Martin Messier

December 17, 2023

The secret language of adjectives in human interaction

In conversations, a little attention to detail goes a long way. In the past 25 years as a student of NLP, I've come to appreciate the nuanced role that language plays in our understanding of human interaction. One aspect, often overlooked yet tremendously insightful, is the use of adjectives.

Consider this: when someone describes their day as "exhausting," it reveals more than just physical tiredness. It's a hint into their emotional state, their challenges, perhaps even their outlook on life. If language is the map of our inner experiences, and adjectives are the signposts.

Of course, we can't presume to know 100% what's behind the word. We have to dive deeper to fully understand its meaning to that person.

We often focus on the 'what' of conversation - the content. But the 'how' - the process, the language patterns, especially adjectives, can be equally telling. They are like the colors in a painting, setting the tone and mood. By tuning into these subtle cues, we can gain insights into a person's emotions, beliefs, and perspectives.

This is not about becoming linguistic detectives, but rather about developing a deeper curiosity and interest. It's about listening not just with our ears, but with our minds and hearts. Paying attention to adjectives is a step in that direction. It's about building bridges of understanding, one word at a time.

So, the next time you're in a conversation, listen for the adjectives. They might just tell you more about the person than the story itself.

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