Hello everyone. My name is Doooh and I’m… a Filter.

WikiDictionary defines filter as:

filter (plural filters)

1. A device which separates a suspended, dissolved, or particulate matter from a fluid, solution, or other substance; any device that separates one substance from another.
2. Electronics or software that separates unwanted signals (for example noise) from wanted signals or that attenuates selected frequencies.
3. Any item, mechanism, device or procedure that acts to separate or isolate.
* He runs an email filter to catch the junk mail.

As humans, in our day to day communications with people, we have somehow, each, individually created a filter within us. We listen to other people, extract bits and pieces and put what we hear back together in a form that is easier for us to understand. Sometimes its just a matter of rearranging the information into a different form for understanding, other times its literally a filter of the information. We leave out what we think is not necessary. During the listening process we determine the point that is trying to be made, we extract all of the bits and pieces then put it all back together in our heads, leaving out what we think is not necessary for the end point of the conversation. Its the basis for the “broken telephone” game played when we were kids. Whisper something into a person’s ear and have each person whisper what they hear to the next person and so on until the end where what that last person heard is typically completely different than what was original whispered.

We all have examples of when we “filter” other people. A nagging spouse, or perhaps a rude boss or coworker. The list goes on. It can happen consciously or unconsciously. We lose interest and/or focus on something else. If you’re good in those situations you can still come up with the main point but for the minute details of what was being said to you, they’re lost. At best the only thing you’re left with is the actual point of the conversation minus all of the details.

We all have seen when other people have “filtered” us. You can see their expression change. Their eyes kind of gloss over and their attention changes. They become distracted and start fidgeting or some people just overtly look away and perhaps even move away and start doing something else while trying to ensure you that they’re listening, when indeed they’re not.

Is everyone’s “filter” the same? Do we all filter in the same way? Do we filter out the same stuff? What determines who filters what? Is it interest? Is it a person’s focus? I don’t know, but one thing I do know is that we all don’t filter the same things in the same way at the same time. We all “filter”, but what we filter is different in all of us and when we filter is also different and perhaps more determined by situation than purely by content. Discussing the prices of houses may be a topic for filtering by someone when a hockey game is on tv.

So big deal, whats my point? My point is that we’re all the same when it comes to filtering, in that we all do it depending on circumstance. So why is it some of us also have to think they’re the only ones who notice when other people are filtering them out and think that they’re the only ones who are allowed to do it? I know I do it and for the most part I know when I’m doing it, but I also recognize when other people are doing it to me. Do I get annoyed? Perhaps, but if I do it to other people, in my mind it has to be acceptable for someone to do it to me.

So why can’t others feel the same way?

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