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Why, when we want something to change in the way someone else behaves, are we often too cautious or afraid of hurting their feelings, that we never actually do anything about it, when doing so would give us such relief and so often make things better? I often think that people should be able to READ MY MIND because I am thinking so fiercely at them.

It happens a lot when I get a massage. You can practically see the steam rising off my head, I am thinking so hard and so concentrated: NO! NOT THERE, OVER THERE! NO! THERE!! Aaargh, so close! I like my massage therapist who lives here in Flyinge (and I like her prices, too) but I often come away feeling that she didn't hit the spot, or she only hit it part of the time. On Tuesday, I woke up with a terrible headache; borderline migraine, that despite medication, stretching exercises and caffeine, refused to let go its grip on the back of my neck and skull until, by the end of the day, I could tell that my shoulders were up around my ears and my head was throbbing.

As I took off my jacket and shoes and got ready to lie down on the table, I screwed up my determination and told her that I didn't want the usual today, and explained about the horrible headache. I outlined exactly what I wanted and damned if it didn't work. She hit the spot immediately and kept on hitting it for 40 straight minutes as my eyes rolled up into my head and I went into a coma. AAAAAH. When it was over, and I was able to wipe the drool from the headrest and arise, I praised the massage to the skies and told her I would have to ask for that version every time. Ta-dah!

Was that so hard?

Thinking at them rarely works with my kids either. Usually I have to yell at them to get their attention, which is much less dignified than mind control. Nor does it work with colleagues, a very dissatisfying state of affairs. And, more's the pity,there's no yelling policy in the corporate handbook. If only thinking made it so. Shut your door when you're having a discussion in your office at that decibel level, my mental voice shouts at one aggravating co-worker. Stop reading all your instructions one by one to me while pointing at them in turn...I CAN READ it blasts through the brainpan of another. Give me a raise and more recognition! is mentally darted at my manager. No reaction. Rats.

I think part of the problem is that I just assume that people should automatically understand and cater to the unspoken wishes of others, namely, me. It's only common courtesy, after all.

If I ran the world, things would be different around here!
mood: silly
music: Velvet—I Am The Queen


This is a very common problem. In fact, there are some cultures that are more adept at mind-reading than others because it is built into their very structure. Because you are supposed to pick up on silent signals in those cultures, people are constantly making adjustments based on what they THINK the other might be feeling/thinking. The noisy officemate would be sensitive to the decibel level because he would assume that others would be affected by it. These are called "high context cultures." The very context of every situation dictates what is supposed to be, so a whole lot "goes without saying." We, on the other hand, come from a "low context culture," partly because so many of the cultures that have flooded our shores have different contextual rules and we've had to lower the context expectations to cope with that. This means that we have to actually say what it is we want and what would make us more comfortable. But we're hesitant...the rules of what you can and can't say without offending the other aren't spelled out either. Sweden no doubt has a set of codes that are different for the different situations from the American ones. You can err on the side of silence (as you have been doing) or you can err on the side of speaking truth. There are usually ways to speak...except in the most high context cultures (Japan is one that has been extensively studied for this.) I doubt if this helps, but I'm glad you got a good massage!

Thanks for all that interesting info! I do sometimes wonder if my reactions here, especially at work, are out of whack due to the very sneaky cultural differences. Everyone SEEMS SO NORMAL. HA!

Our reactions are quite often out of whack, just in general. Ha!

Interesting info Trish. And it gives me insights into myself. I imagine this covers family cultures too. One could come from a "high context family" as well as a "high context culture." I wonder how much of "high context culture" behaviors one would carry from a "high context culture" after a few generations removed?


I agree entirely. Families are at the center of every cultural structure. And some families within low context cultures could very well be high context themselves. I think the carryover depends on the degree of cultural assimilation, both within the individual, within the family and then within the community. For example, Roma people are so insulated (and often isolated) as a culture that it might be they don't really move on the context scale. Any culture that effectively prevents assimilation must keep its context level, I would think.

I'll keep this in mind when I go for my first massage therapy session tomorrow :)

I hope it was awesome! I love getting massages. :) Mmm...I think I might need a massage icon!

From Megsie

I do the same thing, and get the same results. The mind-reading isn't the most effective form of communication. The only time I feel comfortable speaking my mind is when I am up you did with your massage therapist, before it has even started. Once it starts (whatever IT may be) I just start THINKING at whoever it is that is out of line. The other way that is sometimes effective around certain people is humor. I guess I do use that one every so often as well.

Re: From Megsie

You're right. I can't do it afterwards, because I don't want to sound like I'm complaining. And I don't want to do it during because then I'm wrecking the mood.

Humor is always useful :)

Edited at 2009-10-23 03:29 pm (UTC)

thanks for admitting to drooling on the headrest.
hello, my name is kejn, and i'm a drooler too. :)

Well, TECHNICALLY, I didn't say it was MY drool....

hahaaa! EW!

ew, gross!! :)

I could've written this post. You must have read my mind. See? It works sometimes :)

But did you send me that box of Parisian macaroons I was thought-ordering from you??


This was me yesterday!!!!! I so wanted everyone to stop yelling and irritating each other and IT DIDN"T WORK! darn. So I resorted to shouting too!!! to get their attention.. The kids of course. :)

Off to the hospital in 1 hour. :(


Why does it never work with the kids?? ARGH.

Thinking of you!! Will call tonight or tomorrow to hear how it all went.

I have been think-screaming at you to take away the picture of candy corn, and you haven't done it.

Bite me! HAHAHAHAA!!

If mind control doesn't work for ME, why should it work for you? :P
Also: mmmmmmmmmm candy corn!

And the worst: When other drivers don't read my scathing brain waves directed at them and their errant driving ways. Don't you know how to use a blinker? Hey buddy, I'm already in this lane; get your own! Note: If you can be legally classified as blind, comatose, or addicted to text messaging, you should not be driving. That means YOU in front of me, zig-zagging all over the road! WHY DO YOU ALL HAVE TO BE ON THE ROAD RIGHT NOW? COULDN'T YOU JUST WAIT UNTIL A MORE CONVENIENT TIME FOR ME? It certainly is too bad thinking at people doesn't work. :)

hahaha!!! I totally forgot about the driving aspect of needing mind-control powers! :D HEE!

One thing I've learned (or is it two?) in my ever growing wisdom(!) is never assume what others are thinking, and never assume they know what your thinking. In both cases the mark is usually missed. Now, I'd like a massage. And candy corn too!

True, dat.

I am also re-craving a massage and candy corns. I have no candy corns, how sad. But! I do have mellocreme pumpkins! Close enough!

the last massage i had i fell asleep on the was so nice!

im still trying to figure out how to get people to read my thoughts, something tells me it's wasted effort though...they're just too plain dense to be able to read me! haha

ditto! :D


I have a good friend who does hear what other people are thinking - maybe not all the time- but enough of the time. And, it is often upsetting and disturbing, since she hears the unpleasant thoughts others have about her, but then, she also knows when someone is wishing she would call and when - especially children - are having wonderful thoughts about something she is doing or saying. Anyway, what I'm getting at is that old careful what you wish for....there are more thoughts we have that we would not want anyone to know. Love, Lizardmom

I don't want them to read MY mind, exactly. I want them to DO what I'm mentally ordering them to. Big difference :)

"If I ran the world, things would be different around here!"

Hey Liz, could you do an "If I Ran The World" post? I would love to see what you would spearhead if you could run the world.

This is a great entry Liz. And I can so relate with you on the massage. Do you go to the same person all the time? I have found that over time, either my massage therapist has simply gotten to know my body, or somehow, she can now hear my thought commands!

Re: "If I ran the world, things would be different around here!"

hahaa! I will think about it, but I don't REALLY want to run the world :) Just my little corner of it. :P

I go to the same lady in Flyinge every other week, and we have a massage therapist at work that I go to the other weeks. So every week. The woman at work is pretty new; we've had several different people there over the past 4 years.

Re: "If I ran the world, things would be different around here!"

Wow, kewl, weekly massage!! If I ran the world, I sure would have weekly massage... at least for ME!!
Good for you to talk to the massage therapist BEFORE the massage. Many a time, in the past, I've had that same scenario of lying there trying to will the massage hands to the place that wants attention. My woman asks me each time, before the massage, if there is anyplace that wants special attention.

Anyhow, I'm waiting for your, "If I Ran The World" post. *heehee*

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