Just what, exactly, can we learn from a pretty face?
Is there someone in your life who consistently makes you feel like you are on an emotional roller coaster? Do you know a person who is friendly one day but sulks and withdraws the next? Does a family member or friend consistently procrastinate, postpone, stall, and shut down any emotionally-laden conversations?
Our culture--particularly in business and politics--seems to be in love with the charismatic leader:The guns blazing, no-holds barred, center-of-attention leader, who is a super confident if not arrogant, aggressively decisive leader of a band of star-struck followers.
Photo by Greg at the St. Louis Zoo As a child, I was very introverted and quite shy . I had friends, but generally preferred spending time with one or two of them at a time. When in large groups such as Cub Scouts or less-structured social events, I generally felt out of place. I remained on the periphery and honed my observation skills.
Seconds after Tamara was ushered into his office, Michael knew she was right for the creative staff of the advertising team he ran. Within a year, they were not only a productive duo professionally, they were dating. She soon jumped to another agency largely so they could live together openly. A year later, they were married and enacting their plan to start a boutique agency together. Business grew comfortably although not spectacularly—until the recession hit.
In my decades of practice as a psychotherapist, this is the insight that has inspired me most:
If you want to truly connect with someone, talk about what matters...what really matters! Too often we interact with others (and make judgments about them as well) based on very superficial information such as appearances. Or we don't feel that we really connect with someone partially because our conversation is about something that isn't very fulfilling or satisfying. We leave a conversation with a friend, colleague, love interest, or acquaintance feeling empty and unfulfilled. This morning at a breakfast meeting with several friends someone (who happens to be from Chile originally) made a statement that was very revealing to me regarding this point. He expressed his frustration that Americans too often in conversation focus on fairly superficial matters such as sports, family (and especially children's) activities such as vacations, school and extra-curricular activities, and such.
Lauren had been in one committed romantic relationship after another since age 16. It seemed simpler to negotiate life in tandem with a boyfriend, who could listen to her stories, stand as a buffer against her family, and supply emotional support in a steady, easy way. She thought of herself as skilled at relationships but weak in areas like self-reliance, independence, and simply being alone, and at first she was OK with it. As time went on, however, she found herself unable to end relationships even when they felt mired in humiliation and hurt.
Mind & Brain :: Mind Matters :: January 24, 2012 :: :: Email :: Print Author Susan Cain explains the fallacy of "groupwork," and points to research showing that it can reduce creativity and productivity By Gareth Cook
Miina Matsuoka lives by herself in New York City. She owns two cats and routinely screens her calls. But before you jump to conclusions, note that she is comfortable hobnobbing in any of five languages for her job as business manager at an international lighting-design firm. She just strongly prefers not to socialize , opting instead for long baths, DVDs, and immersion in her art projects. She does have good, close friends, and goes dancing about once a month, but afterward feels a strong need to "hide and recoup."
A new study confirms that men's minds come from Mars and women's from Venus. In an article recently published in the online journal PLoS ONE, Italian cognitive psychologist Marco Del Giudice and his collaborators compared the personality traits of men and women in a sample of over 10,000 people and found huge differences. Women scored much higher than in men in Sensitivity, Warmth, and Apprehension, while men scored higher than women in Emotional Stability, Dominance, Rule-Consciousness, and Vigilance. When many personality traits were considered simultaneously, there was only a 10% overlap between the distributions of these traits in men and women.