Author Topic: Wearing a face covering in public  (Read 2781 times)

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Wearing a face covering in public
« Reply #60 on: 11 Dec 2021 05:06PM »
The flip side of that is that there may be panel members that mis-interpret some facial expressions, so whilst it hinders you as an interviewer, it may reduce prejudice or misunderstandings of others.

I'm afraid, though, that I'm heavily biased in that due to having a long-standing interest in misinterpretation of facial expressions, body language and behaviour.


(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

ally

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Re: Wearing a face covering in public
« Reply #61 on: 11 Dec 2021 10:15PM »
I rely greatly on facial expressions, it’s part of deaf culture shall I say.  I lip read, use sign language, and, anything else available to help me communicate.   Facial expressions, and body language, tell me a lot about the person I’m communicating with.  I can tell if the person is lying, happy, sad, annoyed, or, even exasperated as I haven’t grasped whatever I’m being told.  The way I react to someone, all depends on the above.  When someone is wearing a mask I lose all that.  I struggle as I can’t communicate at all, if I can’t see someone’s lips.  I know if the person is annoyed, as it shows in their eyes, squinting, scowling etc.  Even though I can’t hear, I can tell if a person is shouting due to their neck muscles looking strained. 


I know masks help to keep people safe.  However, why anyone would imagine that when I tell someone I lip read, they continue talking while still wearing a mask?  Do they think I’m lying?  Are they taking the opportunity to tell me what they’re really thinking, and, insult me ?   I doubt the latter, but, it does make you wonder at times.  The could try it on. and then, if I rise to it.   I am faking it.  When younger I once has an interview for a job.  He was fascinated by me being deaf.   He covered his mouth over with a piece of paper, and, said something to me behind it,  when I didn’t react, he said, very good, and, laughed.  He told me at the end of the interview that he wasn’t going to offer me the job.   He thought I was too attractive, and, I would prevent the men from  getting on with their work.   Therefore, I think he’d said something way out of order behind that piece of paper.  These days, he’d be in trouble for conducting a sexist interview like that. 
 

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Wearing a face covering in public
« Reply #62 on: 11 Dec 2021 11:22PM »
I think that some people think that if you can talk, you can't be deaf.  Also, I find as a partially deaf person that there's a widespread assumption that if you have hearing aids, you can hear just fine.

Ironically, old people far more often get it, being more likely, if not having got a bit (or a lot) deaf themselves, having met and known, as they grew older, more and more people with a range of deafness.

What drives me bonkers is people that don't realise that it's not just about volume, it's also about clarity.

On the two aspects of my feelings about face-covering, I don't like people covering faces in contexts where I can't hear clearly (which for me, with my aids in, mostly means background noise, or hard surfaces such as a surgery or such as an interview room).  I certainly think it's entirely reasonable for someone who needs to be able to lip read to have suitable adjustments made. 

The flip side relates not so much to people seeing my face as to how people interpret people's expressions.

I have had a lot of problems with this over the years, albeit with a small proportion of people.  The best example is one not hidden by a mask.  I have an hereditary condition that causes me to use my eyes separately, and therefore to switch back and forth between which eye I'm watching a face with, perhaps due to background lighting or the person moving.  I never saw anything odd in this, because my mother also did it, as did another close relative.  It was only a few years back that I realised how visible it was to others and the penny dropped as to why certain people over the years had thought I wasn't paying attention to them or that I was dodgy or dishonest. 

I feel I want to cry when I see guides to facial expressions that say that if people are looking around when you speak to them, they're being evasive or dishonest.  Also, even though I try not to react to it, I feel hurt by the term 'swivel-eyed'.

Another thing not covered by a mask, I also frown sometimes when struggling to hear what people are saying and therefore struggling more to focus my eyes, and find it distressing when some people interpret that as anger or  hostility.  Again, you find that link made in guides to facial expressions with no clarification that people may wrinkle their faces as they focus their eyes.

However, whilst my examples relate to eyes and forehead, the principle applies to the whole face.

So my argument is not that people shouldn't be asked to take face coverings off where needed for communication purposes,  just that I have suffered too much in life from people interpreting facial expressions in a way that is detrimental to me, which has left me twitchy about how much people read into them.

(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Fiz

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Re: Wearing a face covering in public
« Reply #63 on: 12 Dec 2021 02:06PM »
Gosh ally what an awful experience during that interview. Horrendous. And I totally agree that no one should continue talking behind their mask once they know or if they already knew you are deaf. It's rude and totally pointless. And frustrating for you.


I was deaf as a child and could lip read. My memories are all of fear, for being told off or smacked when I hadn't heard the instruction. No one knew that I was deaf as I wasn't born deaf and through the process of going deaf had learnt to lip read which meant it took years for someone to realise. It was really frightening and a scary time. I could lip read for a few years after my operation but lost the ability after a while. It's a disability that totally disconnects you.

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Wearing a face covering in public
« Reply #64 on: 12 Dec 2021 02:15PM »
I hope I haven't offended anyone with my obsession with facial expressions. 

I'm just aware that I don't always do as well as I'd like on facial expression tests as I'd like and that statistically that's not rare.

I'm also aware, having been on interview panels, that not everyone remembers that someone's facial expressions, body language, general demeanor etc. in an interview may be very different from how they are in a work setting.  That can differ both ways, better and worse.

So I don't say don't take facial expressions into account if it's something you're good at, just be aware that other panel members might not be so good at it.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Fiz

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Re: Wearing a face covering in public
« Reply #65 on: 12 Dec 2021 03:07PM »
Not at all offended sunny though I would be interested in how the statistics on the percentage of people misinterpreting facial expressions were accurately ascertained. While I am sure that there are people who do misinterpret facial expressions I suspect they are a small minority. Like ally, I rely on them a lot and can definitely "read" people pretty well. So we'll view this issue differently and that's okay.

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Wearing a face covering in public
« Reply #66 on: 12 Dec 2021 03:47PM »
I think it entirely plausible that only a small proportion of people misinterpret facial expressions, it's just that having my life blighted by so many hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people over the years misinterpreting mine, I am twitchy about it.   I've reached the point of stopping attending a variety of community groups where there was a turnover of attendees.  I'd be really interested in something someone was saying, then they'd be really put out because they thought I was annoyed.

That being so, given that you are good at facial expressions, I think that sort of thing can be touched upon indirectly in the post-interview chat, just as panel members address issues of whether others understand the equivalency of different qualifications or whether they understand some jargon. 

So if, going back to a non-mask illustration because it's a simple one, if someone keeps looking off to the side, you could casually ask "Do you think that was a tropia, or was he focussed on something else, or was he expressing cultural respect by not directing his gaze at a woman?  Was he looking at you, (name of male co-panellist)?"

Or with other facial expression "Do you think that his minimal facial expression could be interpreted by some patients as a lack of interest rather than its real reasons, or do you think his body language and vocal tone would make up for it?"

If people like you that are good at interpreting facial expressions don't make sure others aren't misinterpreting them, the likes of me will continue to go through life socially disadvantaged by some of our invisible disabilities and cultural differences that don't show up on paperwork.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Fiz

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Re: Wearing a face covering in public
« Reply #67 on: 12 Dec 2021 04:57PM »
I think that's where in every day relationships communication is key sunny. Whether irl or online we can interpret things in a certain way and it's important to be open that things may be different to how we have taken it so we ask questions to clarify. I think you and I do that really well online Sunny and I hope that if we ever met we would do that too. I probably would be able to if I met you and thought you appeared annoyed because I have got to know you over a number of years here. I admit that if someone that I don't know appears annoyed, I would be unlikely to question their feelings or meaning because, due to being an abuse survivor, I still walk on eggshells and avoid confrontation but I feel that I know you and don't feel that you would ever knowingly upset someone. I do separate that situation to that of interviewing a potential psychologist because facial expressions and body language are 100% crucial to the role and as I think about it, to an extent body language is an extension of facial expressions and without the facial expressions the body language is far less clear. For other roles I wouldn't have such an issue with the applicant wearing a mask.

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Wearing a face covering in public
« Reply #68 on: 12 Dec 2021 05:22PM »
I've interviewed counsellors in my role as director of a charity, and I can see where you're coming from.

That being said, how do you differentiate between people who use different body language and facial expressions in interview/formal situation, and how they do in session?  We did it by getting them to spend time with the sort of people they'd be helping and watching their interactions, particularly how they adjusted for different sorts of people.  But that wasn't observing their one-on-one counselling.

That being said, I suppose we could have placed more emphasis on things like facial expression than we did.  We placed more emphasis on understanding of cultural differences, both in the most often used sense of cultural differences relating to religion and geographical origin, but also in terms of little things like recognising that some people from very rural communities might feel more comfortable having therapy in the context of our semi-outdoor and outdoor settings. 

Who knows whether we were right?

But then I've had some very widely contrasting experiences of therapy myself, and some of the worst was with someone I'd previously known and knew afterwards.  It was someone who was experienced, professional, competent, kind etc. but who lacked explicitness, leading to seriously damaging misunderstandings.  Indeed, that's been an issue with most of the mental health professionals that were in my care as an adult.  I best most therapists and other mental health professionals are explicit about things in interview.

So I suppose at least if you look for things like facial expression and body language it is giving you useful information about them.  If nothing else, it gives you a bit of a feel about whether they are good at acting the part and putting on the right show for a job interview, which means they may also be good at acting the part and putting on a good show for a therapy session.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Fiz

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Re: Wearing a face covering in public
« Reply #69 on: 13 Dec 2021 04:43PM »
As it turns out, I don't think that the interviewee wearing a mask was the hindrance that I had expected. He managed to answer all the questions with obvious understanding and empathy, it wasn't just the words, but the thoughtful pauses and his honesty. The only weird thing about the mask wearing was, were I ever to meet him again without mask, I would have no idea that I have met him before because I have little clue as to what he looks like!