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Miaren Crow's Daughter (miaren) wrote,
@ 2004-06-10 18:40:00
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    Current mood: indifferent

    Doin' The Stroke

    Something happened recently that reminded me of this - a person complained about "being snubbed" by someone else, when the someone else had not, in fact, "snubbed" them.

    In conversations, there is a theory with some fancy name that goes essentially like this: When having a conversation with someone, there is an expectation that "strokes" will be traded. If there is an imbalance in the "stroking", the conversation isn't really working.

    As an example:
    "Bob" walks into his office and passes "Harry". Bob says "Hello"; Harry says "Hello". They've just traded one "stroke" each. They part, each feeling reasonably OK about the conversation.

    This can extend further:

    Bob: Hello
    Harry: Hi, Bob. How's it going?
    Bob: Oh, not bad. How about you?
    Harry: Doing fine. Later.
    Bob: See ya.

    They've each traded about 3 strokes.

    Now, let's suppose that there's an imbalance:

    Bob: Hello
    Harry: Hi, Bob. How's it going?
    Bob: Terrible. My knee's acting up, the kid's in trouble at school, and someone stole my cellphone.

    Harry, expecting the standard stroke-for-stroke exchange, is likely to be taken aback.


    Bob: Hello, Harry. How's it going? (2 strokes)
    Harry: Fine [walks off] (1 stroke)

    Bob's left feeling that things aren't really "fine" with Harry.

    The upshot of all this is: If you nod at someone, and they nod back, and neither of you continues the exchange.... You haven't been snubbed

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