Watch your signals
Posted Wednesday, March 6 2013 at 02:00
- Send signals only when you are sure of your intentions to avoid playing with other people’s hearts and hurting their feelings
Among my favourite shows on TV are documentaries featuring animals, especially their mating behaviour! Guided purely by instincts, animals produce a series of signals their potential mates have to interpret correctly.
Luckily for animals, there are only two possible interpretations — hostile or receptive. Rarely will there be anything in between. How I wish it were that clear in humans too. Feelings of neglect and being hurt would have been avoided. Too bad that is not the case and we have to learn how to signal and interpret the said signals appropriately. Here are a few thoughts to ponder.
Why do people give wrong signals? The most common reason is ignorance and inexperience. Unfortunately, we all begin there – ignorant and inexperienced and in the process cause so much heartache to ourselves and others. I am sure we all can look back and see the awful mistakes we made as far as relationship matters are concerned.
The other reason which is unfortunate is when people deliberately send wrong signals. An interesting illustration was one given by a certain counsellor who compared this diabolic habit to shopping in a ‘mitumba’ market. When you see something you like, you ask the seller to set it aside for you, giving an excuse for not being able to pay immediately.
The process is repeated in several stalls before you decide what items to purchase. What you don’t need is left with the seller, wrapped and kept aside. Many people have fallen prey and only discovered much later that they were merely reserved but not considered for ‘purchase.’
As much as wrong signals are regularly sent, knowingly or otherwise, they are also misinterpreted in equal measure. It is a common occurrence for a number of people to lay claim to someone of the opposite sex, fully convinced that he or she is interested in them.
It is sometimes almost comical to find a completely clueless person inundated with the demand for attention and exclusive relationship from people they only consider as friends. Some have crumbled under pressure and entered into relationships they were ill-prepared for.
First, have introspection about your actions, especially to a member of the opposite sex. Watch out for those calls, text messages, gifts and other special treatment you give to ensure you communicate what you really mean. It is especially important to know that certain situations can make people susceptible to any suggestions for a relationship.
Young adults, people on the rebound from failed relationships and people who consider themselves ‘late’ can especially be vulnerable. In addition, it is important to correct any wrong impressions you may have made if and when you discover them, otherwise you become culpable.
Next, take time to confirm before you make conclusions. Among animals, especially birds, potential mates are picked after a series of pointers that leave not doubt about intentions. Humans should borrow a leaf. Furthermore, if you thought there was something but notice the signal has dimmed, consider it an error and let the wind carry it away. Who knows, you may find it later, brighter and stronger and will have no regrets that you chose to wait.
By nature, matters of love and romance lend themselves more to indirect signalling that requires more tact to interpret than normal interaction.
The rule of thumb should be: think before you act, confirm before you conclude and don’t play games with people’s hearts!