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Behavior, Words, and What It All Means

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Hearing the phrase “behavioral study” likely puts you to sleep, but each and every day all of us are exposed to behavior we have to experience, understand, and react to in a way that best moves us forward. This makes understanding that behavior critical doesn't it?

Watch what people do and what they do consistently, and make that your evaluation on who they are, more so than what they say. Words do convey much – not just the words, but what words are used, which ones are not used, and the tone of the words. Non-verbal communication does, too, like eye contact or the lack of it, and body language.

When trying to understand someone — a dating interest, a boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife, employee, boss, or child — language is key. Non-verbal communication is key, too, but alone they often leave you vulnerable to others. Behavior is an important subject to study. Pay attention so you can protect yourself and learn how to predict what's coming next from someone.

For example, a woman falls in love with a kind, generous man. It all appears rosy. A future is there and he's not afraid of commitment. This dream man is overly excited about getting married and talks about his admiration for a woman who does things for herself, but he doesn't offer to help in a home renovation project and now is showing distant behavior toward her. What's all that say to you?

What matters most – his adoring words, his simple loving actions, or his red flag behavior? Understanding behavior can affect your life in a significant manner by taking you to beautiful places, down rocky roads, or into war zones.

For instance, when did courtesy and respect for women become a negative? Men opening doors for women should not be insulting, should it? Men are bold and creative in finding ways to get women's attention or demean them, which seems to be why a small part of the population is agitated by this kind gesture. 

Personal experience with this issue has left me puzzled as well. While most are appreciative of the effort and thought behind it, some walk by without even a nod, smile, or acknowledgment, while others have expressed non-verbal agitation. In the end, one should do what they feel is right and courteous and leave the other person's interpretation of the act to them.

Taking the time to notice what people do, remembering what they do most, and combining that with what they say and don't say (specific words they use and don't use) will educate you greatly and give you power in understanding people and making better life decisions.

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About Michael Toebe on Behavior, Culture & Relationships