A social cue is defined as “a type of indirect communication that informs or guides our interactions with others. These include certain facial expressions like a furrowed brow or a smile, both of which are indicators telling you how to proceed in the interaction.”
These cues are a part of all human interaction, but they are especially important to Christians because of our placement within a community called the Church, our command to love one another, and our desire to share what we believe with people. As Christians, we need to be aware of social cues in the different situations we find ourselves as we interact. Unfortunately, I have noticed many of my fellow believers are not well equipped to handle these indirect forms of communication. So today, I wanted to share a few critical social cues for all Christians to be aware of when dealing with other people. Many of these have a general application to everyone, but some are especially important for Christians to remember.
-Whenever someone offers you a mint: Take it.
-When you are talking about Jesus, and the other person changes the subject, quit talking about Jesus.
-Leaning in as you speak means the other person is interested in what you are saying, keep speaking.
-If someone crosses their arms, they are getting defensive, and it is time to quit talking or change the subject.
-Everyone’s personal space and boundaries are different. Watch how close you get to people (also remember the first suggestion above).
-Don’t hug (especially men to women). Side hugs are better than front hugs in every situation.
-Ask questions. People don’t want to hear all about you.
-Open body language indicates an open heart and mind. Closed body language means they are no longer open to your discussion.
-Watch facial expressions. They will show you questions, disagreements, and joy.
-Phone interaction is an indicator of their interest in what you are saying. People who are continually looking at their phones are distracted and often trying to get out of a conversation.
-If you walk up to a group already talking, and they turn their feet and eyes toward you, they are inviting you into the conversation. If they do not do those things, move along.
-Making eye contact is a sign of respect and shows that you are listening.
-Don’t interrupt other people talking unless it is an emergency.
-If the other person keeps moving toward the door, they want out of the conversation and possibly away from you.
These are some of the big ones that I notice. Hopefully, you will find them helpful. What would you add to my list?
I believe if we want to have a more significant impact for the gospel, we need to be aware of the world around us. This does not only include the words being used but the other social cues and what people say without using words. A keen awareness of ourselves and others will help us to make Jesus present in the world to everyone.