Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Statement Analysis Lesson: "You're Hopelessly and Endlessly In Love With Me!"

"You're hopelessly and endlessly in love with me, aren't you?" the married man said to his co-worker, with a broad grin.

"Oh, yes," she laughed, "I lose sleep dreaming of you. Ha!  Get over yourself!" she said with a smile .

        What does Statement Analysis make of sarcasm?  What about flirtation? Witty banter?

"If you don't take out the garbage right now, I'm gonna kill you!", mother said to 17 year old son.

We do not conclude that should the garbage not be taken out, mother will murder her son.  But what do we think of such statements?

Even casual follow up questions will show that the language comes from somewhere.  I once interviewed a mother who did say such phrases as, "I'm gonna kill you" to her children, who were well younger than 17 and, although they appeared 'numb' to the words, the numbness, itself, was of concern.  She eventually said that she fantasized about killing her children, how easier life would be, how she could not meet a man because of them, and how she was perpetually broke and exhausted.

She also made a promise to herself to stop using such phrases to her children as she considered things.  I believed her and respected her honesty.

We recognize that language does not come from a void, but somewhere.  It reveals us.
We are known by our words.

Just a half-generation ago (or so), people marveled over the length of the World War II marriages.  "How could someone just agree to marry from letter writing?" was a common question.  At that time, people may have forgotten just how powerful the written word is.

They no longer wonder.

The advent of the digital age has not only given us a new world of written communication.

Unlike the beauty and elegance of penmanship, however, we have marks on a screen, often with deliberate misspellings and shortened or abbreviated words, yet, even as the scales tip left or write, we move with them, fluidly, and analyze for truth.

For example, if an email is written without the pronoun "I" as its norm, we will note the sudden insertion of the pronoun "I" as being very important.

In the "Secret Life of Pronouns" study the author found that many executives, when giving directives, omit the pronoun "I", which caused the conclusion to be that missing pronoun "I" is a signal of leadership.

Hmmm.

Perhaps not.

Perhaps it is something along these lines.

1.  "I am glad to welcome you on board and I congratulate you on your promotion."

versus

2.  "We are sorry but we have to let you go.  Budgets have been..."

I find that some in upper management don't hesitate to use the word "I" in positive emails, but quickly run to "we" when the news being delivered is not so pleasant.  Statistically, more upper management may drop pronouns, but the conclusion of the matter may not be that "leaders don't use the pronoun "I" very much", not because they are leaders, but because they are not committing to responsibility.  I would want to learn the context of the emails where the pronouns were absent, and view them against the same writer's emails where the pronoun "I" is present.

In all cases, where the subject avoids the pronoun "I" in his email means that if the pronoun "I" does show itself, take notice because it is important information.

You would be better served, even in the realm of sarcasm, to listen carefully to the words one chooses, even while being humorous.

We have all been in the uncomfortable position where a husband and wife play the "passive/aggressive" "I am only kidding!" game while taking shots at each other.  Listen carefully to the words chosen.  That which is said in jest, itself, has an origin.

The words, themselves, may guide you even more so than the tone.  As to the married co-worker "just kidding", it may be that he is on a fishing expedition and casting out his line to see what his bait might bring in.

"Many fish bite if you got good bait, I'm a going fishing, ma's  a-going fishing and my baby's a-going fishing, too..."  Americana folk song.

I would wager, if asked, a cup of coffee that the woman who said she was "losing sleep" wasn't completely joking.  

Next, Intent in Analysis.

32 comments:

Apple said...

What does Statement Analysis make of sarcasm?

---------
There is at least one marriage in trouble, maybe two.

Anonymous said...

I went fishin', lost my bait! Any suggestions on type of bait i should use? ;) April~

MaryK said...

I worked with a married man once who used to do those "kiddings" a lot. I always pretended they were jokes, but would always answer by honing in on a defect he had, "If only you'd lose 30 pounds, As soon as you get a nose job, etc. He stopped after my variety of responses.

Nanna Frances said...

Peter,

"even as the scales tip left or write"

Did you mean right?

Your posts are everywhere on the web. I want it to be correct. Old school teachers can't quit proofreading.

~ABC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I never get people who say, "I love her to death" or "I love him to pieces". Always seems a bit creepy to me.

~ABC said...

ooops. I posted that comment on the wrong thread. I've moved it.

Excruciating Headache said...

"...yet, even as the scales tip left or write,..."

Nanna Frances beat me to it. Deliberate or spell check? The world may never know. And it's not even a tootsie pop.

Anonymous said...

Nanna Francis..You are the best!!! April~

Concerned Texas Grandma said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Concerned Texas Grandma said...

Anonymous said...
I never get people who say, "I love her to death" or "I love him to pieces". Always seems a bit creepy to me.

Oh Dear, I say those things in regards to my grandchildren all the time. I also say "I could just eat 'her or him' up". I think it's just an old southern saying and not meant to be creepy, at it wasn't before. The next time it slips out of my mouth I'll feel a little disgusted with myself. :(

Lemon said...

"Oh, yes," she laughed, "I lose sleep dreaming of you. Ha! Get over yourself!" she said with a smile .
__________

How does one "lose sleep" dreaming? Wouldn't you "gain" sleep dreaming? Or is she day dreaming before she goes to sleep? :)

Lis said...

I'm wondering if it is possible to hone into sarcastic statements to find precisely what the person is revealing?

Maybe it also shows a sense of powerlessness? Like the mother, she can't figure out how to train her children to respect her authority so she resorts to hostility.

I'm not a fan of sarcasm because it often seems like a vehicle for contempt or hostility.

There was a woman at a church I went to years ago who was always making sarcastic "jokes" towards others that were actually put-downs of one kind or another. I was the recipient more than once so I know how it felt. One day when she wasn't there, she came up in the conversation and I said that I felt her "jokes" were actually cruel and she was hurting peoples' feelings, and I was surprised by a chorus of "YES!" from the others, because everyone would just laugh when she made these comments.


Anonymous said...

Please help find Ayla
from Hailey's Mom Billie Jean Dunn 1 hour ago · I HAVE received SUCH A GREAT OUT pouring of love & condolences,so much so that I COULDn't NAME YOU ALL INDIVIDUALLY. Thank you TO EVERYONE WHO HELD hope UP UNTIL WE COULDN'T ANY LONGER. My hope has ended,but NOW CLOSURE CAN BEGIN FOR ME,MY BEAUTIFUL son & husband,all our family & FRIENDS. My baby has been found. Now to get her home where she belongs & get her justice. Today i learned MY DAUGHTER HAS BEEN MURDERED. Robbed of her short,innocent life. I'm just so grief stricken,but on the other hand,I CAN TAKE SOME COMFORT KNOWING my baby is safe & happy

Anonymous said...

A very good friend of mine wrote to me one night, "Surely you're a sweetie, I love you to death." He died that night from long term issues from a car accident. I know you're not into psychics, neither am I, but (un)arguably, there's more to the human mind and spirit than we can see. He must have known.
I will choose my words more carefully from now on. I've said they're driving me nuts before, and they are... but this is a reminder that if they hear what I say, what it does in their minds may not be what I intended.
However, I don't think other people who say these things should beat themselves up, just think about it.
Also Peter, maybe the parents DO feel like this, but joking in the moment while they're angry is a nicer way to let it all go than acting.

Dee said...

Concerned Texas Grandma said...
Anonymous said...
I never get people who say, "I love her to death" or "I love him to pieces". Always seems a bit creepy to me.

Oh Dear, I say those things in regards to my grandchildren all the time. I also say "I could just eat 'her or him' up". I think it's just an old southern saying and not meant to be creepy, at it wasn't before. The next time it slips out of my mouth I'll feel a little disgusted with myself. :(
**********************************
Concerned Texas Grandma...Maybe it's a Grandma thing. I don't recall using those phrases with my kids but I do use them with my grand kids.

Sus said...

I used sarcasm yesterday to try to make an anon poster feel at ease. Now when I think about it, it didn't come from a vacuum. I see conservatives as closed-minded, noncompassionate people. Oh, and also very negative. That's my perception. I am willing to discuss our different and finer qualities and meet in the middle, tho. Oops, here comes sarcasm ...conservatives won't usually take a step to the middle because they're closed-minded. ;)

Anonymous said...

@ sus: Liberals who are open to everything call "conservatives" "closed minded" as a way to force EVERYTHING we should accept under your terms down our throats.

If you don't stand for something you'll fall for everything!

Liberals tend to fall.

Lis said...

Sus, I'm sorry you think that I am close-minded, non-compassionate and negative. I guess you don't believe conservatives have feelings, either.

Anonymous said...

Sus said...
I used sarcasm yesterday to try to make an anon poster feel at ease. Now when I think about it, it didn't come from a vacuum. I see conservatives as closed-minded, noncompassionate people. Oh, and also very negative. That's my perception. I am willing to discuss our different and finer qualities and meet in the middle, tho. Oops, here comes sarcasm ...conservatives won't usually take a step to the middle because they're closed-minded. ;)


This is NOT about you and your politics! Take it elsewhere!

Sus said...

Actually it goes right here because I was pointing out how my sarcasm of yesterday does not come from a vacuum...just as Peter said in the post. It came from my perception of conservatives.

At no point did I say my perception is correct, or the only one in the world. I said it is mine and where my sarcasm came from.

~ABC said...

BJD has changed her profile pic Ahhhhgain. The one with Clint is completely gone. Not even in the albums. lol Whoooo boy!

brosnanfan said...

I have heard it often said that, "Many a true word is said in jest." I don't think I got the quote quite right, but that's the gist of it.

Oh, btw...what does being liberal or conservative have to do with anything here? If we are truly using SA, aren't we to consider the subject's words, and not put our own spin on those words? Shouldn't we be a sort of objective dictionary, considering the words without the taint of our own belief system on them?

I would dare to say that there would be few of us here who could truly use SA in an effective way if we looked at a statement through the eyes of our own belief system. For example: If a woman were to say, "I didn't kill my daughter! How dare you accuse me of that! What do you want me to say, 'I killed that girl'? I was at the mall when she died, and I stayed there all day. How can you say I did it?" Emotionally, we might look at that statement and feel empathy for this mother who has lost her daughter, because if we are a parent ourselves we might put ourselves in her shoes and think about how WE would feel; therefore, I believe trying to use SA while filtering it through our own sympathetic emotions makes SA worthless.

So...in my opinion, if you're picking at liberals or conservatives and sticking labels on them, saying that liberals are too likely to fall for anything and conservatives are too closed-minded, you're not using SA correctly. SA has no label, no politics, no gender, no age, no nationality, no nothing. The subject is dead, the statement is alive; that should be true of the person doing the analysis as well, IMO.

john said...

Anonymous said...
Please help find Ayla
from Hailey's Mom Billie Jean Dunn 1 hour ago · I HAVE received SUCH A GREAT OUT pouring of love & condolences,so much so that I COULDn't NAME YOU ALL INDIVIDUALLY. Thank you TO EVERYONE WHO HELD hope UP(Insert Haileys Name) UNTIL WE COULDN'T ANY LONGER. My hope has ended,but NOW CLOSURE CAN BEGIN FOR ME,MY BEAUTIFUL son & husband,all our family & FRIENDS(Order is important,she puts herslf first agin). My baby(Insert Haileys name) has been found. Now to get her home where she belongs & get her(Insert Haileys Name) justice. Today i learned MY DAUGHTER HAS BEEN MURDERED. Robbed of her short,innocent life. I'm just so grief stricken,but on the other hand,I CAN TAKE SOME COMFORT KNOWING my baby(Insert Haileys Name) is safe & happy.

Again we see she CAN Not bring herself to say Haileys name.

(Distancing herself from Her)

Well iv'e done it for you!!!



Its all ME,ME,ME.

Anonymous said...

What do you guys think of these new quotes from Obama?....

“You know, rumors of my demise may be a little exaggerated,” Obama said.

Back in 1995, Bill Clinton assured Americans that he was still relevant; this may be the first time a president asserted that he was still alive.

One hundred days into his second term, Obama has already lost control of the agenda, if he ever had control in the first place. He ricocheted through his news conference, as he has through his presidency recently, between issues and crises not of his choice.

He was asked about unrest in Syria, the September attack on American officials in Libya, the bombing in Boston, troubles implementing his health-care law and difficulty closing the military prison at Guantanamo Bay. Karl pointed out that Obama’s gun-control legislation collapsed, that his attempts to undo the “sequester” cuts have been ignored and that 92 House Democrats defied his veto threat on a cybersecurity bill.

“Well, if you put it that way, Jonathan, maybe I should just pack up and go home,” Obama replied. “Golly.”


from The Washington Post.

Peter Hyatt said...

I think more and more Americans are tired of Obama personally (politics aside) due to his tone of lecturing and his continual campaigning.

He's making people speak more fondly of George W. Bush.

The "Obama chin" is now part of body language analysis lexicon.

Anonymous said...

Peter, If the Washington Post is finally tired of him, maybe people really are waking up from their slumber!

He has lowered the standard for people, and people tend to raise or lower to expectations.

I see his negative effect on the entire world, and it hasn't been good. It's a cynical outlook he leads with.

I always knew GWB would come out well in the long game.

In those statements it appears he is acknowledging his demise and that he should pack up and go home.

Sus said...

This may be stating it too simply, and thinking naively on my part, but it seems Obama is not living by his inner principals any longer. Obama is out to prove [to himself ] that he is somebody.

He waffles back and forth on how to be somebody. Witness Michell's nomination speech where she focused on how Obama was the "same man." she met. But when he is the same man she met, no one else acknowledges him.

Obama wants to be somebody, yet hold to his inner beliefs. In politics it doesn't work that way.

Wait till Hillary runs. Inner beliefs = be somebody.

I hope this made sense. I feel like I'm rambling as usual.

Lis said...

Sus said...

"Actually it goes right here because I was pointing out how my sarcasm of yesterday does not come from a vacuum...just as Peter said in the post. It came from my perception of conservatives.

"At no point did I say my perception is correct, or the only one in the world. I said it is mine and where my sarcasm came from."

That was very insightful of you, Sus.

I have learned a lot about myself through statement analysis, too. I have to laugh at myself sometimes.

It seems like people tend to perceive a whole group by the members of that group they have personally known. Of course, we will only know about the ones who are outspoken in their beliefs; we probably know many people who belong to a certain group without ever knowing it.

I don't put a lot of credence in politics' ability to solve problems, and I don't like it to come between me and other people, it's not worth it. People and relationships are more important to me.

Lis said...

Obama or GW Bush...

It's like arguing about the arrangement of the chairs on the Titanic.

Excruciating Headache said...

"The Obama Chin"

If I were the president and people referred to me as a terrorist, a Muslim, a foreigner, hung effigies of me from trees, and made cardboard cut-outs of me and used them for target practice, I might overcompensate by looking more confident that I felt.

The case that may be, but the preachy tone gets old really fast.

Coughing said...

Maybe this woman feels obligated to engage in minor flirtation or humor this man's ego for political/career reasons. Her answer is in the negative and it's innocuous without being outright rejecting. It's offhand and contradictory as someone pointed out...you can't lose sleep and dream at the same time.
She is not advancing the flirtation forward at all. He approaches her and she shoots it down in a way. But nothing is said on her part to move it along. I think he may be needy, pushy, etc., but she's just going through the motions of having "one of those" egocentric guys to work with, as I've had to deal with. It's much better to be the girl who won't give a satisfying response in any way. Don't feedthe beast, as they say.