Category Archives: Social Anxiety

Beware Of Ancient Fears Infecting Modern Language

Pistols At Dawn

I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday, and I noticed something interesting about her speech. She had always spoken like that, but I hadn’t talked to her in quite a while. Last time we spoke was before I had become interested in language, having read several books on linguistics and other interesting tricks of language, most notably books by Pinker, Lakoff, and Grinder/Bandler.

The thing I noticed now, that I didn’t notice before was her heavy use of indirect speech. For example, I would say “A,” and she would then think “Because of A, then B,” with “B” being something that didn’t sound like such a good thing. But because she didn’t want to (either consciously or unconsciously) blurt right out “B!” She would always hide it behind layers of presuppositions and vague references.

For example, she would mention wanting more money at work, and I would suggest asking her boss for a raise. Instead of saying the obvious “If I ask for a raise, he’ll say no, and think less of me for asking.”

Which is a common enough fear, and generally the immediate reaction of most people when thinking about asking for a raise. But instead of blurting that right out, she’d say something like:

“I’m not sure if I have the presence of mind right now to think of what would happen if I were to do that.”

Which sounds innocent enough, until you unpack that seemingly simple statement and see what she’s really saying:

She is assuming that “presence of mind,” (whatever that is) is something that is difficult to identify, as she’s not sure if she has it or not.

Something called “presence of mind,” is required to understand the result of a request for more money.

“If I were to do that,” is stated as a second conditional. A first conditional is an “if..then” statement using the present tense, which presumes it is something that is likely to occur.

If it rains, I will get wet.
If I spend my money, I won’t have any.
If I drive too fast, I may get a ticket.

While the second conditional, with the past tense, is used for things that we don’t expect will happen, or are impossible.

If I asked my boss for a raise, he would say no.
If I saw a UFO, I would run.

So in response to a suggestion to ask for more money, she hides her “no, I’m too afraid” behind about three layers of linguistic protection.

If you’ve ever listened to a politician speak, you can tell right away that there speech is usually filled with layers and layers of vague ambiguity, so nobody can ever pin them down on what they said, if things go wrong, and if things go right, they can claim they had something to do with it.

It’s no wonder the joke, “how do you tell a politician is lying – when his lips are moving,” is so funny.

In one of the aforementioned books, Pinker was talking about how in societies where they have a history of class distinction, where upper class people could legally kill lower class people, (or other upper class people if they situation warranted it) they have developed a very polite level of speech, which can exist hundreds of years after the threat of violence.

If you were talking to some guy that was carrying weapons, and by offending him you risked getting your head slice off, you’d quickly learn to speak politely. It doesn’t take long for such a society to develop polite language. The American South is one such example. If you said the wrong thing to the wrong person, he would demand “Satisfaction,” and you’d have a gunfight at twenty paces on your hands.

Those that study linguistics on a much deeper evolutionary level suggest that all indirect speech has its roots in ancient fears of immediate reprisals. It doesn’t sound dangerous in the least to ask your boss for a raise, at least not from the standpoint of physical violence, but nevertheless, those feelings of fear cause us to hide our real feelings beneath several layers of “politeness” and vague ambiguity.

There is a fascinating book called “Mean Genes,” which illustrates all the ways that our automatic impulses that helped us immensely in our evolutionary past can be a real pain in the you-know-what in modern society. Stuffing our face until we can’t move when we are in the presence of food is one example that you can see everywhere you look in modern western society.

In the past, the several thousand year ago past, that impulse was beneficial. People would go several days without food, and when they finally got some, all other concerns were put on the back burner, and it was time to eat until the food was gone.

Not so helpful when you pass by three McDonalds, two Dunkin Donuts and a Bakery on the way to work every morning.

Of course, the great hope of modern humankind is to rise above our evolutionary based fears, and the ability to use our rational, conscious minds to think our ways around those pesky impulses to plan our future, instead of letting our impulses plan it for us.


To find out exactly how to do this, click below:

Success with NLP

Success with NLP

Dating For Dummies

If you are single, then you know how incredibly difficult and frustrating it can be to navigate the uncertain waters of dating and seduction.

Before we start, let me say that I’m not using seduction in any underhanded or manipulative sense. Whenever you are interacting with another person in hopes of eliciting any kind of romantic or sexual interest in them for you, you are trying to seduce them.

Women try (usually extremely successfully) to seduce men through their expert use of clothes, feminine behavior, conversation skills, and the attention they give to a man. Men try (many times unsuccessfully) to seduce women through buying dinners, taking them on expensive dates, and sometimes through dishonest promotion of themselves.

This doesn’t have to be so incredibly difficult and frustrating. People have been on this planet for hundreds of thousands of years, and at last count there are over six billion of us. Of all the things we are supposed to be doing, making more people seems to be high on our list of priorities. So it’s not like dating, seduction, and creating sexual relationships are any secret voodoo that breaks any moral code of society.

So how do we do it without destroying our ego in the process? First a couple of inner game tricks, and then a couple of outer game tricks.

Inner game is whatever goes on in your mind before you even talk to your love interest. The things you say to yourself, the things you believe about yourself, and what your capabilities are, everything in your history and the interpretation you give to those events.

The first thing to do is get rid of any guilt in wanting love and sex. You are human. You have needs. And the main needs or desires of humans are food and sex. Without those two main drives our planet would soon be populated by penguins and grasshoppers, and all the other animals. We’d be gone. So step one is to embrace your sexual desire. It’s normal, it’s natural, it’s expected.

Step two is to realize that everybody else has that same desire. But just like your desire for food, you are gonna like some things, and not like others. If you go to a buffet and scoop up a plate full of pizza instead of fried chicken, does the fried chicken get its feelings hurt?

By realizing that everybody has their own unique set of desires, likes and dislikes, it’s easier to understand the dating game for what it is: A huge numbers game. If you look at it as a numbers game, and have fun meeting as many people as possible in search for someone you click with, you’ll have much better results.

The problems come up with people have these deep fears that when they get rejected, it is because the other person has some kind of super human x-ran psychic vision. They look into your heart and soul, and can instantly judge you and everything about you. When you get rejected, they have quickly evaluated your whole existence. As a consequence most people are operating with about a 50 percent intention of finding someone, and a fifty percent intention of protecting their ego. This makes normal conversation difficult, as everyone is trying to protect themselves as much as possible from getting hurt.

The paradox is that when you really let it all hang out and be your true self, you will become more attractive than ever. One of the reasons people love babies so much is that they express themselves without giving a damn about how people will react to them. Think about the most attractive and charismatic people you’ve ever met, were they quite and reserved, or outgoing and gregarious?

So lets review your inner game. Step one is to realize that everybody wants some. (Just like that Van Halen song.) Step two is to realize that not everybody will like everybody. The goal is to find out if you are each others type, not to try and persuade each other that you are each others type. Big difference.

Ok, outer game time.

This is your behaviors, social skills and social intelligence. It helps to realize that these skills should always be thought of as works in process. You will never get to a point where you are socially eloquent enough, or can read another person or even a room well enough. Lifelong learning.

Step one is to meet people and give them a chance to get to know you. Take charge of the conversation, and give them a chance to find out about you. Go slow, and escalate only when they are ready.

Escalation is when you slowly move the relationship to the next level. Anywhere you are, you should always be testing, very carefully, to see if the other person is ready to kick it up a notch. Slower is better, but not too slow.

Escalation can be anything. If you are talking to an attractive person in line at the supermarket, ask for their phone number. If they hesitate, at all, that means they aren’t ready. No problem. Move on. Allow them to keep their comfort level and their own criteria intact. Don’t try and push them beyond their comfort level.

Or you’ve been talking to somebody in a bar for an hour. You might suggest going to a smaller venue, which is within walking distance.

Or maybe you’ve been messaging back and forth online, you might suggest and voice chat on Skype.

Or maybe you’ve passed by the same person every day at school. The next step would be to make eye contact and smile, or even say hi.

The thing to remember is whomever it is, think of the next step to move your potential relationship forward. Slow, and easy to accept for the other person. And keep moving slowly forward. Let them get used to the idea of you. Most people don’t like change. Unless you are a drop dead rich supermodel, people are likely to be put off if you come on too strong. When you give them time to get used to the idea of you, you will have a lot more chance of success.

Ok that was only one step, but here’s the review. Meet as many people as possible, and always look for opportunities to escalate, to see if they are as into you as you are into them.

So how do you know when you’ve found the right one? You have no more desire to go and meet other people. And they are escalating you as much as you are escalating them, if you catch my drift.

Now go and have fun.

Choose Your Focus And Attract Help From Others

The other day I was talking to a friend on the phone. Actually we were talking through Skype. I don’t know if you’ve ever done this before, but it really is a great way to communicate with somebody. Especially if you are the kind of person that likes to make friend with a lot of people from around the world, Skype is a great way to stay in touch. I don’t have a camera hooked up, but my people talking with both voice and video so you can actually see the person you are speaking with. I remember reading an article in a sales magazine a while back and it said when you speak face to face, there is much more information passed on than just through email or even through the phone. When you can pay attention to facial expressions and body language it can be really easy to communicate well with others.

My friend was telling me about a problem that she was having. She had recently taken up photography, and was really interested in taking many photos. She was really intrigued by a modern artist who takes photos mainly of people. She was greatly inspired by his work, and really wanted to increase her skill in that area. There was one problem though. She was told in one of her photography classes that it is in extremely poor taste, and in many cases illegal to take peoples photographs without their permission. For her this was a huge problem, because she is naturally shy and can’t really find it easy to see an interesting person and then just approach this person to ask if she can take their picture.

She had all these wild imaginations of bad things that might happen if she just approached strangers and asked to take their picture. She was having problems with this, so she decided to approach her professor and ask his advice.

What her professor told her really surprised her. He told her that all she needed to do was to get clear in her own mind first, why she wanted to take the other persons picture. Did the colors of their clothing match well with the background, was their a unique couple, where they sitting in nice environment, did they have a particular friendly expression that would create feelings of happiness when people saw the photo? The professor said that all she needed to do, was to ask her self these questions, then simply to go and introduce herself, explain that she was a photographer, describe why she wanted to take the persons picture, and then ask their permission. He told her that it would also help of she created some business card with her name and email, so in case they had any questions later on they could contact her. He also made sure to instruct her to ask for parents permission if she wanted to take pictures of kids playing in the park for obvious reasons.

She thought about this, and then tried it. She was amazed at the response she got. While a few people said they didn’t really want to have their picture taken, most people did. And many times when others saw her taking pictures of couples, or children on bicycles, they asked her if she was working for a magazine. And something really interesting happened. Because got into the habit of giving out her business cards, many people started contacting her for actually business purposes. When she first started, all she wanted to do was to take some pictures that would be nice to look at. Then she created a web site, and put up many of the pictures on the web site. Pretty soon she started getting many offers to take pictures for birthdays, retirement parties.

What started out as a hobby, turned into a lucrative business for her, all because she figured out exactly what she wanted, and just approached people and asked them if they wouldn’t mind participating.

Free Your Expression

I was out for my morning walk this morning, and I passed by an elementary school on my way. They were having a band practice, but it looked like the only people that were practicing were the clarinet players. They were all lined up against the fence, facing out towards the street. It sounded like they were warming up. I don’t know if somebody told them they had to go and practice where they wouldn’t bother anybody, but maybe that’s why they were aiming their clarinet sounds out towards the street, where it wouldn’t interfere with the students inside the school studying something important like plate tectonics or home economics.

I remembered I took a summer school class in fourth grade in home economics. My friend convinced me it would be a good idea, because we basically would be able to cook simple things (like a fourth grader could) like grilled cheeses and stuff. I remember that my friend and me were the only two guys in the class. It was a pity that we hadn’t discovered yet how cool girls were. We did learn how easy it was to cook a grilled cheese, so we wouldn’t have to bother our moms again. Except to yell at us to clean up our grilled cheese mess.

So as I was walking past this school, I looked over and thought I recognized one of the girls that was practicing clarinet. It was one of those times where you see somebody, and you can’t really place them immediately. But the circumstances don’t allow for you to go over and ask them where you know them from, either because you are too shy or they are on a bus going in the opposite direction. That is what it was like this morning. And I’m pretty sure she felt the same thing, because she was looking at me like she knew me.

As I kept turning my head back toward the group of girls, she raised her hand, but only about halfway. Like she wanted to wave, but she either didn’t know if I would reciprocate, or if her friends would think she was strange for waving at some weird guy walking by on the other side of the street. When she waved, I smiled and mimicked playing the clarinet, to signal my approval. Her friends all giggled at the exchange.

As I walked away, I realized that people go through three stages in life. The first stage, as children, we are outgoing and expressive and don’t hold anything back. Then when we go through those uncomfortable years, we learn that sometimes expressing ourselves is dangerous, scary, and brings much more emotional pain that pleasure. So we learn to have to choose when it’s safe to express ourselves, and when we’d better just stay silent. Then by the time we turn into adults, we have pretty much given up on freely expressing ourselves. We reserve that only for times we are with close friends, or inebriated, or both.

When you realize that everybody feels the same way, it can make it easier to be the first one. That young girl this morning, flanked by her clarinet-wielding friends, was the first to make a move, and look what happened. It turned into a positive, happy exchange. When you start to understand that all exchanges require that somebody make the first move, you can realize the power that comes from being that person. When you go first, and give the other person the wonderful gift of feeling the safety of self-expression, you will notice wonderful things happen. Your confidence will soar, your self-esteem will rise, and you happiness will skyrocket.

Whether you realize it or not, that little kid that wants to scream in pleasure whenever he or she sees something cool still lives inside you. When you remember to forget all those times it seemed like expressing yourself was emotionally painful, you can experience the joy of being totally and completely human. You will be able to let that little kid out again. And there is no fear in that.

Ask and You Shall Receive

Have you ever wanted something, but weren’t exactly sure how to get it? Like you had this thing in mind, and you knew that you really wanted this, but you really have any clue about how to even begin to go after this, and make this yours? I read this one book on persuasion that said that you need to develop super top secret covert manipulation skills to trick people into giving you what you want. But I don’t really think this is true, maybe, I don’t maybe this can be true for you, but then again, maybe not.

When I was a kid, I really wanted this really cool electronics kid from Radio Shack. It was a science geeks dream. You had this circuit board with all kind of electronic components on it. And depending how you connected things, you got a different result. At first it was really intimidating. It looked like if you hooked up something wrong it would blow up in your face. Like if you connected the wrong wire to the wrong piece of whatever, it looked as though if you made a mistake the results would be catastrophic. So despite wanting this thing for so long, when I finally opened the box, I was a bit intimidated.  And the instruction manual seemed to be filled with complex circuit diagrams meant for an electrical engineer.

I used to work with several engineers, and they seemed to be an interesting bunch of people. I should be careful here, because I was one of  them, living among them like a human lives with wolves. However, I did learn something from them. When they were in their element, they can be an aggressive bunch. If you give a group of engineers a goal, they will make it happen, by hook or by crook. In fact, many of our technological marvels that we enjoy today in large part come from byproducts of the work of engineers during the space race. It’s amazing what happens when you develop a clear goal. It’s like when you see this, and you know that you really want this, magical things can happen.

Which is what happened with my all in one electronics kit from radio shack. I really wanted it, but I didn’t have any money. So I asked my dad what I should do. He suggested I go up and down the street and knock on the neighbors doors and see if they needed any odd jobs done around the house. After I was able to develop a clear goal with an accompanying plan of action, I was all set. It was like I was able to find extra motivation to get what I wanted.

And normally, I thought it would have been scary to go knocking on the neighbors doors asking for money. But when I was able to hold a clear goal in mind, it made being able to ask for things much easier. And it’s remarkable when you do this. You think of a goal, and then when you imagine that goal as the other side of the person you are asking for whatever you want, it becomes really easy to simply ask for and get what you want.


The Magic of Conversation

I had a friend once who was telling about his brother in law. His brother in law was the kind of guy that didn’t really talk much, but you had this feeling that there was something really deep inside. Like when you were to look at this person, you were to get this feeling that there is something really special here. He never seemed to get upset. Anyways, he said that there was this problem he was having at work. He had noticed a problem on the production line where he worked, and it seemed that he was the only person to notice this. And he was kind of afraid to tell his boss, because she had a reputation for being kind of strict and by the book. He was really afraid to approach her, and start a conversation with her.

I had another friend that was a really good salesman. He worked for some really interesting modeling agency. His job was to go out and walk up to any girl he saw that he thought qualified as a model. He said at first that it was really nerve racking. He thought that he would receive a lot of rejection, approaching attractive women all. He had this imagination that they might misunderstand his motives, and not realize that he was offering them an opportunity rather than taking advantage of them. I loaned him a book of mine that I’d read on the subject.

Which is interesting when you think about it. Everywhere you go; there are all kinds of people walking around. All with different histories, backgrounds, and stories about what they see around them. Some of them can be really interesting, and some can even be fascination. It’s awe-inspiring when you look around you and when you see this person, you can imagine the treasure that is inside them. A friend and I were talking once about this subject. When the topic of being able to approach new people came up, he merely stated what he thought was the obvious. There is treasure! And when you think about it, how many ways can you imagine discovering treasure inside others, and sharing it with them? Imagine how you can make them feel incredibly happy. And the cool thing is they probably won’t even know what’s going on, so they’ll probably think this new happiness is coming from you.

After my friend read the book I loaned him, he was able to go out and approach many women every day. A large percentage said they weren’t interested, but even the ones that said “no thank you,” were polite to him, and thanked him, anyways. Even on days when he went out and didn’t get any contact information for his company to follow up on, he still was able to feel a boost to the ego, just for the experience.

So when he finally approached his boss to tell her about the problem on the production line, she was amazed at his perception. She was so happy, that he got a promotion, and at their semi-annual meeting, she gave him additional thanks in front of all his coworkers, because he’d saved the company so much money. Amazing things happen when you use your ability to communicate.


Speak Your Mind – And Achieve Your Desires

I was waiting downtown in the hospital recently. It wasn’t the emergency section of the hospital, it was the place where people needed to see a doctor for things that weren’t life threatening. I was holding a number, one of those numbers that you grab like when you go to the post office. There was a big electronic board up and it showed the numbers changing as people went into the office. The peculiar thing was that the numbers weren’t really changing according to how many people went into the room where the doctor was. It didn’t take me long to figure out that people were just crowding their way in, instead of patiently waiting for their numbers to be called. I wanted to speak up, but for some reason I didn’t. Maybe because I was sick, or maybe because I was new in town and didn’t really know anybody there.

It reminded me once when I was in first grade. I used to be really shy. Once I had to go to the bathroom really bad. Back in first grade, you were always supposed to do what the teachers said. It wasn’t recess, so I was afraid I’d get in trouble if I asked to go to the bathroom. So I sat there with my hand on my crotch, I don’t even know if I knew when recess came. I was just a kid, I hadn’t realized that the most general rule in life yet.

It’s interesting when you look at some kids. They just scream out whenever they want something. They haven’t learned to be shy when asking for what they want. i was studying a book on persuasion, and it said the most natural persuaders and manipulators there are little kids. They scream and people ten times their own size scramble to take care of them. It’s like if you are a little kid, you when you want something, you just ask for it. You don’t wait for permission. When you are hungry, you scream for food. When you want something, you don’t rest until you get it. And when you are a kid, the only rule in life is keep screaming until you get what you want.

Finally the teacher saw me and told me to go to the bathroom. When I came back, she told me that it’s ok to ask for things that you want, it’s ok to ask somebody in authority to let you do something. Because if you wait until they notice you need something, it might be too late. I thought that was a particularly nice lesson for a first grade teacher to teach a little kid.

So finally I stood, and walked over to the door. I noticed the people sitting next to the door, and I asked them in a fairly loud voice if there was some kind of line, or do you just push your way in. And maybe it was because I was a little impatient, but I said it loud enough so that most people heard me. And after I said it, I noticed that people started looking at their own numbers and obeying the rules. As it turns out, the nurse that was supposed to be taking care of the number system had a last minute emergency, and wasn’t able to come in until later. I’m glad I spoke up when I did, I might have been waiting there all day.


Bite into Interest to Create New Friends

I was riding the train home from the mall this evening. The weather was kind of dreary, and the digital camera I was looking for wasn’t in the electronic store that I thought it would be in. I want to buy a video camera so I can start posting video logs. I think that will be fun. Also, table I usually sit at in my favorite coffee shop inside the bookstore in the mall had been taken, so I had to sit someplace else. Of course, that didn’t stop me from making my usual observations and journal ideas as I sipped my black iced tea. But on the train, I was sitting across from this woman, who’d I put in her mid fifties, that was very bored. She looked like I felt. So I wondered what would happen if I started a conversation.

Conversations can be tricky sometimes. Like Forest Gump says, you really don’t know what’s inside unless you bite into it. Sometimes you’ll see a really mean looking person, and when you start to talk to them, they turn into the friendliest person you could ever meet. Other times, somebody seems to projecting an aura of friendliness and kindness, but once you start to talk to them, they look at you as if you’d just ran over their puppy. People can be extremely interesting.

I was reading this book, and it was saying that you really do have the power to find this interesting. It’s like a movie. Sometimes you don’t find this movie very compelling, other times you just have to keep your eyes focused on this. He said that the more you can choose to feel interested, the easier it gets. It was kind of a strange concept, purposely turning up your interest level so you can find something very intriguing that you wouldn’t normally do. I guess like everything else, it takes practice. He compared it to a situation when you meet a new boss that you will be working closely with. At first blush, he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy you’d want to spend more than five minutes or so in a bar, but since you are in a situation where you have to interact with this person, you somehow find a way to find interest in the same things he does. It’s almost as if by pretending, you actually generate strong interest. I know more than a few marriages where the wife will say at first she wasn’t interested, but this guy kind of grew on her. Persistence pays.

So I asked the woman where she was going this evening, and she said she was going to the airport to see her daughter who was away at university. The reason she looked so bored was that she just hates to travel. She said that she would much rather use those devices on star trek, where you just disappear one place, and then reappear in another place. That kicked off a great conversation about high tech electronic gadgets and where we’d be without them. Which just goes to show you, you never know until you bite right into it and see what’s inside.


Share the Communicating Power of Experience

I have a friend that is several years older than me. I like to hang out with him, if only to listen to his stories. He is a great story teller. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting somebody, so that when you listen to this person, you can just sit there for hours and hours listening to this persons go on and on about this and that. Most of the stories this guy tells are from his own experience. But other ones are from other people that he himself has heard stories from. Because he has lived such a long a full life, he never runs out of stuff to say.

Many times he’ll be talking about the war he was in. He was drafted, and once he realized what was going to happen to him, he decided that he was going to make the best of things. So he decided that being a communications officer was his best bet. He didn’t think being a medic was such a great idea, as he said medics have to walk around with a target painted on their back. He said a communications officer was best, because communication is important. And if you are carrying around with you one of the best resources, you are treated with a great deal of respect.

I can remember a class I took once in communications, just for fun. It wasn’t a public communications, which is public speaking. I hadn’t yet learned how easy it was to be comfortable while speaking to a large group of people. I was still in my beginning stages of learning how to communicate well on a one to one basis. Those of you who have been keeping up and like to read my blog on a regular basis will know what I’m talking about. Developing skills in communicating is one of the best skills you can develop. Being able to communicate congruently with power and confidence can be one of the most important things that you can learn in life. The class was a real eye opener for me. I learned about different communication styles that people have, different media through which you can communicate. And most important of all, the simple truth that you can’t not communicate. So it pays to be aware of the message that you are sending. Regardless if you know it or not, people are receiving you, loud and clear.

One of the most interesting things I learned from him was how to throw a grenade. It’s not like in the movies, where you can just chuck it and duck behind a bush or something. Because the pieces that come off it when it explodes go much further than you can throw it. So you need to make sure to stay out of the way when whatever you put out comes back. Whenever you decide to throw out something harmful, you’d better watch out, because it usually comes back a lot stronger than you threw it. It pays to be careful. Of course, my friend is wise enough to only tell stories that took place during basic training, where nobody died. War itself is a horrible thing, and should be talked about in polite, social conversation, when absolutely necessary.

I strongly recommend becoming friends with somebody that has a lot of experience. Not only because it’s fun to share your experience with others, it’s also just as fun to hear them as well. And who could disagree that we could always use more sharing in this world?


Overcome Shyness Through Friendly Conversation

I ran into a friend the other day on the train. I didn’t notice her at first, because she looked different. You know when you see somebody you are pretty sure that you know, but it takes a few moments for you to remember exactly where you know them from? This was one of those times. She was sitting directly across from me, and was reading some book. It didn’t look like a novel, rather it looked like some kind of trade paperback or something. It was actually her that recognized me, as I was craning my neck around to try and see the title she was reading.

She said my name, and could tell by my expression that I couldn’t remember exactly who she was. I think it is fascinating that women are much better at this kind of thing that men are. I played a game once with a group of people called ‘liars.’ People got into groups of three, and then decided amongst themselves which one would tell a true story, and which would tell a lie. There was always one liar and two truth tellers. The game was to keep asking questions until you could catch the liar in a lie. The women are almost always better at this than men.

I read an interesting book once that I think explained it. It said that this was a leftover trait of our hunter/gatherer past. Men would generally go out and look for things to kill (hunt) and women would stay home at the caves, and take care of the kids and collect fruit and stuff (gather.) And this book was saying that women were able to develop a skill that allowed them to really be able to read peoples emotions a lot better than men. I guess this is a lot easier when you can understand your own emotions. And since women are much better at this than men, they are better at being able to read facial expressions much better.

And as it turns out, my friend was reading the classic book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. She said that she was enrolled in a public speaking class through her company, and the book was required reading. She said that she decided to read this book a long time ago, and did, but since she forgot a lot of the important stuff, she made the decision to read this again. She told me that when you find something that is of value, it’s important to read this over and over to make sure you can squeeze every useful thing out of it.

And it turns out that is why I didn’t recognize her. She used to be a really shy person. When she walked, she never really was ever able to make eye contact with people, and usually had her shoulders slumped. You had to get to know her before she was comfortable in expressing herself. It was only then that you could discover what a great person she was. Now she is really enthusiastic about public speaking. She says that when you don’t express your true self to others, you really are doing yourself and others a disservice. Because when you can really feel comfortable to be able to express yourself without any fear or anxiety, people can have a chance to get to know you for who you really are. Which is likely a pretty cool person when you think of all the good stuff you’ve done in your life.

Come to think of it, she’s always been a pretty supportive person. And now she’s happy that she doesn’t have to wade through her shyness to let people discover her. Kind of cool when you think about it.

Unfortunately, she was getting off at the next stop, and I had a few stops to go. But it was good that I saw her. We’ll have to get together sometime in the future.