any ideas for how to compensate for misleading nonverbal communication?

I ask because people tell me that my posture always sends the message, "Go away. I don't like you." I've tried to change it, but nothing works. No matter what I'm actually feeling or thinking, I accidentally send that message non-verbally. Even worse, my face tends to look sad when I'm actually content. I've tried to change this non-verbal communication, but nothing works - it's like my body's stuck that way.

I've heard that a lot of us on the spectrum deal with this kind of thing. Has anyone found a way to successfully deal with it? Maybe something like smiling or talking a certain way could make up for the misleading non-verbal message?

I'd like to hear from NTs on this one in particular because you are the non-verbal communication experts. If you were interacting with someone whose body was stuck on a certain non-verbal message, what could that person do that would make you interpret the message differently? (I hope that makes sense.)


People think twice about going near the snake.



EvilKimEvil
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09 Apr 2008, 12:14 am

Oh, I should clarify:

Aspies and other non-NTs are welcome to respond. I meant that I'm interested in the NT perspective(s) in addition to anything anyone else has to say. I only mentioned NTs specifically because there aren't that many who post here . . . I guess . . .

Anyway, interesting ideas, Tetraquartz. I've done some acting too, and it's helped with the general things, like knowing that folding one's arms across one's chest is a defensive posture, but it hasn't helped with those subtle things that seem to make such a big difference.



EvilKimEvil
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09 Apr 2008, 12:19 am

Bopkasen wrote:
People think twice about going near the snake.


Yeah, it's not fair. Just because I'm a cobra . . .



oblio
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09 Apr 2008, 1:26 am

EvilKimEvil wrote:
Bopkasen wrote:
People think twice about going near the snake.


Yeah, it's not fair. Just because I'm a cobra . . .


o, i don't know...
a clock faced sideways no longer tells the time

& -
just because you're paranoid,
doesn't mean they're not trying to get you -

just because you're a snake doesn't mean they're (not) gonna bite you


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brat
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09 Apr 2008, 1:51 am

I get alot of the same thing. people are always saying "smile, it'll pretty up your face" or "what's the matter?" and I always think umm... nothing I'm happy enough. I guess I look sad, when how do I say this, I don't have a mood, my mood is undefined.



nannarob
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09 Apr 2008, 1:53 am

The first thing you need to do is turn your body towards the person. Think about when you are sitting. Interested: you lean towards the speaker. :idea:

I will take some photographs!


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I think there must be some chronic learning disability that is so prevalent among NT's that it goes unnoticed by the "experts". Krex


EvilKimEvil
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09 Apr 2008, 2:09 am

Thanks, nannarob! I will try those things.



ion
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09 Apr 2008, 2:37 am

Smile a lot. Practice smiling. I have trouble getting the muscular coordination correct, so I need to practice it.

Make eye contact. This is a big one for aspies to overcome, but it's very valuable to master.
Alternate between the mouth, and each eye and stay on each location between 1 and 3 seconds.

Wiggle your eyebrows when you first make eye contact with someone. Just once, not a continuos movement, because then they'll think you're flirting. Throw in a wiggle every now and again when emphasizing something you say. Works well to get both men and women to like you.

Pretend to be interested in useless s**t, like how they are doing, ailments, relatives, hobbies, jobs, etc.
Make it a game or memory exercise to remember details about a person. Mention them, ask how their ailment is fairing or how their family members are doing. They will think you care.

Don't hunch! Hunching looks defeatist and/or threatening. Imagine your body weight is being suspended from your solar plexus. This makes a HUGE difference. People used to avoid me and even bully me. Now the same people think I look handsome, and not because of changed appearance. It also affects your psyche and self-esteem in a positive way.

Use "open" gestures. Think "hug". Show your palms often. Direct your body towards the general direction of whom you're speaking too, but not straight towards as this may be considered assertive or aggressive.
People hold objects, arms, legs between them and someone etc, to "block" themselves.
If you do this, a "closed" gesture, you seem cautious, if you don't, an "open" gesture, you seem open and trusting.
If you're a guy, wide legs will make you appear confident. If you're a lady, vulgar.

Pretend like you're the king of the hill. You're in complete control, you know what the score is, nothing can faze you.
If you pretend to have confidence, you will seem to have it because nobody can tell the difference.
Also, it's a positive feedback loop. If you pretend you're confident, you will be more confident.


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Danielismyname
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09 Apr 2008, 2:50 am

"Go away, I don't like you" sounds like a good message to send off to me.

One thing I've found that many "normal" people get offended over, is that the world doesn't revolve around their feelings, and if you don't want to interact with them, but they you, they then get offended when you don't care that you send off these messages of perceived rejection.

I don't think I ever signed a statement saying that I had to like people; it doesn't mean I hate you, but I still don't have to interact with you.

I suppose you could watch how people interact via filmed media, and then mimic what they do; this works.



nannarob
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09 Apr 2008, 3:09 am

Opps! Something has come up. Will try tomorrow

I hate the Jerry Seinfield show (age shows) but that would be interesting to watch for body language. Note when the gang is in the cafe: they lean towards each oter, their posture is open. If they didn't want to be together, their posture would be closed- arms crossed, slightly turned away, stiff body.

Trying to smile might be tough. Sometimes eyebrows raised, a slight nod might be enough. Again practise stretching the face in an open expression (in front of a mirror rather than in public!)

Robyn


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Tetraquartz
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09 Apr 2008, 12:37 pm

EvilKimEvil wrote:
Anyway, interesting ideas, Tetraquartz. I've done some acting too, and it's helped with the general things, like knowing that folding one's arms across one's chest is a defensive posture, but it hasn't helped with those subtle things that seem to make such a big difference.


Yes, it works when my mental faculties are intact, but when I'm tired, or not feeling well, it all goes out the "window". Meaning, I forget everything and just drift about, and don't notice peoples' reactions.

I watched a college aged woman get on the bus the other day, and everything about her said "Aspie". She had somewhat awkward body posture, sounded apologetic about asking the driver something, and wanted to know exactly what time the bus would get to her stop. The bus driver's eyebrows went up and then he gave her a close estimate. I just smiled.

That is when I realized that people can spot someone different and likely vulnerable in the first few seconds of visual contact. It's the body posture.

What ion said especially, I have tried to emulate, as well. Sometimes smiling too much looks servile and apologetic, and it hurts my face after a while. Ha. And the posture rules is akin to what I learned in ballet many years ago. (yes in an attempt to get me to be less awkward my mother signed me up for ballet, and I enjoyed it and did well, only, when I wasn't practicing ballet I was still awkward outside the dance studio)

Trouble is, if you'll pardon my babble, it seems to be a necessarily conscious act, that needs continual practice and mindfulness. I have ADD on top of everything else and will forget something in a few minutes...


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