Interaction becomes a sort of information game in which selected things emerge and others remain hidden—and most appear as versions of the full truth. Again, all of us want other people to regard us in certain (usually, idealized) ways. Interaction, as another of his book titles has it, is “strategic.” Most of us think of self-presentation as the management of behavior (both verbal and nonverbal) and appearance. We take care with what we say and how we say it. That means monitoring posture, gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, and eye contact, as well as maintaining personal distance m
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People crave some reward-producing item in their hands, which they manipulate to move in and out of social situations. Most adults have some activity-linked object that serves both as focus and as social buffer. Similar to cigarettes, hugely popular half a century ago, cell phones are now used to...
Should we tell them our true intentions in situations? How much should they know about our current circumstances or background? Should we reveal what we already know about them?
In his 1959 book, The Presentation of Sel...
Material objects are important elements of this stagecraft. Physical settings (compare a lawyer’s office to a gymnasium) facilitate certain kinds of activity and not others. The appearance, manner, and equipment of “staff” distinguish them from “clients.” Participants feel themselves moving on an...
Material objects are important elements of this stagecraft. Participants feel themselves moving on and off stage, sometimes to its center and sometimes to its back and side regions. To be sure, clothing is one indicator of how we see ourselves, how we wish others to see us, and what we expect fro...
Old possessions symbolize continuity and endurance. New ones shout possibility. In that spirit, we upgrade televisions, computers, and phones. We move to some place different or redecorate our current accommodations. We change our appearance. In a future-oriented society, all this seems right and...
No one should romanticize those bygone days, when cigarette smoke filled most interior spaces. Rather, my point is that people crave some reward-producing item in their hands, which they manipulate to move in and out of social situations. Less addicted to smoking than their antecedents, my studen...
A British television series, “The Repair Shop,” offers wonderful examples of the ways in which treasured objects forge ties between the generations. In every episode, someone who has lost touch with a loved one (often by death) brings a dilapidated item to the shop for repair, an item that was on...
What person does not possess treasured objects that link them to earlier life stages and to the people that shared those moments with them? Sometimes, these are simply records of what one has done (like an artist’s paintings). Others are public acknowledgments (like school trophies and merit badg...
Discovering an old baseball mitt or love-worn doll is not just an occasion for memory , whether private or shared with others. Such events are confrontations with the fact that our lives extend well beyond the present; indeed, the present is only the moving edge of who we have been. As we age, th...
Stated more simply, material possessions claim us just as we claim them. Much of life, or so it seems, involves mortgages and car payments, shopping excursions, and visits to repair shops. Old goods are abandoned; new ones acquired. We should remind ourselves that material things are more than to...
More ordinary than you might think
Your stuff and habits says a lot more about you than you might have thought. Some food for thought.
More like this
"The Silent Language" by Edward T. Hall is a classic book that explores the nonverbal aspects of communication and how they shape our interactions with others:
Our outward appearance, hairstyle, clothes, behaviour (like averting a gaze or hand-wringing) indicates a lot to other people without our being conscious about it.
We are not always aware of our hand gestures, facial expressions and body language, and are blind towards the effect ...
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