Author Topic: Immune to Social, Non-verbal, and Blatant E-Hell Cues  (Read 7197 times)

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Mental Magpie

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Immune to Social, Non-verbal, and Blatant E-Hell Cues
« on: November 09, 2012, 09:19:43 PM »
I put this here because this is a coworker, and I will even be working with him in my facility.  I seriously worry for his well-being as an officer, but that is not up to me to decide.  I mention this only because I am sure other people will notice that, if he is like this constantly, how will he fair with the offenders?  He won't fair very well, unfortunately.  Regardless, I won't be able to necessarily pull the, "Oh, I need to go do this..." to get away from him at work due to the work we'll be doing, so I need to figure out a way to get him to stop.  The problem?

He does not catch onto social cues of people not wanting to talk or listen to him; he does not pick up the non-verbal cues, like me fully turning my back to him, after answering him, to engage another coworker in conversation; and he does not respond to bean-dips, a la returning immediately to whatever topic he was previously on regardless of my attempts to redirect the conversation.  He also thinks it is absolutely acceptable to completely usurp my time.  I think it is rude to not respond when he is obviously talking to me (and I do mean obviously...if he walks up to me directly and begins to speak, I think it is rude to pretend he hasn't...if he is nearby, I can easily pretend I didn't hear him), but I don't know how to get him to stop, because I have tried everything I can think of!  Help, please, I don't want to talk to other people at work and I want him to stop talking to me all of the time!
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Surianne

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Re: Immune to Social, Non-verbal, and Blatant E-Hell Cues
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2012, 09:23:39 PM »
Have you come right out and told him that you can't talk to him?  I mean saying something like "I'm sorry, I can't chat now, I'm in the middle of X" or "I can't reply to you now, I have to concentrate on Y"?  That would be the first thing to try. 

Mental Magpie

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Re: Immune to Social, Non-verbal, and Blatant E-Hell Cues
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2012, 09:28:42 PM »
At this juncture, I don't really have that excuse.  It was a 10 minute break between training and I was lounged on a set of bleachers relaxing.

Then again, would it have been rude (I think so, but then I'm not sure if I'm confusing mean and rude) for me sit up just as he began speaking to me, grab my binder, and say, "Sorry, I'm trying to study."  I think it would be rude because I am shunning him straight to his face...or is that just mean?  Even so, if it's mean, how can I do it nicely?

I'm so conflicted on this, because I definitely don't want to be mean, either.
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LizC

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Re: Immune to Social, Non-verbal, and Blatant E-Hell Cues
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2012, 02:36:04 AM »
If he's fairly oblivious, then be straight-forward.

"I'm not up for chatting right now, thanks."

"I'm trying to let things gel from that last session. I need silence right now, thanks."

"I need to do X, and can't talk right now."

"I need to change the subject."

"We already talked about that."

"I have to go now. Bye!"

Said with a pleasant tone of voice, but firmly, you're being assertive and drawing appropriate boundaries, but not being rude. If he was sensitive to social cues, he wouldn't be pestering. Since he's not, he's likely not going to mind very firm statements, either.

It's like when adults are hesitant to tell a child to go home, etc. Most kids really don't mind at all, because you're just giving them information and directions. When they hear, "Hey, Kiddo, it's time to go home now. You can come back tomorrow (or Saturday, etc) at X time and play til Y time. See you then!" in a pleasant but firm voice, they're FINE.

Being able to assert your needs and boundaries with a moderate tone and pleasant expression are really handy skills to develop. I use them a LOT. (And I'm not dealing with offenders, just loads of kids and an ADD husband. :) )

Hillia

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Re: Immune to Social, Non-verbal, and Blatant E-Hell Cues
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2012, 03:37:51 AM »
You mention concern for his welfare as a CO...this affects everyone else's welfare while on the job also.  If Clueless is trying to engage people in conversations at inappropriate times, when their attention needs to be focused on the inmates, it could cause serious problems.  In training it's just annoying; when you're keeping an eye on the TV room with 15 inmates in it, a distraction like this could mean that a fight starts or something worse.  He should get used to be ignored now, because that's what everyone is going to have to do on the job.

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cicero

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Re: Immune to Social, Non-verbal, and Blatant E-Hell Cues
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2012, 06:27:30 AM »
i think you need to stop trying to use "social cues" and start being direct.

"hey John, that sounds interesting but i really need to use this break to [call my kids/catch my breath/listen to this motivational tape]." and proceed to do what you want to do.

the only way he will learn these things is if he's told and while it's not *your* job to teach him, let's say it can be a kindness, and will make for a more pleasant work place.


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Mental Magpie

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Re: Immune to Social, Non-verbal, and Blatant E-Hell Cues
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2012, 07:57:48 AM »
Exactly, Hillia.  Not only will he not pick up the non-verbal cues from offenders, but he'll be distracting the other CO's.  (Hey, guess what, I'm a noxious gas...I'm CO1!  ;D ;D ;D)  If I really am doing something, especially at work, I can easily say, "I need to do this without distraction, please."  My problem, now that I have narrowed it down, is that I don't know how to get him to stop when I'm not doing something.  LizC has a great one with, "I'm not up for talking right now, thanks" ... but then what if I start talking to someone else?  Like I said in my second post, I'm afraid I'm confusing mean and rude  :-\.
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SleepyKitty

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Re: Immune to Social, Non-verbal, and Blatant E-Hell Cues
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2012, 09:58:37 AM »
Exactly, Hillia.  Not only will he not pick up the non-verbal cues from offenders, but he'll be distracting the other CO's.  (Hey, guess what, I'm a noxious gas...I'm CO1!  ;D ;D ;D)  If I really am doing something, especially at work, I can easily say, "I need to do this without distraction, please."  My problem, now that I have narrowed it down, is that I don't know how to get him to stop when I'm not doing something.  LizC has a great one with, "I'm not up for talking right now, thanks" ... but then what if I start talking to someone else?  Like I said in my second post, I'm afraid I'm confusing mean and rude  :-\.

I think you probably won't be able to avoid being a little rude, but frankly, your right to spend your break the way you want to trumps his right to your attention. So I think next time you should just tell him outright, "Hey, Guy, I really prefer to spend my break just sitting quietly and meditating/thinking/resting, not talking. So could you please leave me alone during my breaks? Thanks so much!" Say it with a smile and a friendly tone of voice - one of those, "oh, you know me!" voices, KWIM?

And then if you start talking to someone else, you start talking to someone else. Just act the way you would if he wasn't there. If he is clueless enough to call you on it, just say vaguely, "Oh, we just happened to touch on a subject that I needed to discuss. I do prefer to spend my break alone." This guy does not have a right to friends, just politeness, and he does not have the right to keep you from socializing with others just because you don't want to socialize with him. This is one case where I think the polite fiction fits nicely. Give him a polite excuse, then just go ahead and chat with those you would have chatted with anyway.

Deetee

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Re: Immune to Social, Non-verbal, and Blatant E-Hell Cues
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2012, 10:20:24 AM »
If the only language a person understands is extremely blunt, it is not rude to speak the language they understand.

One of the problems is that sometimes people who understand that you don't want to speak/ buy their hand gel/ go on a date/ babysit for free will purposively ignore polite cues and get annoyed at blunt...but that does not make you rude.

If someone does not understand what you are saying you should let them know in language they understand.

JenJay

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Re: Immune to Social, Non-verbal, and Blatant E-Hell Cues
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2012, 10:40:40 AM »
Exactly, Hillia.  Not only will he not pick up the non-verbal cues from offenders, but he'll be distracting the other CO's.  (Hey, guess what, I'm a noxious gas...I'm CO1!  ;D ;D ;D)  If I really am doing something, especially at work, I can easily say, "I need to do this without distraction, please."  My problem, now that I have narrowed it down, is that I don't know how to get him to stop when I'm not doing something.  LizC has a great one with, "I'm not up for talking right now, thanks" ... but then what if I start talking to someone else?  Like I said in my second post, I'm afraid I'm confusing mean and rude  :-\.

Unless he's related to someone high up, he's probably going to be put in his place rather abruptly and thoroughly once he's actually working. If you're posted with him and he just wants to stand around talking you can be blunt. "We need to walk around and be a presence." or "We need to go out and engage with some of the inmates so they know we're paying attention." If he opts to sit in an office all day go to a superior and explain that, as a new officer trying to learn, you feel unsafe working with him because he makes you work alone for the entire shift. Unfortunately there are people who take the job so they can collect a decent paycheck for very little work. It's infuriating and honestly dangerous, but there might not be anything you can do other than try to avoid them.

If you're looking for ways to get out of talking to him when no immediate excuse is available, I'd listen until he finishes a sentence and then say "Oh shoot, I just remembered something. Excuse me." And walk away. The culture in a prison is different. My DH has had to work with people like this and the way he handles it is to be extremely blunt and say things like "I have to work with you but we are not friends. You endanger my life and everyone else's because you're so lazy. If you need me I'll be over there, doing my JOB." Then he walks.

WillyNilly

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Re: Immune to Social, Non-verbal, and Blatant E-Hell Cues
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2012, 11:31:39 AM »
There was a guy who used to ride my regular bus in the mornings.  He was, well annoying.  I observed this several times without interacting with him - it was close quarters on a regular basis I didn't need to know him to know I didn't want to know him.  One day he sat next to me and tried to chat.  I simply said "I prefer not to chat".  Later some one else paused in the aisle and chatted with me for a few minutes before their stop.  He turned and said "I thought you didn't want to chat" I replied, "when I said it to you it was the truth." 

I wasn't mean, I kept a very neutral tone and body language.  The fact of the matter is, it was the truth - when he tried to chat I didn't want to.  When someone else wanted to chat I did.  I didn't owe him anything and I wasn't rude to him, I simply wasn't friendly. But friendly really isn't a requirement.  Heck I've said to people "I'm going over there now" and just walked away from folks I didn't want to chat with.

If the guy asks you a class relevant question its probably most polite to answer.  But its not even remotely required for you to be friendly.  Polite =/= friendly.

mbbored

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Re: Immune to Social, Non-verbal, and Blatant E-Hell Cues
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2012, 12:02:24 PM »
I think this is a very tricky place to be in. Yes, you have to be able to focus on your job but it's also pretty important in this situation to have a good relationship with and trust in your colleagues, so alienating this man is probably not a good choice.

LeveeWoman

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Re: Immune to Social, Non-verbal, and Blatant E-Hell Cues
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2012, 12:24:26 PM »
There was a guy who used to ride my regular bus in the mornings.  He was, well annoying.  I observed this several times without interacting with him - it was close quarters on a regular basis I didn't need to know him to know I didn't want to know him.  One day he sat next to me and tried to chat.  I simply said "I prefer not to chat".  Later some one else paused in the aisle and chatted with me for a few minutes before their stop.  He turned and said "I thought you didn't want to chat" I replied, "when I said it to you it was the truth." 
 
I wasn't mean, I kept a very neutral tone and body language.  The fact of the matter is, it was the truth - when he tried to chat I didn't want to.  When someone else wanted to chat I did.  I didn't owe him anything and I wasn't rude to him, I simply wasn't friendly. But friendly really isn't a requirement.  Heck I've said to people "I'm going over there now" and just walked away from folks I didn't want to chat with.

If the guy asks you a class relevant question its probably most polite to answer.  But its not even remotely required for you to be friendly.  Polite =/= friendly.


I like the way you handled that. Often women are raised to want to please everyone, to make sure that everyone's needs are taken care of before their own. It can put  us into situations that are detrimental to our needs. Once we realize that we don't have to take care of everyone first, we're left with the question of how to do that without feeling that we're being rude.


Amara

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Re: Immune to Social, Non-verbal, and Blatant E-Hell Cues
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2012, 01:37:04 PM »
Not only will he not pick up the non-verbal cues from offenders

MM, this is the part that has me most worried. I am a lay expert in nonverbal communication. But no one needs to understand it at the level I do; we all gain familiarity with it through social norms, social and work interactions, training, etc., and it is essential to getting through life. It governs everything we do and every place we are and every interaction we have. If this guy has an extremely low level of awareness of it and cannot pick up NVC from the inmates he will be a serious danger not just to himself but to his work mates, meaning you.

I would strongly suggest talking to the instructor privately about this and asking to have a solid dose of NVC added to your training. Perhaps an outside consultant could come in, but if not it needs to be done by the instructor. And that means training how to read not just people's cues but places' cues as well. I see it as a matter of personal safety far more than mere cluelessness.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2012, 01:54:51 PM by Amara »

artk2002

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Re: Immune to Social, Non-verbal, and Blatant E-Hell Cues
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2012, 05:50:40 PM »
At this juncture, I don't really have that excuse.  It was a 10 minute break between training and I was lounged on a set of bleachers relaxing.

Then again, would it have been rude (I think so, but then I'm not sure if I'm confusing mean and rude) for me sit up just as he began speaking to me, grab my binder, and say, "Sorry, I'm trying to study."  I think it would be rude because I am shunning him straight to his face...or is that just mean?  Even so, if it's mean, how can I do it nicely?

I'm so conflicted on this, because I definitely don't want to be mean, either.

It's not rude to say "sorry, I'm not available to talk right now" directly to his face. If it hurts his feelings, that's his problem. It doesn't matter if you have something "important" to do or just need a break to lounge on the bleachers. Your time is your time. I've used the phrase recently "a prisoner of etiquette" (very apropos, given your job, don't you think?)  Don't be one. He has chosen to approach you at an inconvenient time or in an inconvenient way. Just because he wants to talk to you, it doesn't mean that you're obligated to do so. Etiquette isn't a set of handcuffs for him to put on you.

One thing about the last sentence. I hope that you can develop a CO personality, if your normal personality is that you don't want to be "mean," and being "mean" means telling an annoying person to go away. You're going to have to be a lot meaner in your job, or you will not succeed.  Note: I'm not talking about the stereotype of the sadistic prison guard -- it's just that given the population you'll be working with, they will take advantage of any perceived weakness. A titanium spine is an absolute job requirement.
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