What the eyes don’t see…

kneeling

There is something to be said about being able to see the person you are talking with.

I have an ongoing struggle with talking on the phone. In my professional world I have always been able to do it without an issue. I know what purpose I am making (or receiving) the call for, and there is little place for emotion or misunderstanding. But in my personal life it is a different animal, and I would always rather a text or email exchange. I have improved massively over the last few years, with trusted friends and sharing in depth conversations. Each time I talk to someone new things get easier, I am less crippled by the fear.

The fear comes in no small part from my voice.

It is my biggest insecurity and there is not one thing I can do about it. well, other than get over the fact that I find it irritating. So I am gaining evidence that my voice does not irritate others…  by humiliating myself through calls to friends. With my closest circle I barely even notice I am exposed in that way now. Which is lucky, given the current Covid situation!

The other side of my worries about talking on the phone is that I can’t see the other person.

I rely heavily on body language to interpret the meaning of conversation. In a text message or email exchange it is almost a given that things will get lost in the words, explanations are easily asked for. But on the phone if I misunderstand the tone then I worry that the person I am talking to will get upset if I ask. There has been a lot of research into communication and it is no surprise that I find this a challenge. With one research professor stating that 7% of communication comes from the words we use and 38% from the tone of our voice. This leaves 55% to non-verbal communication. Body positioning, facial expressions and eye movements…

The body language that we rely on is intrinsic to our understanding of others when we communicate.

Something that I have learnt through kink is the ability to really listen. To be bound, vulnerable and blind to the world around me made my ears hear in a whole new way. This has helped reduce my reliance on body language, most likely because the man who initiated me into the world of blindfolds has always been very direct, straightforward, easy to understand. There are no hidden meanings in his words so the 7% is clear. Tone of voice clarifying the meaning behind his words in a way that I had never heard before. Humour, patience, passion, concern, reprimands, admonishments… nothing hidden behind them. Just simple, intelligible, transparent communication. The need for the other half negated by the trust that he would use those same crystal clear words to tell me if something was wrong. No twisted meanings what-so-ever. I trust, he keeps me safe. This has always been the way for us.

For me, clearly relayed verbal signs with those I trust, it has become easier to over-ride the need for body language and gain confidence with talking on the phone.

4Thoughts

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What the eyes don’t see… was first published on A Leap of Faith.

10 comments

  1. A fascinating post. I really liked the research on the 3 constiuents of a conversation. I can relate to not enjoying talking on the phone. I have to gird my loins before picking up the phone and often write down what I’m intending to say.

    1. It is interesting stuff, isn’t it? And the ration is not what I expected before reading up on it.

      I always used to have lists, but the more I do it the better I am at remembering what I have to say

    2. I found that interesting CP about you having to think first b4 calls – being as you were in the theatre I always think you would be confident with any interaction xx

      1. You’re right May. I was confident and during all the years I worked at the BBC. Always cool, calm and collected It’s just in my private life, and especially as I’ve got older I have felt like this. xx

  2. Great post – I prefer to look in someones eyes to see where they are coming from when talking -i avoid phone too. I agree about communication via body language regarding kink – it is vital for it to work.
    Thank you for linking up 😉
    May xx

  3. It’s interesting you struggle with phone calls with family and friends but not professionally! More interestingly is that the fear comes from your voice- thinking it irritates others. I have a similar insecurity regarding my voice, but I’m worried about it for a different reason.

    I’m glad to hear though that it’s becoming slightly easier for you. And while body language would be present all the time in ideal situations, the way you manage now with the ones you trust seems like a second best

    1. Professionally I just have to pick up the phone, do my thing and put is back down again. Not always as easy as that, but the emotional connection with the person at the other end isnt there. Whereas with feiends and family the second guessing of how they feel comes in.

      Trusting people has allowed me to gain confidence. That I don’t sound like a little girl with an irritating, whiny voice. I still can’t listen to myself back though once I’ve been recorded. (Shudders)

  4. I don’t like talking on the phone either, except with my adult kids, but with anyone else… no thank you. I prefer texts and email. Even professionally. I am always afraid that I might misunderstand the person on the other side, and make a fool of myself. That’s one part of it, but reading this made me realize that it might indeed have something to do with me not being able to see the body language of the one on the other side. This definitely is something to consider. Thank you for a thought-provoking post 🙂
    ~ Marie

    1. I think the two are linked so closely: the misunderstanding along with the missing body language. But practise makes perfect, I hope 😊 N x

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