Few are really listening to you
It was extraordinary how many people told me they considered it burdensome to ask family or friends to listen to them—not just about their problems but about anything more meaningful than the usual social niceties or jokey banter. An energies trader in Dallas told me it was "rude" not to keep the conversation light; otherwise, you were demanding too much from the listener. A surgeon in Chicago said, "The more you're a role model, the more you lead, the less permission you have to unload or talk about your concerns." When asked if they, themselves, were good listeners, many people I interviewed freely admitted that they were not. The executive director of a performing arts organization in Los Angeles told me, "if I really listened to the people in my life, I'd have to face the fact that I detest most of them." And she was, by far, not the only person who felt that way. Others said they were too busy to listen or just couldn't be bothered.
Text or email was more efficient, [some people would say], because they could pay only as much attention as they felt the message deserved, and they could ignore the message or delete the message if it was uninteresting or awkward. Face-to-face conversations were too fraught. Someone might tell them more than they wanted to know, or they might not know how to respond. Digital communication was more controllable.
So begets the familiar scene of twenty-first-century life—at cafés, restaurants, coffeehouses, and family dinner tables, rather than talking to one another, people look at their phones. Or if they are talking to one another, the phone is on the table as if a part of the place setting, taken up at intervals as casually as a knife or fork, implicitly signaling that the present company is not sufficiently engaging.
As a consequence, people can feel achingly lonely, without quite knowing why.
The layperson's social understanding, we suggest, rests on three related convictions about the relation between his or her subjective experience ...
The results (ed. of the study): only 1 percent of the executives said managers should bother showing employees that their work makes a difference. If anything, many companies try to explain the value our work will have in our own lives, the benefits we will reap if we hit a goal, as opposed to the benefit that others will derive.
But remember our biology we are more inspired and motivated when we know we are helping biologically others.
The sensed presence usually happens to individuals who have become isolated in an extreme or unusual environment, often when high ...
If one compares the behaviour of the bird at the top of the pecking list, the despot, with that of one very far down, the second or third from the last, then one finds the latter much more cruel to the few others over whom he lords it than the former in his treatment of all members. As soon as one removes from the group all members above the penultimate, his behaviour becomes milder and may even become very friendly... it is not difficult to find analogies to this in human societies, and therefore one side of such behaviour must be primarily the effects of the social groupings, and not of individual characteristics.
Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.