My Wife says I’m insensitive… I say it’s not my fault my grandmother had a refrigerator!

Beach BBQ 2007
Fighting Fifth Marine Rgt – Beach BBQ 2007

To please my on-going fascination with behavioral psychology & general interest into why people behave the way they do and further to find out what motivates the behavior, I have recently grown more attentive to the conversations that hide in plain sight – Body Language.  I have found it very interesting and have read a couple of books on the topic.  The Definitive Book of Body Language by Allan and Barbara Pease, and What Every BODY is Saying by Joe Navarro.  I suppose my curiosity to human behavior, the motivators, and how to read it might be tied to my love for understanding consumer trends, and for leading others.  Being able to accurately read what people are saying without words is a vital skill to social life – and perhaps survival in general.

This skill to communicate through the understanding of the body language we display and receive is not anything new to us, as humans or even as mammals.  I’ve seen it referred to as implicit communication, emotional intelligence, interpersonal skills (a new HR/recruiting hot-term), social skills, etc.  There is much to be said on the topic, and I by no means am a professional or expert.  However, I do feel I have noticed a trend – the greater “Social” media has become a part of our lives, the greater the focus on “Emotional Intelligence” and “Interpersonal Skills” in the work-force.  I have to wonder if it is looked for with more ferocity now because we, as developing and technologically advanced people, are less frequently able to apply interpersonal skills – in person.  Do we over-interact virtually, and under-interact face-to-face?

I have no hard evidence, nor am I in a University Laboratory and able to spend the time and resources to gather the data and write a scholarly article to say one way or another.  I can say, that since Sears-Roebuck made home deliveries possible thanks to the railroad, and shortly after refrigerators became a household product in the 1920s and 1930s, our social interaction became limited by design. We no longer had to make daily trips for perishables from a market where we interacted, face-to-face.  Nor did we need help to haul large items because they could be delivered from catalog.  Recently, since Facebook, and Myspace were launched in 2004, and the ever growing online forums and communities, not only do we not have to go out for necessities that limits our chances to interact, we don’t even have to go out to “interact”!

Could this be why we now need so much instruction to understand “Emotional Intelligence”, or why we have to be educated on “Interpersonal Skills”?