Ask Kevin Anything – The toughest questions, answered. October 2020
Kevin, Is it me or is this common? I’m having a really hard time getting a woman to actually meet me for dinner, partly because of covid?, for a date after meeting online. (T.T.)
Thomas, you can consider that each time you are on video with someone online it’s a date. Position yourself as elegant to begin with. Don’t simply “meet someone online” like it’s a Zoom meeting. It’s not. Make it special. Let the girl know you’d like to make dinner with her. She makes a nice dinner at her place and you make the SAME nice dinner at your place. Suggest that she has a candle when you guys meet for your online date. You do the same. Suggest you have the same wine or other beverage. Now THIS IS ELEGANCE. No one has done this with her and after you have done THIS with her, she will be THRILLED to meet with you for a real dinner.
At the end of your online date, ask her, “So I have a question, if a guy asks a girl out for a real life date would he wear a mask in the door and when seated and how would you guess the right time is to remove the mask so she knows she’s seeing the same guy as she is tonight on the screen?”
She will tell you what she is comfortable with and she will also have walked past the decision making process of whether to go and instead is deciding on the circumstances of the LOGISTICS. Obviously a lot of people will be happy to meet you without the mask issue but you can still have that conversation as “do you think this is important?…”
Let me know what works best about this line of prep and thinking for you.
Kev, I totally suck on video when I’m in meetings with the rest of the people I work with. How can I not suck on video? (R.C.)
Get a good little webcam. Anything that gives a better picture and sound than your laptop. If you LOOK bad, at least SOUND GOOD. You can’t get past bad sound in people’s minds no matter. You should LOOK AND SOUND BETTER TECHNICALLY than everyone else on the meeting (unless they have studio equipment, which is not necessary outside of media production).
Next because cameras are very unforgiving, CLEAN UP NICE. Hair should be perfect. Teeth white as the falling snow. Glasses OFF unless there is a GOOD reason to have them on.
Now practice looking at the little light (the camera) when they are talking, about half the time and down at their face the other half of the time. This takes practice but it makes you more real and easier to connect with as a person.
When you are speaking. Look into the camera about half the time and at the other people half the time. This time looking at the camera is very important when you are in communication. If you are a spectator then make sure YOU are offering visual feedback. (Nod, smile, frown) BE ALIVE.
Is there a reason to SIT? Most of the time probably not. Consider standing and having the camera pick you up from the waist up.
Practice talking with your PHONE for an hour this week. Talk about ANYTHING so you become familiar with the process of talking to a screen. THEN watch the video and ask, “What looks good?” “What sucks?” Looking comfortable, approachable, intelligent, connectable ON CAMERA is something almost NO ONE does well, so you can know you will be a leg up on everyone.
Dr. Hogan, is it healthy to hold a grudge? I think I’m a good person but I hate my ex and I don’t feel like “forgiving him” for several things he said about me online. Suggestions? (L.C.)
Tough word to define. If “forgive” means “let go of the power the person has over you,” then yes. In other definitions, there are things that are not forgivable. If people have hurt you without making it right you can let it go but you don’t need to be stupid an fail to learn from the lesson. If a grudge means that you are prepared for revenge, in most cases you’re going to have to get past that in life. We live in a weird society where people believe it’s ok to lie, steal and harm in the name of personal entertainment for their Twitter Feed. Generally your best response when people say something nasty, it’s to LET IT GO NOW.
Don’t publicly respond to an idiot, a former lover. People will go to great lengths to hurt you for all kinds of reasons. They will repeat their story for years. You CAN take the person to court if they lie about you and you can sue for damages if you can prove them, but when you arrive you have to defend the CONTEXT of the situation which generally is not worth the cost of taking the person to court. Over the years people have said some pretty nasty things about me. I don’t think I’ve ever responded beyond, “interesting.”
It’s an interesting thing that people who want to argue and defend their innocence or point of view…they have the issue sit in front of them for a LONG time. Think political arguments. But it becomes boring to attack someone who refuses to respond. I only remove people from a friends list if they are seriously psychotic or pathological. (They want to do you harm without conscience or consideration of how their communication will hurt others.) It never hurts to drop a note to an attorney and ask about a specific case. In general, don’t feed the fire with fuel. There’s no point in proving you are as crazy as they are.
Kev, you write a lot about identity but I don’t even know who I am. I feel like I’m just wandering through life. How do I know who I am? (B. T.)
This question comes up a lot. I think we have a new course here. (Really) A few quick tips.
- Put together a list of people, heroes (real and fantasy) and why they are important to you. Then write out what attribute, characteristics they have you wish you did. ALSO: What do they have that you do NOT want?
- Different sheet of paper: Without limitation what would you like to do/be/have. Simple stuff, complex, fun, ridiculous. Keep it to yourself. But learn these things about you. Again, limitations are for another day.
- What is fun, exciting, cool to do? Write down a list on a piece of paper.
- What do you MISS in life? Who do you miss in life?
- What do you find yourself passionate about? What will you argue with friends about?
- What do you think you are pretty good at as far as helping friends or family?
There are dozens of such life finding projects you can. These will open the door. And I’ll work on an online course because this is really important.
Dr. Hogan, is social distancing causing a negative impact on interpersonal communication and as well as social attitudes? Specifically, are people going to have less empathy for each other as we move into the future? (V.H.)
You’re probably right on this. We like people we are close to in space and time. These things are discouraged in covid times. Sometimes you can have the intimacy without a price paid. The President thought he was immune, but that turned out to be incorrect. So you’re living in a historic period. My best guess is that this period will generate far more negative social consequences as we go forward. Part of what makes life rich is being able to touch someone, kiss them, hug them, console them, love them. And touch is the conduit of human life.
Meanwhile wearing a mask allows for almost no honest, meaningful communication as there is no nonverbal feedback for many human emotions. The eyes are helpful but not as valuable as you might guess without seeing facial expressions, especially the nuances of life’s small expressions. Expect trust to be reduced because of masks and distancing. Expect intimacy to be much more difficult and the experiences that make life, life, harder to find and experience. I expect a much more we/they world than we have today and we already have a truly WE/THEY world.
Kev, how do you know what you should be feeling or what emotion should you be experiencing, when people get upset with you, or when someone dies, when you’re rejected? I feel like I’m walking through life clueless. It’s hard to explain. People tell me all the time, “you just don’t get it.” And I have no response to that either. (J.D.)
You can get some of these answers by yourself. You can watch movies that deal with emotions. Perhaps the easiest thing is to talk with a few friends. Ask specific questions like, “Has anyone ever died that you loved? Can you tell me how you felt? For how long? Did it ever ‘go away.'” “Have you ever loved someone who hated you or hurt you? How did you feel? How did you go about living with those feelings?” A good friend might just appreciate such a conversation and PROBABLY more than you might guess because you’re taking your apparent narrow range of emotions and attempting to learn how to feel. Don’t expect the learning curve to be quick but it will certainly be rewarding. I see another E Course here…
Kev, I’m a white man and I was having a conversation with a co-worker over Zoom while we waited for everyone else to arrive. She told me I should feel guilty for what she called white privilege. I know your story. I didn’t live in Alabama in an all black part of the city. I grew up middle class in Pittsburgh. What is the right response when you’re a good person but someone wants you to feel guilty because of how you were born or that you might receive treatment that is different from people of other genders, colors, ethnic background. I’ve been a customer of yours for years and would appreciate your help here. (S.C.)
Beautiful, honest question. A lot of people appreciate you asking this. There really are people in the world who think or believe that you need to have certain emotions and feelings because you are male and/or white. I’ve always found that interesting. I also don’t feel or develop beliefs because someone lays a philosophy at my feet, and I suggest the same for you. It’s worth asking people for a definition and then secondly examples followed by citations of facts if you are really being pushed to accept a notion that may or may not have appropriate significance.
In this case, the hard nosed approach would be, “what is the precise definition?” ANSWER. “and can you show me the data to back that up?” Have them google studies that validate whatever their definition is and then have them google the OPPOSITE like any good scientist. Smart people get smart by challenging all assumptions.) Once you have an equal amount of data on both sides you can actually communicate intelligently about what a phrase or ideology means to someone. Finally, “If I were to explain your religion/p.o.v./hypothesis/idea to a group at my next gig, how would I do it so every single person easily understood both sides and they could see the information clearly to make a decision on how they might integrate this into their life?”
IF you don’t want to take the more direct approach you can take a softer approach. This obviously isn’t about “white privilege” or being catholic or a cult member or an MLM. You’re trying to understand what a person means (and it’s probably very cloudy to them as well) but do feel free to get all the data collected. Analyze each study or piece of data fairly and with the intent to see if it’s valid and reliable. OK, to a softer approach….
Let’s take this in two parts.
- “Jane, I get that you believe this is important to you. I respect that. How did you come to believe this? When? What triggered the aha? How did you determine your belief was on track with the universe or God? Is there a scientific basis for this?” (Now Jane has NEVER thought this much about something like this and your worst case scenario is that you learn how Jane believes, you get her to reflect on her beliefs without ATTACKING you.)
- “So are you going to change?,” she might ask. And your response is: “You’ve put in a lot of thought, prayer, study, research into this and I am not going to race into something that is this important to you without the same due diligence. One year from now, (however long it took Jane to go through some process here) and I’m dead serious, we will talk about this. In the meantime, I want to look at the same books, talk to the same/similar people, learn more because I’m in kindergarten on this and you are in grad school. I appreciate you for who you are.”
And that’s it. UNLESS… if you have been unkind or disrespectful to others BECAUSE of part of a demographic (height, weight, hair color, skin color, gender, age, etc.) then work on normalizing your behavior, recognizing those differences DO cause others to have different behaviors because they experience life differently than you do. Tall people will be asked to the basketball time, short people will be considered to be a jockey, the nearsighted will read a lot of books, get used to life with four eyes instead of two. These are all real things and change experience and behaviors. Always recognize that physical/emotional/etc. characteristics very much change PERSONALITY. Being able to talk with people about those changes elegantly can be very helpful in understanding the world around you. Genuinely learn. You may have nothing to be defensive about, and then again you might. If you’re doing your best and someone points out something specific write in again and I’ll address any specifics for you here.
Dr. Hogan, my family has blocked me on Facebook and Twitter because I don’t agree with their politics. We got into what I thought was a friendly debate on Facebook. I wasn’t trying to change their mind. I was simply saying what I thought and my sister and cousin attacked me like I was going to hurt someone. I wasn’t. I told them I wasn’t planning on voting and then my sister told me “that’s the same as voting for Trump.” I can’t believe this is happening. How do I fix my family? How do I make everyone friends again? (S.C.)
Sadly your experience is common and normal. When people feel they have to convert you to their thinking they are very much evangelicals for their philosophy. You can respect their passion for their subject, belief, product, business, family or whatever they are willing to hurt their family for. But perhaps they can be asked, “I don’t want to take politics/religion/race/etc. off the table, but I’d like you to consider being as passionate about family who loves you and protect family and friends to the degree you protect another philosophy, or perhaps just consider that people love you, miss you, want you back in life but sometimes it’s hard because your passion is SO big that it squeezes others out who’d love to be close again. Like me. And by the way, I want to hear bout your philosophy and how it is changing your life. All I need is that elevator pitch if you will and not oversell but know that I’m of the same DNA as you are and want to have well thought out conversations and not not painful one’s except when absolutely necessary.”
Kev, In one of your programs you said something like, “in every situation where you feel at disadvantage there is a ‘huge advantage’ there.” You also said in a recent video that people should say when they are skeptical. I’m skeptical. Help me find the advantage of doing business in covid and then in the next year or two. How do we find that advantage? (K.F.)
Covid has forced humans into scenarios (varying from place to place, at time to time) where they must behave, UN-naturally. That is very difficult to do. You have a chance to dig in and be a master of the period. And do know that this situation will not go away soon and that everything you learn and apply now will make you a brilliant communicator and emotionally competent friend/family member should this period end in the near future.
Because covid has stolen jobs, killed people, stopped surgeries from happening and on and on and on you really are living in uncharted waters. Don’t hate the world or yourself. Leave God out of it and ask the question, “how can I be more valuable to the world this year?” “How can I be a better friend?”