Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur is a vibrant, boisterous and interesting place, with Little India occupying a enviable place. The pedestrians move in a trance in between the restaurants and moving traffic. The traffic signal for the foot soldiers walking to the main road is an on-demand one, where one presses the button to activate the red light. I use the facility frequently wary that the oncoming traffic might not always stop at the red, either because they don’t notice the red light or not notice me impatiently waiting for my right of way. I tried imagining myself standing there with a obvious camera. Na. My thoughts was disturbed when my daughter worded my thoughts then, If we stood alongside uniformed policeman, who also waited to cross, will the traffic stop then?!

I started observing that every human interaction is not on equal or flat ground. There is an attempt to establish superiority by either in the interaction and always only one is superior in any human interaction. Oren Klaff  calls this as collision of frames. The collision happens the moment we engage with another human being with the stronger frame overpowering the weaker frame. There is no truce but trouncing and trampling. The victor sets the tone of the interaction.

I work with students in my role as a teacher and my belief was that the teacher is always the victor in any student interaction. I was soon proved wrong. Jestin (name changed) is a year 5 student. I have noticed him for being always on the right side of all his lecturers and friends. It was obvious. He interacted with me with most humility, was clear in his requests. I wondered if there was any clash of frames with Jestin. I realised that he could set my mood and pace in the interaction.  Though I was the higher in hierarchy, yet Jestin was setting the stage and agenda for the conversation.

Who sets the stage in your interaction? Whose frame is stronger? 

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