Fibromyalgia · Life changes · Psychology · Relationships · Spirituality

No Emotional Cues

Welcome! Come on in my friend & we’ll have a lovely cuppa together. It has been blowing an absolute gale here for days.

The weather bureau has called it a blob from the antarctic, it has snow falling where snow normally doesn’t fall on the east coast of Australia.

So a hot cuppa, freshly baked scones with jam & cream is a must decadence in the warmth of my lounge room today!

You will have to bare with me as I’m using a new layout with WordPress that has now become the main format for writing posts. And last time I tried it out it was an absolute headache!


Have you found that change can be rather disorienting?

An example of this is when you go into your local supermarket & all the aisles have been changed of their previous well known contents & categories since your last grocery shop! Agghhhh!

Or a computer program you have become proficient in, completely changes overnight & you have to learn the new ‘updated’ version from scratch!

I found a similar rather disorienting situation the other week. Which I realize we may all be experiencing at the moment in living with CoVid.

Let me set the scene…

I was out, doing a quick dash to the shops for some birthday gifts for my family.

And noticed a lady walking towards me with a face mask & dark glasses. I couldn’t tell who it was although her gait looked slightly familiar.

I soon found out it was a friend from church when she called out my name, so we started a CoVid social distance chat but you know what!

I soon became totally disoriented & felt completely overwhelmed, having to politely excuse myself from our conversation.


Why? Because she had a face mask on + dark glasses I couldn’t read any facial expressions!

And because we were in a busy carpark I couldn’t hear her as clearly as I needed. Thus, I wasn’t hearing any voice cues in her inflections or tone!

And this friend was standing still with full grocery bags in each hand. So no expressive body language either!

Thus, I became overwhelmed in trying to use the little cognitive energy I had that day with Fibromyalgia to ‘read’ the course of the conversation.

You see, I wasn’t getting enough emotional cues to be able to navigate the discussion comfortably.

Non Verbal Cues of Communication & Language

As an infant we learn that facial expressions equate to corresponding emotions early in development. Learning to use & read these non verbal cues long before our verbal language skills develop & mature.

And they continue to be very important aspects of how we interact with each other throughout life.

Me in my CoVid garb as an example

Some people are more expressive in using body language then others, using their hands & posture as part of their conversation.

It’s not only a part of effective communication to be able to read another’s non verbal emotional expression through various expressive cues. But also a safety mechanism of interaction.

An example is when someone is becoming enraged, we can tell this by observing their facial expression.

And hearing certain inflections & tones in their voice including reading their body language.

It’s very unsafe to continue interacting with someone who has become enraged, as our personal safety is at risk.

Gauging Non verbal cues

As a mental health care professional, non verbal cues can be just as telling to me as verbal cues.

From the moment I see my patient for our session together I go into clinical observation, observing their demeanor as a whole.

This observation is a critical part of the clinical assessment, for prescribing the right course of therapy that is needed for that individual.

The surprise meeting with my friend in the carpark has highlighted anew to me how important facial, voice & body language is for effective social interaction.

In this time of masking up, let us be mindful that others can’t see our facial expressions behind the mask & may be having a difficult time navigating our interaction with them…

It’s a time for Viral Kindness (click on the colored text for a beautiful story)

Until next time,


Postscript; well I managed to get this post done but not without issues, I inadvertently published it before I’d finished & had to quickly remove that from public view. Then had a few days rest, got back into writing & here we are!

You’re welcome to join me in the The Reading Nook

Β© 2020 Jennifer M. Ross,, All Rights Reserved.

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20 thoughts on “No Emotional Cues

  1. This is a problem for me too, Jennifer. I often don’t recognize people wearing masks. We only have half of the visual clues we normally do. Masks also muffle sounds and prevent us from lip reading. Maybe those clear, see-through masks are the answer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing what it really feels and looks like to wear our masks and try to have a conversation. It is my least favorite thing. It quickly zaps me of energy and I do not have a chronic illness so I am not sure how you managed even as long as you did. You provided a snapshot as to what it feels like to maneuver in this changed world we live in. Thank you for your honesty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Mary, we are all experiencing this situation around the world at the moment & its important to be real with each other. I’m glad you shared that it exhausts you too, that is valuable & validating info for me. Thank you! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I ran into a long-lost friend at the grocery store a month ago. I recognized her only by the color of her hair; she didn’t know who I was until I told her my name. It was so hard to communicate behind our masks so I totally get what you’re saying. 😦 It does take extra work now. Looking forward to when these days are behind us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry for the confusion Elizabeth, the ‘Reading Nook’ is a re title of my Book Nook page.
      A title that is a little more inviting for people to want to access.
      Which has proven to be the case with many more readers accessing the complimentary read of my second book since the re title.
      I think the ‘Book Nook’ title gave the impression that books were for sale.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you Jennifer. With everyone wearing a mask, you can’t see a smile, frown, or any other clue as to how a person is feeling. I have always enjoyed smiling at a stranger while walking on the street or shopping. I find that I still do that because the habit is not easily broken, even though the stranger doesn’t see my smile. The two little girls’ kindness can teach us all.

    Blessings my sweet friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree Pam, I always smile & say hi to strangers as I walk by. They can hear my hi but not see my smile, maybe they can hear my smile in my hi πŸ˜€ I do get a hi back…
      That we can, sweet heart motives from such young ones.
      Have a lovely weekend sweet friend β™₯

      Liked by 1 person

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