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12 Things I Know So Well About Engineers

12 Things I Know So Well About Engineers

My whole life, I’ve loved engineers.

My dad, my brother, my boyfriend, my ex, many of my friends, and more than half of my coaching clients: all engineers.

You are a fascinating and lovable bunch.

Through the abundance of engineers in my life, I’ve come to understand you and appreciate you in a special way as a group. Here are 12 things I’ve found to be refreshingly true about you:

1. You diligently consider all angles before making up your mind.

You take great pains in being as objective as possible. You may even host debates in your head. My boyfriend does this. He constructs arguments with different imaginary figures in his mind, arguing each viewpoint fairly until a sound, objective conclusion is reached.

2. You are whimsical.

You are fun. You see things in an ironic, fun, and funny way. You enjoy xkcd.com and the like. My college days (surrounded by engineers, for sure) were sprinkled with ninjas vs. pirates vs. zombies debates.

This is the “logical” whimsy that is so endearing and playful. Your particular kind of creativity isn’t found in other people in the same fun way. It’s a delight!

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3. You methodically think through all the ways something could go wrong.

This may seem like a drag, but it’s actually really helpful.

This means you’ve always got (or are at least actively formulating) a back-up plan. You’re practical. Risk-averse, perhaps, but thorough. This helps you make quality decisions because you have thought before implementing, saving yourself a pile (or several piles) of unnecessary life clean-up. :)

4. You are thoughtful and empathetic.

Your thoughtfulness doesn’t only get channelled to math and science.

You are also especially thoughtful when it comes to your relationships with people who are important to you, and even people you’ve just met. You are hyper-aware of several viable (and non-viable, but interesting) possibilities that might be occurring in other people’s experiences.

Because of your constant and diligent thoughtfulness, you’re more empathetic than you might give yourself credit for.

5. You are genuinely curious.

Because you understand and appreciate the world (and the universe!) in its infinite complexity, you are curious about how things work, fit together, can be improved upon.

This childlike fascination carries into adulthood and is what makes you so wonderful at your career and such a delight to have a conversation with.

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6. You are naturally playful in relationships.

When you get to know and love people in your life, you find new ways to relate to them. New playful catchphrases, allusions and reinventions of past jokes, even funny physical movements or expressions.

Because your mind is so creative and thoughtful, playful memes always feel fresh and personal.

7. You appreciate the beauty of systems.

You have long pondered the beauty of systems: nature, cities, technological inventions, any kind of infrastructure, really.

You love structure, and you love the mathematical intricacy with which things work together. To you, the way you see these things is just a matter of fact. To others, your level of appreciation for systematic beauty is awe-inspiring.

8. You find linear, logical paths to be relaxing.

You prefer the most direct path to your desired destination. When you have too many choices and emotions involved, this can be very confusing.

That said, when you feel capable and confident and are in your healthy frame of mind, it is immensely satisfying to determine the most logical, linear path to get where you want to go and then set about taking that path. It relaxes you to do this.

9. You value play.

One of the core tenets of genuine confidence, and a centerpiece of my own coaching method, is the foundational exercise of defining your deepest values.

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Most of my clients are engineers and–get this–most of these engineers list PLAY or FUN as one of their top five values.

I told my friend this, and she was surprised. That just wasn’t part of her concept of engineers, but I told her how true and delightful it is. Perhaps that’s because usually your playfulness comes out more within close relationships.

Also, a lot of your playfulness is internal. The way you think about things and interpret the world is playfully curious, and that might not always be expressed.

That said, it’s often really fun for engineers to find new ways that feel natural and fun for expressing their playfulness and relating to people on that lighthearted level.

10. You are relentlessly self-aware.

Because your mind works in such a wonderfully structured and thorough way, you are constantly self-assessing.

You are your greatest puzzle: your own mind, your own behaviors.

When you’re feeling confident and capable, this is really fun! You enjoy the process of analyzing yourself and watching the progress flow once you actually know what to do. That’s the key: knowing what the hell to do! Once you have that, you’re off to the races.

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11. You entertain multiple working philosophical and sociological theories.

Because of your curiosity, thoroughness, and patience, you entertain many working theories on various structures in life: from the sociological (how should we be dealing with X?) to the cosmological (where do black holes lead?).

You may go back and refine any one of your working theories for years, like an artist returning to his sculpture, scraping away what doesn’t belong and perfecting what does.

12. You are quite romantic.

In fact, you are arguably the ideal romantic partner.

You know why? Because you are so earnest, and you want to CHOOSE your partner.

You have ideals for a relationship, the way you want it to feel and operate, and you know you won’t be happy with anything else. Therefore, badass that you are, you go about learning the skills you need to naturally attract and keep the kind of partner you want in your life.

Because you generally prefer depth to breadth, you are extraordinary at focusing in on a relationship and making it hum.

In my experience–in my personal love life and in my dating/attraction coaching–engineers make the best life partners.

Your attention to detail, your care and thoughtfulness, your courageous and relentless focus–they all work together to make you AWESOME.

More by this author

11 Reasons You Have Trouble Making New Friends (And What to do About It) 12 Things I Know So Well About Engineers 10 Questions You Should Never Ask Your Partner How the Right Partner Can Help Make You Successful

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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