Human beings are ‘social animals’ less by choice and more by necessity. Yes! If we go back to the early days of our civilization, the evolution had brought us to a juncture where we had to concede to the fact that we were neither the fastest nor the strongest animal around and thus had to be smartest. And the smartest thing to do was to stay in groups and use that collective strength and intelligence to survive.
The strategy succeeded but also left us with a responsibility bordering on a burden. We had to learn to deal with the complexities of managing relationships. And with that came many acts to be performed ‘day to day’ – managing impressions, shaping perceptions, tracking conditions and making adjustments. This art of ‘diplomacy’ was required, yet there was a side-effect attached to it – the risk of getting turned into ‘manipulation’.
And that risk has today become a reality. Infidelity, betrayal, molestation, debauchery, frauds, scams, scandals… all are side-effects of that manipulating. In such a scenario, Social Intelligence has a pivotal role to play. We define Social intelligence as ‘Observing nonverbal behavior and understanding emotions for greater interpersonal effectiveness and self-management’. This skill can help you safeguard your emotional, mental or financial investment.
But how does it help? Well! We all know that words can be really manipulative, because they can be customized to suit one’s hidden motives. However, it is very difficult to manipulate one’s nonverbal cues like expressions, gestures and postures. They reveal the truth certainly. The reason is that while words are under one’s conscious control, the nonverbal cues are instinctive and involuntary. And thus even if someone tries to exercise the cortical control over them, there is always a seepage of real emotional state.
To spot and identify those hardwired involuntary emotional reactions, one needs to have knowledge of the configuration of facial expressions and how human body’s nervous system acts in various circumstances. With this detailed understanding and some focused directed practice, a person can learn to see what lies beneath. And that enhanced caliber to pay attention to someone and read emotions can save you from an attempted manipulation.
So whether it is concealed contempt, masked disgust, duping delight, controlled fear, onset of sadness, hidden anger, hint of nervousness, recovered reluctance, toned-down disagreement or mellowed reconsideration; it is possible to see it and then apply your mental faculty to choose the most apt response on the basis of that valuable information received.
Artificial intelligence Photo
By geralt from Pixabay