Often in life things don’t go the way we want them to, whether it’s people who don’t cooperate or just objects, like printers that don’t work just when we really need them to print off an urgent document. When these obstacles seem unreasonable, or illogical, after several tries to make it work . . . so frustrating! So how can we recognize frustration in another person?

Holly is talking about something she’s trying to do, but hasn’t succeeded with so far. We can see signs of pent up anger as she describes her frustrating experience. She shakes her head rapidly from side to side and her gaze shifts restlessly to her left, to John, and then away again. Her gaze at John is direct and her eyes widen to show her surprise.

Notice that she pulls back her head and juts out her chin defiantly, as if ready for a fight (which is how many of us feel in frustration, when we just can’t get that ‘simple’ task done).

Signs to note

  • gazes to the side, turns and looks at John
  • then looks away again
  • shakes her head rapidly
  • pulls her head back and juts out her chin
  • looks at John and eyes widen

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By John Habershon

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