relationship dynamics

Today’s blog is a bit out there. But stick with me, it’s a fun one.

One evening this summer, I caught a segment on Joe Rogan Questions Everything (please don’t judge me for my TV watching….I’m pretty open minded and interested in lots of weird and wonderful genres).

This episode explored the world of psychics and mentalists. The segment that I thought was fascinating featured Banachek, a mentalist who has written books on mentalism and has invented various magic and mentalism effects.

The show was mediocre at best, but this particular piece gave me cold chills and reminded me why I became a social psychologist and why humans are so fascinating.

I’ve started the video where Banachek demos a very short effect and then explains how the effect is conducted. The particular piece that interested me stops at 33:15 making the entire clip less than 3 minutes long (you’ll have to hit stop/pause once you reach that mark, there is no way to stop the video automatically).

What fascinated me is that it becomes so easy to believe in our fast paced info rich lives that we are what we think. That we behave in ways that are mostly governed by conscious thought and will.

This little clip reminded me that how we see and interpret the world is governed by SO much more than what we think. There are entire constellations of cues working behind the cognitive scenes to determine how we communicate with each other and interpret our reality.

How are you communicating – intentionally or otherwise?

My guess is likely MUCH more than what you think.


Being Genuine – Part Two

by Vicki on April 19, 2013

A couple weeks ago I wrote a blog post on the notion of being genuine. At the end of the post, I indicated that I would spend a bit of time searching through current thinking on the concept and that I would report back on what I found.

I quickly discovered that the academic in me could spend years sorting through all the thinking/writing/research that exists on the topic of genuineness and especially the associated topic of being “authentic” (talk about a buzz word!!). So I quickly reminded myself that this is a blog post and not a dissertation. Here is a short, high-level look at what resonated with me:

Romantic Relationships
The first thing that struck me is how much conversation is devoted to people asking for advice on how to tell if someone is being genuine/real/truthful/honest/sincere. This interest was especially concentrated in people pursuing romantic relationships.

What are the Ingredients of Being Genuine?

  • Liking and respecting yourself, being comfortable in your own skin and the decisions you make
  • Having trust for yourself, listening to your body and your intuition
  • Being “in the moment” or present (i.e., your mind is where your feet are)
  • Not having to try hard to be you – as Dr. Ichak Adizes calls it, no “internal marketing” or an absence of “internal disintegration”
  • Being open to feel your feelings
  • Being able to communicate your feelings to others

Sounds Easy, Huh?
On the surface, being genuine should be easy… is about being you. Not trying, just being. The trouble comes in when you consider that we travel through life interacting continuously with people. We may have a strong sense of who we are, but there are impressions to manage, people we don’t want to disappoint and realities that are tough to face up to. We may strive to always be genuine, but the realities of being human are likely to get in the way from time to time no matter how good our intentions may be.

So how might we live and behave in ways that are more genuine? Based on my cursory reading, I think the answer lies in knowing your values –

Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work. They (should) determine your priorities, and, deep down, they’re probably the measures you use to tell if your life is turning out the way you want it to. (Mind Tools)

How To?
Here’s an exercise suggested by Jason Teitelman

Write 10 statements about yourself you know are true. These could be beliefs by which you live your life or simply things that you do everyday.

After you have your ten statements, print them out and hang them in a place where they’re visible while you’re working. When you are writing a blog post, commenting on someone else’s blog, or even posting a quick tweet, take a look at your 10 statements and ask yourself if what you’re about to share genuinely reflects who you are.

I like the simplicity of Jason’s approach as well as how easily it can be applied to your everyday thinking, writing and communicating.

Net Net
While being genuine should come naturally and easily, like many human qualities it doesn’t necessarily. Those who have most success living and communicating in ways that are genuine have worked to figure out who they truly are and then mindfully go through life behaving in ways that are congruent to their values.

Ahhhhh…..the complexities of being human!
woman making the shopping list


Being Genuine

by Vicki on April 5, 2013

Last week, I had an interaction with a company that left a bad taste in my mouth. Their product was good but the manner in which they conducted their business was distasteful – at least to me. Their product is subscription based and I noticed they had renewed the subscription automatically on my credit card. I contacted their customer service and was told that when I signed up I agreed to automatic renewals. This part was true and it was my fault for not reading the documentation more closely. But the part of their response that didn’t sit right with me was the amount of explanation in the email justifying their practices. It was technically correct, but it just felt dishonest. The real intent of their practice was to maximize sales, not to protect their customers and their explanations to convince me otherwise fell on deaf ears.

Fast forward a couple days and I was in the midst of doing a yoga session. The class was online, it was free, and the instruction was impeccable. The problem was that the more of the class I did, the more irritated I felt. Maybe it was the difficulty of the class, maybe I was in a funk…..but after some thought, I realized it also had something to do with the approach of the instructor. Her class was full of great poses and really good flow but her comments were trite and the impression I was left with was that she was not enjoying the session one bit.

These experiences left me thinking about the idea of being genuine in our interactions and how not being genuine can have immediate and lasting negative repercussions for how we are perceived.

According to

gen·u·ine [jen-yoo-in]


1.possessing the claimed or attributed character, quality, or origin; not counterfeit; authentic; real: genuine sympathy; a genuine antique.

2. properly so called: a genuine case of smallpox. from pretense, affectation, or hypocrisy; sincere: a genuine person.

4.descended from the original stock; pure in breed: a genuine Celtic people.

In the last decade “genuine” has become something of a buzzword. But I think there is more to the concept than just being the word of the day. I think our ability to detect whether or not someone or something is genuine is a fascinating and truly practical skill that humans have developed.

Think back to a time when you knew someone was BSing you……can you easily pinpoint how you knew they were not being genuine? My guess is not. Figuring out why a person or interaction is not genuine seems on the surface to involve both verbal and non-verbal subtle cues. Somehow we “just know” something doesn’t add up.

For my next post, I’m going to spend a bit of time looking into the concept of being genuine – I’ll report back on what the current literature has to say about the concept as well as how current thinking on “genuine-ness” can help us with our relationships and communications both in our business and personal lives.


But I Know it is a Great Idea

October 14, 2011

Have you ever had a great idea, and maybe even had the opportunity to implement, but it didn’t take off like you expected or promised?  It has happened to me and I kept trying to explain myself to the audiences.  Why it was a great solution for the customer.  How it was good for profits.  […]

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So Much Room for Misunderstanding!

June 3, 2011

You are so pleased that you’ve revised the management performance plan, intending to remove the unintended incentive to cover up mistakes. BUT, the team saw it as another step away from the customer. You recognized that the team had been through too much change and announce, “It is time to get back to the basics.”  […]

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