Virginia Satir suggested that 15% of people will typically use the satir categories computer attitude. They say neither yes nor no and give no hint of what they really feel or want
The computer is someone who tries to deflect responsibility from either person to the context of a situation. They try to respect context, and remove themselves and others from the picture. The computer will use deletions in speech, particularly lost performatives.
In speech, a computer stance will elicit a thinking response from an audience (or a bored one as abstract language can make your eyes glaze over quicker than a fly realizing you are cooking BBQ).
A favorite computer gesture is a hand on chin (think Rodin’s “The Thinker”), or arms crossed, physically isolating themselves from an issue. This attitude uses analytical disconnected language – Auditory Digital Processing. They aim to be calm and cool. They focus on choosing the right words and avoiding mistakes. The disconnection becomes a barrier to feeling.
This posture can trigger another’s distracter stance, even if the other person doesn’t typically use distracter
To me there is nothing more frustrating when tying to communicate something emotional, than this attitude. I can feel like I’m talking to a computer. Dare I say it; this is many women’s difficulties discussing important things with men. She can feel like she is talking to a robot. And he just doesn’t understand why she is getting so upset when he is being so reasonable. Ahhhhh! And the more upset she gets, the more reasonable he becomes – sound familiar?
Using a computer stance, if you were late to a meeting you might walk in, gather your papers and say.
“What points have been covered so far? I noticed item 6 on the agenda was regarding the customer service survey. I have copies of the appropriate documentation for your perusal here in my briefcase”
Written with Craig McClure