The hidden message

Try as I might, I struggle to hide my emotions. I have dimples and I blush like nobody’s business. My cheeks give everything away.

At this morning’s monthly videoconference, a beloved colleague hailed me via instant message. It lightened my mood considerably. “I SEE YOUR DIMPLES!” she wrote.

We were both onscreen with about 39 other people. I’m sure no one else was looking at me except her. But I still tried to keep a poker face. No dice.

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The empty vessel

As a researcher, I’m trying to get better at losing myself.

I see my job as creating open space for other people’s words and stories. I do this by bringing as little of myself as possible into the interactions I have with interviewees.

It’s not like I say nothing; quite the converse. I practice active listening. I aim to provide well-timed, brief, and contextual prompts, so that those I’m speaking to can figure out what it is they have to say.

As I examine my motivations, it’s hard to distinguish. Do I employ manipulation, or is it allowing? Am I getting people to open up? Or am I trying to get people to like me? Trust me?

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A tight spot

I put down the phone and pulled the car keys out of my purse. “Dave!” I shouted through the bathroom door. “Mom told them you’re her attorney, and that you’re coming over there to sort things out.”

“I’ll be right there!” Dave shouted back. “I cannot wait. You know I love Sonia.”

“Yeah,” I muttered. The bathroom faucet was running, so he couldn’t hear me. “You want her wrapped around your little finger so she’ll put in a good word for you. I told you, I am not marrying you. Ever.”

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