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Old 07-13-2013, 09:32 PM
 
Location: Wilsonville, OR
1,262 posts, read 2,113,452 times
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I almost put this in one of the relationships forums, but since this issue is related to psychology and cognition specifically, I thought it might fit better here.

Have you ever had difficulty getting along with someone because you quite literally can't understand or communicate effectively with them?

My friend is an extreme concrete-logical thinker. She is gifted in math, has an economics degree, and thinks about just about everything in a linear, discrete step-by-step manner. She is very smart; I bet if she really wanted to she could probably do Einstein's field equations in her head. Well, maybe not, but it seems like it sometimes. Her deductive abilities would make Sherlock Holmes proud.

And yet, she seems to have extreme difficulty with what I see as incredibly simple, basic tasks. Her self-teaching ability is practically zero. If it doesn't have explicit step-by-step instructions covering every detail of the process, it is beyond her. She can't learn computer programs by herself, has no understanding of even the most basic technologies and can't even hook up her television by herself, and can hardly play any games because they just "don't make any sense". The only games she can play are classic NES and Genesis games, because they are simpler and have more obvious cause-and-effect mechanics. Newer more complex games are totally beyond her. The worst time ever was when I tried to play Portal 2 multiplayer with her. We never got past the tutorial stage because placing a portal on one wall, another portal on another wall, and then walking through "just doesn't make any sense" to her.

For myself, I can teach myself the ins and outs of almost any kind of system (especially technical systems) just by using and observing. Even for really complex stuff (like a 32 or more channel mixing console with compressor, expander and noise gate, for example) I usually just throw out the instruction booklet and start working. It's all very natural; there's no need for instruction, just start messing around and using things until you find out how everything works. That's how I've always done it and it hasn't failed me yet. I have a knack for any kind of puzzling solving game; I can churn out a masterful photograph almost effortlessly, and my musical sense isn't too shabby either. I don't remember any of this, but apparently when I was a toddler, I would assemble and disassemble 500+ piece jigsaw puzzles over and over again, very rapidly.

But I have no choice but to admit, I have a severe deficiency in my general logical thinking capabilities. I have difficulty following some conversations because I can't make logical connections between different points. I have next to zero math capability. If I run out of fingers and toes to count on, I am pretty much lost. I cannot even do basic arithmetic in my head. I just can't keep the numbers in my working memory. It's like trying to hold on to a gas: it just slips right through your fingers. (Well, my fingers anyway). Even from the time I was in kindergarten I've had difficulties with maths. I can talk to you all day about the local curvature and topology of the universe, and I know what I am talking about, but if you asked me to write down some equations to describe, say, a hyperbolic universe, I wouldn't even know where to begin, while my friend could probably do it with her eyes closed.

Due to my differences/deficiencies, my friend says talking to me is like talking to an alien, as I tend to "skip ahead" or go off on apparently random tangents. From my perspective she is being painfully slow, trudging through the mud step by step and constantly reiterating herself while I am already at the finish line waiting to start some new and different thoughts. It's incredibly frustrating. I am betting she probably felt the same way when she was trying to teach me some rather basic math. On a purely intellectual level, I understand that make does "make sense" because it is based on rules that can be applied and followed to the end, but on a personal neural-cognitive level, it makes no sense to me whatsoever. It's like I suffer some kind of whole-brain shut down every time I look at or even think about numerical operations. I ended up having to get up and walk off because trying to make sense of such operations was getting to the point of being upsetting.

Has anyone else ever had these kinds of problems? I mean, not this problem specifically, but general problems communicating with someone with a very different style of thinking than yours? How did you fix/cope with it? Is there any hope?

Last edited by Lunar Delta; 07-13-2013 at 09:42 PM..
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Old 07-13-2013, 09:36 PM
 
Location: earth?
7,284 posts, read 12,713,733 times
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Do you know the Myers-Briggs and/or Enneagram personality typing systems? They might help you understand different personality styles and ways of processing information.
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Old 07-14-2013, 03:30 AM
 
Location: Kansas City, MO
3,565 posts, read 7,771,699 times
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It sort of sounds like your friend is more intellectual and conceptual, like a doctor or lawyer, and that you're more technical, like an IT, cable or telephone technician, or mechanic. That's a pretty simple and common difference. Although, I read through what you wrote quickly and could be wrong.
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Old 07-14-2013, 07:19 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,660 posts, read 85,269,667 times
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From reading posts on C-D, I've come to the conclusion that there are only two simple thinking styles:

ON

OFF

People don't have a switch. It's hardwired, one of the other.
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Old 07-14-2013, 03:26 PM
 
Location: SNA=>PDX 2013
2,793 posts, read 3,975,549 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunar Delta View Post
Has anyone else ever had these kinds of problems? I mean, not this problem specifically, but general problems communicating with someone with a very different style of thinking than yours? How did you fix/cope with it? Is there any hope?
I have, but the difference is, it's usually with people I work with, not friends. With a co-worker, I can change my thought process enough so that we can communicate effectively. I basically speak their language for that time being. I don't expect them to change to my way of thinking.

With a friend, I could see how that could become very very tiring and in fact, too challenging since you're not being yourself. Also, I think with a friend, you both would need to really make that effort to think outside your box. I do have friends where we don't get each other, but it's only sometimes, not all the time. Honestly, if my friend never understood what I was talking about and vice versa, I can't say we'd be friends for very long.

Not sure if there's any hope. Only you and your friend can determine if the effort is worth the friendship.
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Old 07-14-2013, 03:32 PM
 
Location: Pa
42,757 posts, read 52,000,205 times
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Some think with emotions. Some think logical. Some think with visions in their head. Some think from point A-B and never outside the box.
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Old 07-14-2013, 04:39 PM
 
Location: Northern NH
4,550 posts, read 11,526,278 times
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Everybody had different thinking styles.....it would be very boring inddeed if we were all the same.
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Old 07-15-2013, 04:48 AM
 
13,505 posts, read 17,754,620 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunar Delta View Post
...Has anyone else ever had these kinds of problems? I mean, not this problem specifically, but general problems communicating with someone with a very different style of thinking than yours? How did you fix/cope with it? Is there any hope?
I cannot communicate with people whose lives are lived white water rafting through their emotions.
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Old 07-16-2013, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
18,630 posts, read 12,636,651 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunar Delta View Post
Has anyone else ever had these kinds of problems? I mean, not this problem specifically, but general problems communicating with someone with a very different style of thinking than yours? How did you fix/cope with it? Is there any hope?
Oh heavens, yes. You're describing a very typical almost Asperbeger's Syndrome type of personality in your friend, and you're more the creative / intuitive type. I would also urge you to look into the Byers-Briggs tests for more insight.

I think some people are just less aware of / more naive about the differences. It's a common mistake when you're young to assume everyone else is approximately like you, whereas in fact, other people's thought processes can be so utterly different that your adjective "alien" is quite appropriate. Be grateful that you are noticing this. I talked past others and was baffled by much of human behavior for years and years, and got into a really toxic marriage because I didn't understand this principle.

It isn't really that bad so long as you recognize and respect the differences between yourself and others. I think it's admirably insightful that you at least intellectually grasp the differences between you and your very methodical, linear-thinking friend -- and also impressive that you don't become juvenile around it and assume she's dense or that there's something wrong with her. Talk about the differences and configure your relationship to help each other out in the areas where one is weak and the other strong. Help each other get a bit of a clue about how the other's mind works, it will help you in other relationships.
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Old 07-21-2013, 05:39 PM
 
50 posts, read 81,356 times
Reputation: 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunar Delta View Post
I almost put this in one of the relationships forums, but since this issue is related to psychology and cognition specifically, I thought it might fit better here.

Have you ever had difficulty getting along with someone because you quite literally can't understand or communicate effectively with them?

My friend is an extreme concrete-logical thinker. She is gifted in math, has an economics degree, and thinks about just about everything in a linear, discrete step-by-step manner. She is very smart; I bet if she really wanted to she could probably do Einstein's field equations in her head. Well, maybe not, but it seems like it sometimes. Her deductive abilities would make Sherlock Holmes proud.

And yet, she seems to have extreme difficulty with what I see as incredibly simple, basic tasks. Her self-teaching ability is practically zero. If it doesn't have explicit step-by-step instructions covering every detail of the process, it is beyond her. She can't learn computer programs by herself, has no understanding of even the most basic technologies and can't even hook up her television by herself, and can hardly play any games because they just "don't make any sense". The only games she can play are classic NES and Genesis games, because they are simpler and have more obvious cause-and-effect mechanics. Newer more complex games are totally beyond her. The worst time ever was when I tried to play Portal 2 multiplayer with her. We never got past the tutorial stage because placing a portal on one wall, another portal on another wall, and then walking through "just doesn't make any sense" to her.

For myself, I can teach myself the ins and outs of almost any kind of system (especially technical systems) just by using and observing. Even for really complex stuff (like a 32 or more channel mixing console with compressor, expander and noise gate, for example) I usually just throw out the instruction booklet and start working. It's all very natural; there's no need for instruction, just start messing around and using things until you find out how everything works. That's how I've always done it and it hasn't failed me yet. I have a knack for any kind of puzzling solving game; I can churn out a masterful photograph almost effortlessly, and my musical sense isn't too shabby either. I don't remember any of this, but apparently when I was a toddler, I would assemble and disassemble 500+ piece jigsaw puzzles over and over again, very rapidly.

But I have no choice but to admit, I have a severe deficiency in my general logical thinking capabilities. I have difficulty following some conversations because I can't make logical connections between different points. I have next to zero math capability. If I run out of fingers and toes to count on, I am pretty much lost. I cannot even do basic arithmetic in my head. I just can't keep the numbers in my working memory. It's like trying to hold on to a gas: it just slips right through your fingers. (Well, my fingers anyway). Even from the time I was in kindergarten I've had difficulties with maths. I can talk to you all day about the local curvature and topology of the universe, and I know what I am talking about, but if you asked me to write down some equations to describe, say, a hyperbolic universe, I wouldn't even know where to begin, while my friend could probably do it with her eyes closed.

Due to my differences/deficiencies, my friend says talking to me is like talking to an alien, as I tend to "skip ahead" or go off on apparently random tangents. From my perspective she is being painfully slow, trudging through the mud step by step and constantly reiterating herself while I am already at the finish line waiting to start some new and different thoughts. It's incredibly frustrating. I am betting she probably felt the same way when she was trying to teach me some rather basic math. On a purely intellectual level, I understand that make does "make sense" because it is based on rules that can be applied and followed to the end, but on a personal neural-cognitive level, it makes no sense to me whatsoever. It's like I suffer some kind of whole-brain shut down every time I look at or even think about numerical operations. I ended up having to get up and walk off because trying to make sense of such operations was getting to the point of being upsetting.

Has anyone else ever had these kinds of problems? I mean, not this problem specifically, but general problems communicating with someone with a very different style of thinking than yours? How did you fix/cope with it? Is there any hope?
You're a non-linear thinker. Her approach, as you say, is a step-by-step, logical, concrete approach where as you go off on tangents and explorations and are creative. And that's the difference between the two of you; she lacks creativity while you lack the ability to stick to rigid formation.

I would guess that your relationships tend to vary a lot and hers tend to be quite similar. She probably has a very rigid set of boundaries while you are much more flexible than she is. She is probably on time for everything while you might be more prone to sleeping in or not sleeping at all.

I've definitely come across people that are totally different to me but it's just a case of finding common ground. You can't force anything but you'e obviously a lot quicker than she is in respect to mental fluidity, and the bottom line is, the reason for that is because you get bored when there's too much structure. You have a more adventurous personality than she does, whereas she needs reassurance and method before she ventures off into something.

I think with images in my head, and I have what's called a beehive mind. When I calculate a response or an action I think variably trying to take into account all factors, about many aspects of the subject matter and then arrive at a conclusion; the think-tank kind of person. So my issues with communication are usually because I tend to discuss tangents of matters that are seemingly irrelevant and make absolutely no sense to other people, or I think myself into non-motion. Sometimes I get lost on a subject or I have too much going on in my head,and very, very often, I find people unable to keep up with what I'm saying or relate to my humour. I can come across as way too over analytical, scarily perceptive sometimes and I tend to 'get' people pretty quickly but have trouble expressing myself in a way that suits their thinking.

I remedy my communication issues by listening more than I talk or by hanging around with people that think like I do.

Last edited by Medi; 07-21-2013 at 05:53 PM..
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