Instructor: Rachel Santine
Journal Entry for Chapter 7: Nonverbal Communication (Part 2)
One time in the after-show of the Christmas play I acted in, I was speaking to a Brianna W., and showed poor complementing and accidental contradicting. Earlier, before the play, I had changed into my costume, then realized I had not sprayed my mouth with breath spray yet. I didn’t want to give off a bad impression to anybody by having bad breath, so I tried to go back into the dressing room, which had already been locked by the time I realized I needed my breath spray. I begged the play coordinator to unlock the dressing room so that I could get a spray to freshen my breath, but she wouldn’t budge. I didn’t see any harm in taking a minute or two to unlock the door and let me get in to spray my mouth, but somehow the thought of doing me that favor must’ve been too harmful for her to accept, and I still don’t understand how, except perhaps that it was “too close to the time of the play starting.”
I shook my mind off of my breath during the play, but in the after-play reception, I spoke to a good friend who was a potential romantic interest. (We “felt” it but neither of us expressed it outwardly.) I was so worried about how my breath was smelling and whether she was noticing it, with the inability to freshen it up, that I looked away while talking to her solely due to that mental preoccupation. Her tone became less friendly, but I didn’t think to explain why I was behaving like this probably because I was too preoccupied with my breath more than how I was broadcasting my visual signals to her. I was answering her with affirmatives, but my nonverbal signals were not a matching complement, so that made her feel something was off about me.
We were going to partner up in the soundbooth at the Christian Challenge campus ministry the following semester but that plan fell through because of various reasons, and likely my mixed, contradicting signals were a part of those reasons too. I stopped attending the ministry regularly and punctually for other reasons as well, so Brianna teamed up with my alternate - Tabitha I.
Years later, after I had moved to Hutchinson, she contacted me again through Facebook and a video chatting app to discuss about her MLM scheme (Amway). I wasn’t interested in paying into another pyramid scheme, and I couldn't afford to at the time anyway, but I had time to spare, so I wanted to learn about that business anyway and what was so good about it, so I let her talk to me. Besides, as a people-pleaser, it wasn’t in my nature to turn her down, since we were still friends the last time we met in person. In those e-meetings, I finally managed to explain myself by reminding her about the post-play reception at Cloud County Community College years earlier, and why my body language didn’t seem right while talking to her - when I explained that it was because I was worried about my bad breath, she was quite understanding and helped me move on from it. I gained a peace-of-mind in having finally had a chance to explain my non-verbal actions.
I have had a habit for years to keep a container of breath mints or spray in my pocket, as it seems to be a confidence-booster for when I socialize / communicate.