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10 Irritating Beliefs That Picky Eaters Put Up With

10 Irritating Beliefs That Picky Eaters Put Up With

It’s a food thing. You know how everyone talks about food all the time? When people eat out, food is a major topic. For picky eaters, this is really piling on the pain. Now, if you are a picky eater, or you have a loved one who has this minor problem, here are 10 things people commonly think about picky eaters. It is time to give them a chance to explain a few things.

“I’m a really picky eater.” — Emma Roberts

1. They are just seeking attention

Many people are convinced that picky eaters are just trying to get more attention. The reality is quite different, as most picky eaters would rather curl up and die rather than to have to go through agonizing menu choices.

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2. They are just like children

You know how we always lump picky eaters in the problem child category? We have no tolerance for adult picky eaters. They shudder when they think of the confrontational parenting saying “If you don’t eat your broccoli, there is no dessert,” as this was a constant refrain when they were kids. Now as adults, they just want a little more understanding about their food choices. Is that too much to ask?

3. They are suffering from a disorder

Researchers at Duke University have now established that very picky eating may actually be a disorder which has been labelled as a selective eating disorder. Basically, picky eaters are just experiencing food, tastes, and other sensations differently from the rest of the population. Why does every quirk of human behavior have to be labelled as a disorder?

4. They do not love food at all

Picky eaters really do like their food. They are just being highly selective. We all do this. Add in a few cultural and environmental factors and you have national delicacies which may be viewed as disgusting by other nations. When we eat, our taste buds relay to the part of the brain (the gustatory cortex) whether the flavor is acceptable or not.

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5. They love telling us about their preferences

Most picky eaters I know would prefer to be swallowed up rather than have to explain why they are not eating a certain part of the dish. They also hate having to justify their choices on the menu and feel embarrassed when they have to specify that they want no sugar, salt, gluten, lactose, or meat. Leaving food untouched is embarrssing for them.

6. They were spoiled as children

Many people think that picky eaters were just allowed to pick and choose as youngsters. The opposite may be true because they were more likely to have been forced to try things or cajoled into taking two bites of everything — far from being spoiled. Now they enjoy nothing more than having a nice quiet meal at home, with no one offering advice or making unhelpful comments on balanced diets. What bliss!

7. They like being invited out to eat

Actually they do not, because the question, “What would you like to eat?” is a loaded one. There are undertones of:

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  • “The last time she came to eat, she turned up her nose at everything.”
  • “He is such a difficult person and is never satisfied.”
  • “She never compliments me on my cooking.”
  • “I bet he will ask for some rare vegetable, dressing, or spice which we just don’t have.”

Now you know why picky eaters love having scrambled eggs on toast at home alone. Greta Garbo may have been a picky eater in her desire to be left alone, but there may have been another reason!

“There is no one who would have me – I can’t cook.” – Greta Garbo

8. They love everything served on one plate

Picky eaters find this a nightmare. Their ideal is a DIY salad where every ingredient is in separate little bowls and everyone can add what they like. Now, that is democratic eating. If you invite a picky eater, try doing this. It will be love at first sight!

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9. They just can’t appreciate good cooking

In a society obsessed with good food, cookery TV shows, and recipes on practically every page of the web, it is no wonder that picky eaters are regarded with distaste (pardon the pun!). They are stigmatized as not being able to boil an egg. People assume they have no cooking skills and very few taste buds. But research is now pointing to the fact that they may well have actually more taste buds, which may mean their sense of taste is hypersensitive. They yearn for those simpler tastes of French fries, pizza, peanut butter, and hamburgers.

10. They are so difficult to please

If the charming hosts thought for a moment, they would come up with lots of ideas which would please even the pickiest of eaters. Simple is best, so if you decide to invite them, bear in mind that spicy foods are most likely out. Foods like lasagna, with its many layers and textures, might also prove difficult. Fruit salad is usually a safe choice, while boiled chicken with the option of gravy is usually popular — except for vegetarians, of course.

Look at these recipes for some more great ideas if your guests are picky eaters.

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The best solution of all is to organize a pot luck supper. Coordinate this by email so that you do not end up with five fruit salads and one pasta dish. Bon appetit!

Featured photo credit: Eating chocolate brownie/Leonid Mamchenkov via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

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