Intensity Does Not Equal Aggression

Sometimes people tell me that I come off as a little aggressive. When I ask them what they mean, they say that I seem to be feeling a lot of emotion when I engage them about stuff. I’ve heard that I’m engaging and passionate, but to be described as aggressive seems a little unfair. Rachel told me it that it isn’t aggression, it’s intensity. I have a lot of energy that I direct towards everything I do. This makes for great conversations, and impassioned debates and whatever they may be, they are not aggressive.

When I mentioned it to Des he suggested that human beings have evolved to pick up on signs of aggression because it would have helped them in conflict situations. If you know when an animal is about to attack, you can get a head start on running away so it would give the individual a survival advantage. With a sense like this, you do not want a false negative because your chances of dying increase dramatically. The trigger point is going to be set pretty low to ensure that no behavioral predictors of aggression are missed.

When I think how this may apply to me, it does explain some peoples reaction. There is something about my behavior that is causing this sense to be triggered. It doesn’t happen so much with people I know well or interact with frequently because they have learned to ignore this sense when talking to me. When I’m talking to new acquaintances, their threshold for predicting aggression is lower so it may be triggered by the intensity of a conversation; be it by the increase in voice volume, the amount of body movement, a change in the size of the pupils, etc….

It is good information to know that until they get to know me, some people are going to interpret my intensity as a sign of aggression.