One of the epiphanies that define ‘coming of age’ is that a huge percentage of adult communication is implied. It could be as loud as wearing a particular dress, or as obscure as using a term- to communicate affection, pain and a range of other emotions.
For me, like most epiphanies, this too was coupled with regret and emotions of ‘I wish I could do it’. Not only because, I missed many signals but perhaps unwittingly, sent out many wrong ones too.
Yet, now that I know about it- and have had some experience receiving and sending messages this way, it’s still a tricky orange to peel. Because, adults are also mad/insecure people who would be too boring if they were too clear.
Expressions, eye movements, tone, etc. are all implied non verbal forms. All communication textbooks teach us that. Yet, there’s more to it. Talking about a topic that is indirectly related to another person’s weaknesses or insecurities is a done thing for most competitive people. (Reminding someone of a night of embarrassment by talking about something entirely unrelated from that night, for eg.) There are ways of showing affection too this way. (Randomly bringing in a topic that prompts the person to highlight his achievements. Or if one is skillful, finding a way to repeat dialogue/line said by the other person.)
Another trick/test that tests unconscious implication (and I have seen it being consciously used by some people), is to ask a question in a group and see if the other person jumps at the opportunity to answer.
Sometimes, these implications fail to hit their target. Or worse still, you receive an implication of rejection/irritation as a reply. (Some people take it as a challenge to reverse the tide.)
Online too, this makes for interesting analysis. And, if one cares enough one can see human back stories to most things that appear inane on Facebook. For eg. Once upon a time, I saw a Friend X post a love song with ‘consolation & don’t go away’ as it’s theme on Friend Y wall. I asked Friend Z about what the logic was behind it. Friend Z said that the logic was that Friend X was Mad. Here, I had a brainwave- and said that he must have wanted to send a message to someone particular but through suggestion.
Sometimes, these messages can possess dual meanings. In the sense, that an arrow of affection (or rejection) can hit two hearts, or the same arrow can be rejection for one, and affection for another. Sometimes, even unintentionally. I composed a couple of sentences to give this concept some flesh. Here they are:
“I am sorry to break this to you but that wasn’t meant for you. Yet, I am not breaking it to you, because there’s a slight chance that that wasn’t meant for me either.”
I’d love to hear what you all have to say on this, because god knows everyone’s dealing with it.