The Damaging Thought Process that Prevents Social Interaction

At some point in life, most people have been guilty of this simple, often unconscious, thought process than can prevent connecting with others. Here's how to avoid it.

This week, I want to share something that happened to me on stage just a few weeks ago when I was presenting our keynote meetology® session at a training day for a major financial institution as it highlights an assumption that many of us make about others and that can have a negative impact on how we interact with them.

I had asked someone to come on stage and to ‘act out’ 2 or 3 specific emotions and for the audience to guess what they were thinking – it is something I often do if time allows and usually proves eye-opening. And it did this time too as I asked a gentleman to act ‘confused’ and encouraged the audience to shout out what they thought he was feeling.
Almost immediately the purpose of the exercise was accomplished when someone called out ‘arrogant’.

Do you get my point here as it is really powerful?

As I said to the audience, imagine the affect that thinking someone is ‘arrogant’ has on how you interact with someone as opposed to ‘confused’.

It is huge!

It is quite possible that a negative assumption like this could stop you interacting with someone completely – and yet you were wrong about them all the time.

This week I want to encourage you to become more conscious of this often unconscious heuristic (to mind-read people and end up with a negative). The fact is you don’t know what others are thinking and to try to come to a conclusion – especially a negative one – is just madness and could prevent a fantastic and fruitful social interaction.

People who you assume are feeling arrogant, aloof and super-confident may well be feeling insecure, nervous and intimated – the fact is you just don’t know for sure until you do the only thing that will truly answer the question…

…interact with them!

I hope this week’s insight proves of practical use and I’ll be back next week with some more meetology® – helping you thrive professionally and personally by making people skills one of your superpowers.

Have a good week,


Jonathan Bradshaw
The Meetology® Lab


No specific references this week.




About the Author:

Jonathan Bradshaw presents and trains internationally on the fascinating psychology powering exceptional interpersonal communication. He is Founder of the Meetology® Lab and leads the company’s team of behavioral psychologists in collating and sharing cutting-edge research on exceptional people skills. As an experienced and engaging keynote speaker Jon has presented at conferences and business events in over 30 countries and is an award-winning columnist and blogger. Learn more about him speaking at your next event via or connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.