Friday, August 16, 2013

Are you busy?

Not long ago, I read something about how English-speakers are conditioned to avoid saying "No" directly, but to use body language, tone of voice, and "I'd love to, but..." as a way to politely turn down an invitation. For example:

A: "Would you like to go see Pacific Rim tomorrow afternoon?"
B: "Tomorrow afternoon doesn't work for me. Have fun, though! That movie looks awesome!"

Person B conveys disappointment that tomorrow afternoon and removes herself from the equation without having to say "No." The answer isn't, "No, I don't want to," but, "No, I'd love to, but I can't."

Like most things, this social dance has evolved. How often does this happen to you?

A: "You doing anything tonight?"
B: "...No?"
A: "Awesome! We should go see Pacific Rim!"

I've done this to people; people have done this to me. It's not a conscious thing. On some level, we are aware that leading with an activity and time will give the other person a chance to come up with an excuse to say no, so we want to circumvent that by leading with the time. If a person agrees to the time, then they can't say "no" to the proposed activity, right?

Obviously, this kind of setup sucks if a current lack of plans is intentional and Person A is not understanding. Some people are cool about it, but some people feel slighted, as if Person B is saying, "Sorry, but sitting on the couch alone sounds more fun than hanging out with you."

This is the sort of thing I think about while I'm falling asleep. I can't wait for Pacific Rim to hit DVD.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Some good stuff

You Don't Have to Read That Text Tonight from Storming the Ivory Tower. I didn't realize how incredibly refreshing it would be to read something like this now that I'm six years out of college. Working with engineers all day means the closest I get to these kinds of conversations is, "Derp derp the curtains are just fucking blue, amirite?"

Hollywood Needs More Women on NPR. "What we're in effect doing is training children to see that women and girls are less important than men and boys. We're training them to perceive that women take up only 17 percent of the space in the world."