The weather affects so many decisions we make each day: what to wear, where to eat lunch, how to travel. We have these things in common, and we can talk about them if we try.

We need to reach out to people we don't know as it connects us in a world that seems to want to keep us apart.

Makayla D. (@makidd524) - Profile Photo




Talking about the weather

Talking about the weather is good for us. Starting a conversation about the weather may provide some cues as to how, or if, you should continue with the conversation.

Perhaps you'll say, "It's a scorcher out there, isn't it?" and the other person will reply with a comment about climate change or something witty that sends your heart aflutter. Or they may put their head down and grumble something inaudible and leave in silence.

The Meaning Of "Sad"
  • In Old English, sæd, meant full.
  • In German, satt, still means full.
  • In Latin, satis, meant enough.
  • By the 14th century, sad meant firm and resolute thus developing the seriousness of the word.
  • In the modern era, sad now means that "one is in sorrow" or someone who is weary and tired.
The Meaning Of "Pretty"
  • The word is from Old English "prættig" which means "cunning"
  • By the 15th century, people used it to describe something that is made cleverly or artful.
  • Over time, the modern use for the word pretty is not used to describe someone who is attractive and good-looking or pleasing to the eyes. The word is often thrown as a compliment, mostly towards females.
  • There are, however, ironic ways to use "pretty". Phrases like "pretty pass" or "pretty state of affairs"
The Meaning Of "Silly"
  • This word came from Old English where it meant happy or fortunate. As time passed it then got associated with "piousness" and "holiness" because the innocent are easily taken advantage of and the word "silly" came to signal a person who they deemed weak or helpless.
  • In addition to that, the negative associations to the word "silly" increased to the point where it started to mean that the person lacked sophistication thus the emergence of the modern sense of "foolishness".
The Meaning Of "Tall"
  • The word is an Old English word that meant swift or active.
  • By the 15th century, the word had emerged many different meanings ranging from being handsome to someone who is skillful. Expressions such as "tall of hand" and "tall of tongue" also arose which meant that this person was handy and good at arguing, respectively.
  • In the 16th century, the word tall has been used for subsequent metaphorical extensions like how large meant "tall order".
The Meaning Of "Naughty"
  • It originally meant to describe someone who has nothing, thus the saying "to have naught".
  • Then it was used to describe someone who is immoral but in a much less intense scenario, it is used to describe someone who is disobedient.
  • When one is being "naughty", they are usually put in a "naughty corner" a place of isolation to be sent in as a punishment.
  • The indecency that comes with the word "naughty" was originally found in a Monty Python sketch back in the 1970s and is carried until today.

Both Async and Sync communication is necessary in a workplace.

As real-time communication is necessary to boost team morale, employee engagement and creative brainstorming, we cannot rely on only asynchronous communication. The manager needs to balance the communication methods to create a model best suited for the company culture.

  • Async communication blurs the line between work and home, something that already became fuzzy since smartphones came(starting with the Blackberry, for those who remember them).
  • There is a feeling of disconnection from the rest of the team members, with the interactions lacking visual cues and warmth.
  • The workers are responsible for being up to date with every new development.
  • Work is done alone and each worker is responsible for their own productivity, with some employers seeing it as a trust issue, with increased monitoring.
  • As companies have different work environments and data privacy issues, problems of micromanagement arise with remote workers doing asynchronous communication.
  • Lack of socializing and a dearth of informal conversations are common problems for team members working alone at home in different parts of the world.
  • Messages on Slack, even with the emoji are sometimes misinterpreted by colleagues. Many workers are email fatigued, more prone to misread the message.

Remote work involves asynchronous communication, but also involves Zoom check-in meetings and real-time messaging, making it a hybrid activity.

The pandemic has forced async communication on various companies which are now facing the pros and cons.

On Your Own Time

Asynchronous communication is when the exchanges of information among colleagues, clients or businesses do not happen in real-time, but whenever the other person is able to communicate. Our workdays are already filled with async communication (like email) but the pandemic has forced a lot more people to leave their shared workspaces and sit at their homes.

Zoom and even instant messaging is synchronous communication, and async communication is actually slow and less collaborative among team members, something which leads to confusion and even isolation.

  • The main advantage of async communication is that it enables deep thinking, as the expectation of someone responding immediately isn’t there.
  • People can work in ‘flow’ mode and then schedule a time to communicate at their own convenience.
  • New joiners are easy to get on board, as they have access to extensive information and get synced up before they start.
  • Meeting fatigue is reduced as people can watch recorded meetings on their own time.
  • Traditional office hours and location are no longer something to worry about, as Flexi-work across the globe becomes the norm.
Sign of the horns

This sign has a lot of possible origins. The popularisation is attributed to Ronnie James Dio in the 1970s. Dio says his Italian grandmother inspired him to pick up on the "corna" gesture to ward off the "evil eye" and bad luck.

His grandmother might have been inspired by the 1897 novel Dracula, which mentions characters using the sign to protect themselves from the evil eye.

The original gesture was an ancient pagan custom that demanded two people to cross fingers - the idea that wishes would be kept safe until they came true.

Early Christians often crossed their fingers when faced with persecution to invoke the power of Christ's crucifixion or to absolve themselves from sin. Some would cross fingers with fellow Christians before Mass to form the symbol of the ichthus.

  • Applause dates back to ancient times.
  • In Western culture, clapping originated in the ancient Roman theatre.
  • From there, Roman politicians used the applause to gauge their popularity and approval based on how much applause they received.
  • Applause was also used as a way to collect data and determine leadership value.

The hand signs' meaning is believed to date back to ancient times, with the Greeks using it when referencing male genitalia. The Romans called it the "shameless finger."

Its earliest documentation in the U.S. was in 1886 when a pitcher for the Boston Beaneaters " flipped the bird" in a photograph with the team's rivals.

  • One theory claims that on Oct 2, 1977, the high five was created when Los Angeles Dodger Glenn Burke thrust his hand over his head to greet another Dodgers player, Dusty Baker, and Baker smacked it.
  • The other theory is that basketball player Derek Smith invented the high five during the 1978-79 season. Another player, Wiley Brown, tried to give Smith a low five, but Smith asked for one high up instead.
Bunny ears

Putting two fingers up in the shape of a "V" behind your friend's head has a dark origin.

  • In the Middle Ages, the bunny ear gesture was used to shame a man whose wife was unfaithful.
  • The hand sign may also symbolise donkey ears - a common insult in Medieval times.
Thumbs-up and thumbs-down

In ancient Rome, referees originally used these gestures to decide if a gladiator should live or die. However, thumbs up meant death, and pressing your thumb down on your fist meant life.

In 1917, in a book titled Over the Top, Arthur Guy Empey explained that U.K. soldiers used the phrase thumbs-up to indicate that all was well.

The "V" sign can be used as a symbol of peace or an insult. In the U.K., if your palm is facing yourself while you're making the sign, it's the same as using your middle finger in the U.S. If your palm is facing outward, the sign simply means the number two.

During WWII, the V sign (with your palm facing outward) was used to signify "victory.", After the 1960s, the hand sign began to be associated with "peace" by American and British youths.

Handshake origin

One of the earliest depictions in art of a handshake is from the 9th century B.C. Homer mentioned a handshake in The Odyssey a century or two later.

  • One theory about the origin of the handshake suggests that showing someone your empty, weapon-free palm portrays peaceful intentions. The shaking motion would dislodge any hidden weapons.
  • Another theory suggests the clasping motion symbolises good faith and a sacred bond.

Poor social skills are a real disadvantage because this is often seen as a moral failure rather than a merely intellectual one. 

Having good social skills is more risk-avoidance than reward-seeking. Having good social skills is about avoiding misfires which cause mutual communication to break down.

Listening, the effort taken to correctly understand the social context and minds of other people, is probably more like 80% of social skills, with the last 20% being delivery of your message.

Social intelligence, like common intelligence, is most likely a mix of innate predisposition and effortful learning

Some people, like it or not, have intrinsic personalities or capacities that make them more charismatic, likable, and socially intelligent. However, at the same time, acquired knowledge and skill matters as well. 

The way to improve at anything is to practice.

Feedback is an important mechanism for practice. You try something, you get a response, and you use that response to adjust your output for next time. 

It’s possible to be good at speaking but bad at listening or vice versa. A key part of effective speaking is understanding the listerners’ states of mind.

Many good speakers fail to land a joke, for instance, because they don’t understand very well how the person who is listening is actually processing what is being said.

Coordinating With The People Around You

In large organizations, being a great programmer, designer or writer is useless if you can’t effectively coordinate with the people around you. And in bigger organizations, the people around you can easily become the biggest obstacle to that success.

Knowing how to deal with people artfully, therefore, can easily become a key skill to success. 

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