Force of nature

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In a conversation with a highly placed arts administrator, a colleague who we both know was described as “a force of nature”. I have always had a guileless attitude towards hearing such information, so I mentioned it in passing to the colleague in question.  The response I got was “Oh dear!”

Stereotypes abound regarding perceived modes of behaviour, based on where people have grown up. There is no doubt that expression is relatively understated in England when it is compared to the way folks communicate in Mediterranean countries, for example.

Assessing character traits or ways of expressing thoughts and feelings should be done within the context of what each person has learnt as the most effective way to get attention. Is extroverted behaviour really the best indicator of a person’s strength of character?

There have been times when friends who share a similar upbringing to mine have agreed with me about a habit that one sometimes encounters in some English circles, where people do something we regard as “speaking over that person’s head” – in other words, using coded language to tease or patronise another person, in the way that adults do very often with young children.

Folks who behave like that could choose to be understated in doing so. The energy of their intentions comes across differently. Should they also be regarded as “forces of nature”?

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