That Think You Do Chapter 2 – Avoiding Deadly Silences

For those who didn’t know, I’ve signed with a new publisher and my first book out with them, That Think You Do, should be available late Oct-Nov ’22.


As always, let me know what you think.

Avoiding Deadly Silences

You know those movies about families’ hidden stories? Everybody’s happy and smiling and chuckles on the outside and anger and distrust and betrayal are like lava flows on the inside waiting to erupt leaving death and destruction in their wake?

Usually the climax is around a meal, a dinner table. Some little comment is said by this person and that person erupts. Or the child says something that only a child could say and the family suddenly has to deal with great uncle Poopah’s crimes against humanity.

There are reasons these types of things usually happen during meals. I’ve mentioned in presentations and trainings that there are two times when humans are biologically most vulnerable: when we’re putting stuff into our bodies and when we’re pushing stuff out of our bodies. Most people have had the experience of gathering around a table with an extended family and friends. Few people have then had the experience of gathering en masse in the loo.

The science of group, tribal and family behavior aside, there’s often much that goes unsaid in human relationships. You don’t like that they put dishes in the sink rather than the dishwasher. They don’t like the way you put toilet paper on the roll (men, did you know this one?).

Seem a little…umm…ridiculous? Small? Meaningless? Irrelevant?

Of course they do and of course they are. Their very triviality is what gives them their power.

Your significant other should know better, right? I mean, who doesn’t know there’s a preferred direction that toilet paper should come off the roll? Why would anybody leave dishes in the sink when it’s just as easy to put them in the dishwasher?

Here’s what you may not know about these little irritations that cause such major eruptions — people, feeling their life going out of control, will exert increasing control over trivial annoyances before they make any attempt to deal with major annoyances. The mistaken(!!!) belief is that by controlling the small they’ll gain control over the large.

Who Holds Back More, Women or Men?
What’s your guess? And let me up the ante while I’m asking. Do the genders go silent for the same or different reasons? Studies done at Fairhaven College and the University of Houston indicate that men resort to silence more often than women do but the reasons are different. Men use silence to maintain power (to keep their partner “on their toes”) or because they simply don’t know how to express themselves (and women everywhere are nodding in agreement. “You needed a scientific study to know this?”, they’re asking).

Women use silence because culturally and historically they have been second class citizens (women are really nodding now). Second class citizens’ role is to listen, not to speak, hence their emotions, feelings, wants, needs, and desires go unannounced by them and unnoticed by their partners.

What is true for both sexes? That self-silencing is dangerous. It causes depression and the more one self-silences the more one becomes depressed. Depression untreated is a death of the soul, folks, so let me share some methods for bringing both your and your partner’s souls back to life.

Avoiding the Silences
While there is no guarantee, talking and sharing our wants, needs, and desires often cures depression… or at least lets us know the individual we’re talking and sharing with isn’t as involved in the relationship as we’d like them to be. Talking and sharing — using certain guidelines — allows us to take back control or at least know what we can control in our lives.

And you need to know that talking and sharing — avoiding the silences — is hard work if you’ve never done it before. I wish I could say it’s easy, it’s fun, it’s as lively and exhilarating as a game of Stratego and I’d rather have you err on the side of caution than not. Here are some rules to help start the conversation and avoid the silences: Continue readingThat Think You Do Chapter 2 – Avoiding Deadly Silences”

Gender Specific Marketing Discoveries

Long ago and far away I presented my company’s research at conferences far and wide.

One such presentation (from 2007, so dated, I’m sure) dealt with marketing to men and women, and specifically the differences necessary to get the attention of one, the other, and both.

Here’s a podcast of that presentation, ressurected because it’s mentioned in “Sex on the Beach” chapter of That Think You do.


That Think You Do Chapter 1 – Manly Men Thinking Manly Thoughts Manickly (and Women Putting Up With Them)

For those who didn’t know, I’ve signed with a new publisher and my first book out with them, That Think You Do, should be available late Oct-Nov ’22.

That Think You Do is my first non-fiction title since 2016 and is based on a series of blog posts I wrote from 2008-16 for a California-based company. The blog posts were based on my company’s research and covered neuroscience, anthropology, linguistics, sociology, … My goal was (and is) to present useful pieces of information to readers, and evidently I did because my new publisher wants to publish them as a book (and possibly some of my other non-fiction blogs and books. Yeeha!).

So, until it’s available for purchase (I’ll post a pre-order link as soon as one’s available) and for your reading pleasure, That Think You Do.

Manly Men Thinking Manly Thoughts Manickly (and Women Putting Up With Them)

I can save you from reading this chapter by directing you to The Dancing Forest or The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine. Why did I entitle this “Manly Men…” then direct you to a movie about a women’s agricultural collective and a book written by a woman about women’s brain functions?

Because it’s a real quick way to show that men think differently from women (for those who didn’t know).

Perhaps the movie trailer for The Dancing Forest will help.

What follows is a shameless and I hope brief quote of some previous research we did on how women and men think differently in basic social situations, and how knowing this can benefit you the next time you’re out and wanting to make an impression.

I wrote in The NextStage Irregular #2 (the above mentioned company’s newsletter) that, as population ratios go, females tend to be the more…umm…inventive in the information they provide during social discourse, men tend to be more…umm…direct. Women (shown by pink in the chart) fabricate more (left) and tell direct truths (right) less often than men (blue) according to the chart here.

Quick and careful readers will note that being “inventive” and being “direct” are different metrics. And before I go further, let me clarify.

This chart shows that women (right), when fabricating, aren’t doing it maliciously. At least not any more than men (left) are.
Continue readingThat Think You Do Chapter 1 – Manly Men Thinking Manly Thoughts Manickly (and Women Putting Up With Them)”

Intention (Parts 1 and 2)

Is it possible to be so present the world stops and waits?

This post originally appeared in two parts on the original ThatThinkYouDo blog, resurrected to the new ThatThinkYouDo, and then the ExpandedAwareness blog. I’m reposting it here as a single entry for a friend.

Part 1
I’ve been studying people who are “living with intention” for about thirty-five years now. Originally I found them due to my cultural anthropology studies. Now I’m finding a few of them in the modern world.

“Living with intention?” you ask. “What does that mean, exactly?”
Continue reading “Intention (Parts 1 and 2)”

Shane and Tyler

It takes little for a child’s heart to fly. Mine, too.

Today would be a good day to fly kites. One of my favorite flying spots is a city park two towns away. It has a huge, gently sloping field that amplifies west-to-east winds. Stand at the bottom and it’s refreshing. Stand at the top and it’s noticable. Today the breeze rustled the treetops and made the leaves chatter. A breeze like this makes it easy to get my kites aloft.

The downside is that everybody uses the park. The city built ballfields and a playground on the other side of the parking lot and a big gazebo in the middle of the kite flying field. A friend caught one of my kites’ lines in the gazebo’s roof once and it took some good flying to get it free.

I could hear the cheers and catcalls from people in the ballfields – must have been some exciting games going on – and laughter and chatter from families on the playground. Lots of people but not many cars. People must have parked on the far side of the ballfields.

An empty parking lot is one of the things I look for, a good sign, it means the field will be open, plenty of room to run out my lines and fly a kite or two between the gazebo and the street. I’d already chosen my SkyDancer as the kite to fly. I walked down the field carrying it, its tails, lines and two ground pegs in my hands.
Continue reading “Shane and Tyler”