Some time ago a reader posted a link to a clip taken from one of the Dirty Harry movies. The video is further below. I don’t want to focus so much on what Clint Eastwood’s character says, or his body language, which shows his utter disapproval of the charade he is supposed to take part in. Instead, focus on how he speaks. I’ll meet you again after the embedded video.
What do you think a very characteristic male trait was? Well, it was the fact that he took his time before talking. The other characters seemingly spent no time thinking, but instead just talked. On the other hand, Dirty Harry first sized up the person he was confronting, and afterwards increased tension by waiting before saying something. Yes, his words are “alpha”, and he puts the female applicant in her place. However, without the tension that directly results from brief moments of silence, Dirty Harry wouldn’t appear quite so dominant.
This isn’t just a scene from a movie, though. The same plays out in real life all the time. Most men I talk to seem to be afraid to take a few seconds to think before replying, instead preferring to just blather. Even worse is that a lot of people exhibit rather poor etiquette when talking, which applies to one-on-one conversations just as well as it applies to group settings. In my view, the inability to spend a few moments thinking before saying something is characteristic of female communication. In groups of women, it is rather common that they all talk over each other, jumping from one topic to the next, without a clear goal in sight. When men do this, it’s an utter disgrace.
Personally, I like to take a brief moment before I say something, but in the wrong company, someone else may then quickly jump in, trying to take over. In that case, you of course need to put them in their place, for instance by raising your hand — I prefer the stop gesture — and reminding them that it’s still my turn. I mention this because there is another aspect that may not be immediately obvious to “alpha communication”: if you are in a poor environment, for instance because you have to deal with lots of women or effeminate men, then communication as a whole suffers, and you may need to steer the conversation to get anything done. Or you behave like all the other pussies in the room.