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severalog

Opener and opener

J. Harry Caufield

Here's another decontextualized bit from Emotional Intelligence 2.0: "Be Open and Be Curious".* I think this may be one of the more useful strategies presented in the book, though that makes sense as it's strategy #1 on their list of Relationship Management techniques. The strategy could be reworded in this way: provide context for yourself and others.

It's easy to interact with people while making assumptions about them. We really don't have any other choice as it's just more efficient that way. If someone's behaving angrily, we tend to assume that something irritated them and leave it at that. If they're acting in a way we find strange or illogical, we tend to assume that's just how they are. These tendencies rub me the wrong way. There's a reason for everything, so why not pursue additional detail? A lack of context really may be one of the most pervasive communication issues of the information age.

The whole strategy of "be open and curious" is vague, of course. It's something we all have to do to some extent but also something we might avoid when it's most necessary. As it's worded, the strategy also doesn't really provide any meaningful way to get beyond small talk. That being said, I'd like to think it's applicable to more than just in-person interactions. It may be most effective in spaces where context is at a premium (i.e., social networks) and the culture of anonymity clashes with the demand for content. I'll try it out and see how it works.

*Alternate lesson: tell everyone you were in the Marines at every possible convenience unless that's actually true.