12 January 2010

A funny game of class


When walking, assuming that other people will get out of your path. - I usually weave, but people do get out of my way because I appear to be walking with a purpose in mind and am rather tall (and apparently intimidating).

Making eye contact while speaking. - I do this on occasion. Rarely. It apparently annoys people that 1) I don't do it more often and 2) when I do it

Not checking the other person's eyes for a reaction to what you said. - Only matters in a poker game. So I get one finally.

Having no visible reaction to what the other person said. (Imagine saying something to a typical Clint Eastwood character. You say something expecting a reaction, and you get--nothing.) - Definitely a good thing. People eventually figure out that I have buttons. But they're not always the ordinary buttons and you have to push them in an unconventional way or out of the typical order. The most typical is to insult my argument or intellectual capacities however, which is really a very weak point in the armor. Half a point I think.

Speaking in complete sentences. - How else do people speak? 2.5.

Interrupting before you know what you are going to say. - This is not the best plan in the world. I sometimes don't know where what I am going to say will go next when I say it. But that merely means that I will have to listen for a minute.

Spreading out your body to full comfort. Taking up a lot of space with your body. - Impossible not to when your body has a great deal of physical space to occupy. Though I find I end up seated with my legs folded up frequently rather than lounging all the time (this does not typically happen in the presence of others however). 3 total.

Looking at the other person with your eyes somewhat down (head tilted back a bit to make this work), creating the feeling that you are a parent talking to a child. - Don't consciously do this at all. The lack of eye contact is usually because I'm unfocused on them at all.

Talking matter-of-factly about things that the other person finds displeasing or offensive. - Definitely do this. I see no reason to avoid topics of discomfort. 4

Letting your body be vulnerable, exposing your neck and torso to the other person. - I don't do this I think. But it's funny to picture a person as like a puppy or a cat.

Moving comfortably and gracefully. - Probably not. Don't know how I would be described as walking.

Keeping your hands away from your face. - Gesticulation carries the hands where they go. I try not to do the Nash gesture from Beautiful Mind too often, but the Rodin pose comes into play often.

Speaking authoritatively, with certainty. - Probably. 4.5 (Probably is used on purpose here. I write and think with far less certainty than I talk).

Making decisions for a group; taking responsibility. - Avoid doing this mostly because I rarely have a group to be responsible for.

Giving or withholding permission. - I will do this when I have to. 5

Evaluating other people's work. - Ditto. 6

Speaking cryptically, not adjusting your speech to be easily understood by the other person (except that mumbling does not count). E.g. saying, "Chomper not right" with no explanation of what you mean or what you want the other person to do. - That's what the poem posts are for. 7

Being surrounded by an entourage, especially of people who are physically smaller than you. - Definitely not.

A "high-status specialist" conveys in every word and gesture, "Don't come near me, I bite." - Definitely so. 8
Low status
When walking, moving out of other people's path. - Probably canceled out by the people getting out of my way on balance.

Looking away from the other person's eyes. - I don't do this deliberately. I just don't make eye contact at all in the first place. -1

Briefly checking the other person's eyes to see if they reacted positively to what you said.

Speaking in halting, incomplete sentences. Trailing off, editing your sentences as you got.

Sitting or standing uncomfortably in order to adjust to the other person and give them space. Pulling inward to give the other person more room. If you're tall, you might need to scrunch down a bit to indicate that you're not going to use your height against the other person.

Looking up toward the other person (head tilted forward a bit to make this work), creating the feeling that you are a child talking to a parent. - who does this? Or who does the opposite? Never even noticed this as an issue.

Dancing around your words (beating around the bush) when talking about something that will displease the other person. - Euphemisms are often in scare quotes to show the disdain I have for such things. Sometimes they're funny or clever. Usually they're a waste of time.

Shouting as an attempt to intimidate the other person. This is low status because it suggests that you expect resistance. - What does shouting accomplish?

Crouching your body as if to ward off a blow; protecting your face, neck, and torso. -1.5

Moving awkwardly or jerkily, with unnecessary movements. -2

Touching your face or head. -3

Avoiding making decisions for the group; avoiding responsibility. -4

Needing permission before you can act. - On the other hand, I tend to ignore the permission of the group or leaders if they present rules which are unsupported by reasonable requirements. For example: why raise your hand to be called upon to speak if you have something to contribute to the conversation?

Adjusting the way you say something to help the other person understand; meeting the other person on their (cognitive) ground; explaining yourself. E.g. "Could you please adjust the chomper? That's the gadget on the kitchen counter immediately to the left of the toaster. If you just give it a slight rap on the top, that should adjust it." - I don't do this very well I think. I'm accustomed to an audience that understands thinking and unaccustomed to an audience that doesn't know much. Even around children I speak with a peculiar intent.

A "low-status specialist" conveys in every word and gesture, "Please don't bite me, I'm not worth the trouble." - This is not a good idea. Better to be feared.

Raising another person's status

To raise another person's status is to establish them as high in the pecking order in your group (possibly just the two of you).
• Ask their permission to do something.
• Ask their opinion about something. - Do indirectly. By voicing my opinions I expect others to do the same.
• Ask them for advice or help. - Doesn't happen.
• Express gratitude for something they did. - This happens.
• Apologize to them for something you did. - This doesn't
• Agree that they are right and you were wrong. - Happens. On occasion.
• Defer to their judgment without requiring proof. - Doesn't happen often.
• Address them with a fancy title or honorific (even "Mr." or "Sir" works very well). - Don't know anybody who requires this of me.
• Downplay your own achievement or attribute in comparison to theirs. "Your wedding cake is so much whiter than mine." - This happens frequently. I am a much stronger critic than most other people are of me.
• Do something incompetent in front of them and then apologize for it or act sheepish about it. - I recall doing this when I didn't do something that I could easily have done. I don't tend to do things that I am actually incompetent at.
• Mention a failure or shortcoming of your own. "I was supposed to go to an audition today, but I was late. They said I was wrong for the part anyway." - Happens
• Compliment them in a way that suggests appreciation, not judgement. "Wow, what a beautiful cat you have!" - Not sure how appreciation is different from judgment. Positive judgments are basically appreciation then?
• Obey them unquestioningly. - very unlikely. Anti-authoritarian streak is high
• Back down in a conflict. - happens. Mostly because I got bored or was unable to find a reasonable level of common ground on which to continue the conflict without violence.
• Move out of their way, bow to them, lower yourself before them. - happens
• Tip your hat to them. - Don't wear hats much.
• Lose to them at something competitive, like a game (or any comparison). - this happens
• Wait for them. - This happens. But not when it's "supposed to" I think.
• Serve them; do manual labor for them. - Very rare that I do manual labor for me. Much less for someone else.

Lowering another person's status

To lower another person's status is to attack or discredit their right to be high in the pecking order. Another word for "lowering someone's status" is "humiliating them."
• Criticize something they did. - I criticize constantly. At least I am myself vulnerable to its effects.
• Contradict them. Tell them they are wrong. Prove it with facts and logic. - Why else would you tell someone they are wrong?
• Correct them. - And how else could you correct someone?
• Insult them.
• Give them unsolicited advice.
• Approve or disapprove of something they did or some attribute of theirs. "Your cat has both nose and ear points. That is acceptable." Anything that sets you up as the judge lowers their status, even "Nice work on the Milligan account, Joe." - I guess you can phrase judgments in a way that sounds judgmental and this is what they're referring to with the "appreciation" business up there.
• Shout at them. - Not raising your voice when you get angry I find scares people more.
• Tell them what to do.
• Ignore what they said and talk about something else, especially when they've said something that requires an answer. E.g. "Have you seen my socks?" "The train leaves in five minutes." - This would be funny. I'll have to try it more often.
• One-up them. E.g. have a worse problem than the one they described, have a greater past achievement than theirs, have met a more famous celebrity, earn more money, do better than them at something they're good at, etc. - Ack.
• Win: beat them at something competitive, like a game (or any comparison).
• Announce something good about yourself or something you did. "I went to an audition today, and I got the part!" - I try not to do this but I think the blogging is in effect this practice.
• Disregard their opinion. E.g. "You'd better not smoke while pumping gas, it's a fire hazard." Flick, light, puff, puff, pump, pump. - Happens with opinions that are unsupported. That sort of opinion isn't likely to show up as unsupported.
• Talk sarcastically to them. - Hmm. Wonder why that is..
• Make them wait for you.
• When they've fallen behind you, don't wait for them to catch up, just push on and get further out of sync. - Why wait?
• Disobey them.
• Violate their space.
• Beat them up. Beating them up in front of other people, especially their wife, girlfriend, and/or children, is particularly status-lowing. (note it's also of low status itself)
• In a conflict, make them back down.
• Taunt them. Tease them.
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