Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Putting on the poker face

Have you ever been around someone that did NOT have a poker face?  In other words, without a word, and just one look at their face, you knew whether or not they were "picking up what you were putting down" a positive or negative way?  

I think we can all agree that kids aren't born with this ability, it is a skill that must be acquired (and fine-tuned) over the years.  Recently, at an Athletic Banquet where daughter Madison received an award (MVP-Offense for Softball), her coach talked about knowing what Madison's position was (on any given subject) by looking at her face.  (don't worry, honey - this technique can be improved).

I have been told I have an excellent poker face.  Regardless of the situation, I can portray a totally passive facial expression, while on the inside I can be screaming, crying, cheering, denying and/or calling b.s. on whatever is being presented.  It is a technique I particularly focused on during my internship days while working on my Masters of Counseling Psychology.  Many times, the information being shared was quite personal and painful.  My frequent worry was that I might start crying with a client (not encouraged).  I learned to distract myself when emotions ran high by turning my head slightly to the left and looking up.  If the situation turned dire, I also became quite adept at listening AND running a grocery lists through my head.

Now let's talk about the other side of that same coin.  


This can be as simple as an eye-roll, wink or mimicking whoever is speaking (out of sight, of course) or doing body interpretations along with the faces (think
Obviously my friend is sharing "a face" in this instance
harikari).  I have a number of weapons in my arsenal.  Now, if I am mimicking, obviously I think I am the class clown and am prepared to be called out for it.  I try not to be mean-spirited with my antics; I just like to entertain.  I also have been flat out told that by some of my work buddies, that they will not look at me during particular topics in the meeting.  # hurtful.

So I was attending a conference in New Mexico last year about this time.  I knew NOT A SOUL and in those instances, I am a bit introverted.  While the topic being covered was necessary, it was not riveting.  All of a sudden, the woman next to me started laughing.  I looked over and she said "your facial expressions are killing me".  Wow.  I did not realize that I can be graphically facial without an intended audience until that moment in time.  I wish I could report that this discouraged me......but I can't.  And I did make a new friend (thanks, Gina)

So, this is your take away from this little blog.  If I am making faces, all is good.  I want you to "pick up what I am putting down".  I really like that saying.  If you see me listening with a passive expression, then my reaction belongs to no one else but me!

Until next time,

your pal,

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