I will in the following reflections refer to ‘Anna’s understanding of the 1. RD’, by using quotation marks and letters in italics. 7.2.2. My Reflections with another’s voice in mind, on the 1st RD Relational Responsiveness It struck me how Meercat emphasized that I seem to have the ability to “read(s) her”. I connect this to Bakhtin’s (1981, 1984, 1986) interest in what happens between people in communication. When Meercat and I talk together I try to take in what she wants me to hear. But every utterance by Meercat is structured by the relationship between us, and all she says will be done with a view towards me, and the other way around. What Meercat says gets its form (is formulated) in the moment it is being said, dependent on the response she receives from me. She will, according to Bakhtin, search for an active understanding, orient herself towards me and try to have me to read her words.
Not being very verbally active I will communicate my feelings and understanding of what she says in other ways. When I refrain from interruption it may be perceived that I appreciate what she talks about. When she points out that I “sense when she is raring to go on”, she refers to the fact that I don’t interrupt and say something when I feel she has more to say. When she says that I look at “ emotions, body language and whole concept”, I connect this to my effort to concentrate on following her emotional expressions and that I take care not to judge one thing to be more interesting than another. I try to watch the way she speaks and her intonation. As Voloshinov (1973) points out, the intonation is especially sensitive to all the vibrations in the atmosphere surrounding the speaker. I try to match my verbal and nonverbal responses to the emotional level I feel proper.
This reminds me how we monitor our conversations by using small signals confirming what is interesting, boring, exciting etc. What is perhaps meant as a sign of benevolent interest, may be received by the ‘talker’ as something she should elaborate on. Obviously we cannot not touch the one we talk to with our nonverbal responses. However, I am reminded by what Meercat mentions here, how little it takes to change the direction of a conversation.