Monthly Archives: August 2014

Nonverbal Communication of Love, Limits and Learning

Spoken language is not the only way people communicate. Some of the most meaningful acts of communication occur soundlessly. By using facial expressions, gestures, posture, and movement, we make a wide variety of communications. Kisses, a smile, a wave, “say” something in body language.

There are ten different forms of nonverbal communication using body language:

Body contact. Some forms of body contact are aggressive, some are not. Aggressive behaviors include hitting, shoving, and pushing. People differ greatly in what is acceptable as nonaggressive body contact but it is most often experienced in greetings and farewells. Getting along with other people requires an understanding and appreciation of body contact behaviors.

Proximity. How close people stand to one another is easy to spot but not easy to interpret. People tend to stand closer to individuals they like and farther away from those they dislike if only by a few inches. Generally speaking, maladjusted individuals stand farther from others than do well-adjusted people.

Orientation. The angle at which people stand or sit in relation to others is another aspect of nonverbal communication. If people want to engage one another they tend to stand opposite each other. The friendliest and most cooperative encounters tend to occur in side-by-side positions.

Appearance. Clothes, grooming, and other aspects of appearance communicate information about social status, occupation, social group and so forth. Gender and age have extraordinary impact on the power of appearance to communicate.

Posture. The different ways in which people sit, stand, or recline may communicate friendly or hostile, or superior, or inferior messages. People may more easily control their facial expressions but posture can’t be rigidly controlled under ordinary circumstances, at least not for very long.

Head Nods. Head nods serve many functions. By nodding each time another person uses a specific word or gesture it become possible to get the person to increase the frequency of that word or gesture, for example. A head nod during a conversation may indicate when each person can speak. Rapid head nods signals that the “nodder” wants to speak.

Facial Expressions. Human facial expressions are similar across cultures and apparently are not learned. The eyebrow flash, when the eyebrows are raised very rapidly and kept maximally raised for about a sixth of a second, is a sign of greeting, recognition, and welcome. People tend to be able to control their expressions quite well and accompany their spoken words with appropriate expressions. Pupil size in eyes is not under people’s control and often provides clues to the impact of verbal communication.

Gestures. Gestures are very helpful in communicating. Hands, head, feet can be used expressively. Some gestures indicate general emotional arousal, whereas others convey more specific messages. Closely allied with speech, gestures may either emphasize a point or replace speech altogether.

Eye Contact. People look at each other about 25 to 75 percent of the time during conversation. Eye contact, when both people look at each other’s eyes, occurs less often than does looking at the other person’s face without meeting his or her eyes. Looking at another person indicates interest in what is being said, and people end to look at other people they like.

Nonverbal aspects of speech. Inflection and pitch are on the borderline between verbal and nonverbal communication. The way we say something, such as our tone of voice, and how loudly we speak, can alter the meaning of words. For example, take the words, “well done”, and think about what they can mean – spoken sincerely they indicate approval; spoken sarcastically, they indicate quite a different response. How we say something indicates whether we like or dislike the person we are speaking to.

Nonverbal communication may sound very complicated, and to an extent it is. Yet each one of us engages in it rather naturally. Perhaps if we agree to think about it and learn more about ourselves as nonverbal “speakers” we will communicate more accurately with each other.

Dr. Margaret Rappaport


Abundance of Love, Limits, and Learning

There is a game of questions through which you identify yourself to other people, who in turn may or may not identify themselves to you. The game may be played at many levels that are more or less intimate. No matter when it is played, however, the goal is to disclose who you are as a person. It may be played with a perfect stranger, with a close friend or an acquaintance, with a spouse, or any family member. The set of rules by which it is played probably varies with each relationship. Basically it is a game of “invitations” that involves the process of making ourselves known to other people and in turn getting to know who they are.


Both you and another person have a list of 40 questions varying in their degree of personal intimacy. When the game begins, both you and your partner will have selected 5 questions to ask each other from a list. The only firm rule in playing the game is that you may not ask your partner a question which you, yourself, are not willing to answer. Otherwise, you are on your own and may explore the questions at any level of intimacy you choose, until one of the players declines the invitation to answer the question. At this point you should move on to another question.


For each question on the questionnaire, indicate how much information you, yourself, would be willing to tell the other person. Mark each question on your score sheet as follows:

  • Mark a 0 for each question you would be unwilling to talk about with your partner.
  • Mark a 1 if you would be willing to talk about that question in general terms with your partner, but would not be willing to reveal any extremely personal information about yourself.
  • Mark a 2 only on those questions which you would be willing to confide completely and very personally to your partner.

Score Sheet

Name_______________   Partner’s Name______________

My Willingness To Disclose
1_____ 9_____ 17_____ 25_____ 33_____
2_____ 10_____ 18_____ 26_____ 34_____
3_____ 11_____ 19_____ 27_____ 35_____
4_____ 12_____ 20_____ 28_____ 36_____
5_____ 13_____ 21_____ 29_____ 37_____
6_____ 14_____ 22_____ 30_____ 38_____
7_____ 15_____ 23_____ 31_____ 39_____
8_____ 16_____ 24_____ 32_____ 40_____
Questions I Intend To Ask My Invitation Refused
1_____________ ___________
2_____________ ___________
3_____________ ___________
4_____________ ___________
5_____________ ___________

How to accept or decline an “invitation” to answer a question

In playing the game you should try to feel comfortable and unembarrassed. If you do not wish to answer a question your partner may ask, simply say “I decline” and you both move on to another question. Remember there are only five questions to ask the other person and you must also be willing to answer them yourself.


1. If someone sent you a bouquet of flowers what kind would you like?
2. What do you dislike the most about having a complete physical examination?
3. How do you feel about engaging in sexual activities prior to or outside of marriage?
4. With whom have you discussed your dental health?
5. What are your favorite spare-time hobbies or interests?
6. What do feel the guiltiest about, or most ashamed of in your past?
7. How many brothers and sisters do you have?
8. What movies have you seen lately?
9. What were your favorite subjects in school?
10. What questions would you ask a potential date?
11. What are your favorite colors?
12. How many people have you been attracted to in the past year?
13. How can you tell when you are falling in love?
14. How often do you kiss someone?
15. What age do you think a President of the United States should be?
16. What type of foods do you enjoy/
17. What thoughts have you had that repulse you?
18. What techniques do you use to attract people?
19. What do you like to read?
20. What are your feelings about your friends?
21. What foods are best for your health?
22. In what ways do you think various members of your family may be “maladjusted”?
23. Where would you like to go on a trip?
24. What kind of furniture would you like to have?
25. How many colds do you usually have per year?
26. What are your favorite sports?
27. How do you feel about your love life?
28. Would you like to travel to some part of this country?
29. What kind of group activities do you usually enjoy?
30. How tall do you like men to be?
31. What is your favorite look in a woman?
32. What schools have you attended?
33. What are the persons like whom you have loved?
34. How important do you feel education is to a person?
35. What do you think about fitness?
36. How do you feel about people of the opposite sex touching you as they talk?
37. How do you feel about same sex people touching you as they talk?
38. Which celebrities do you like the most?
39. Which of your family members do you resemble?
40. What do you think makes a book a bestseller?