Test Your Expressive Style with
Scenario #2: True Believers
Your car breaks down deep in the desert on a dirt road, and you find yourself stranded and alone.
As the sun begins to set, you begin to wonder if you'll ever see home again. You notice the flickering light of a campfire over a distant ridge. Gathering up the courage to investigate, perhaps because you feel you have no other choice, you haplessly wander into the midst of a bizarre but colorful ritual being carried out by a religious cult. A large gathering of half-naked worshipers dance in a circle around burning effigies of religious symbols, while stoicly chanting verses from their cultist bible. You recognize the only fully-clothed participant, a Pope impersonator in full regalia, as your neighbor.
Within moments of coming upon the scene, your sudden intrusion shocks the dancing worshipers
into stunned silence. The entire scene appears to freeze in time. As the assembled masses watch,
your neighbor moves toward you. Do you wait passively and quietly for the situation to unfold while you hope for the best, or do you attempt to break the tension by doing something dramatic or, perhaps, even making a joke?
After you have weighed your idealistic expectations of yourself against your most realistic sense
of how you would respond, consider inviting another person to participate in this exercise with
you. If you do so, we suggest that you discuss the ways in which each of you envisioned yourself
and each other handling the above scenario. What do the predictions that each of you made tell
you about the expectations you have of one another? How do these expectations influence the
underlying dynamics of your relationship?