The Civilized Minute

a minute of manners and musings

Are you savvy with your sunglasses?


Sunglasses are an important part of expressing your character through fashion. Small round spectacles hint at a groovy sense of pacifism. Oversized ultra-dark shades are a nod at the iconic Jackie O’s unforgettable sense of style. And Mirrored aviators take us right back to flight school in the eighties.

In this way, sunglasses are also an important part of getting the sense of a time and place. However, the only time and place for shades to be worn inside is one occupied by Goose, Maverick, and Ghost Rider. Nobody’s future is that bright!

Make sure that you’re using yours to shade your eyes, and not your personality. So much of our expressiveness is conveyed through our eyes. Jokes are more humorous, sarcasm is more clearly understood and sincerity is more evident.

Sunglasses also pose a more direct barrier to our communication prowess.

It’s hard to talk to someone if they are wearing their sunglasses because you can’t tell if they are listening.  Nor can you tell if they’re even interested in what you are saying. Consider the silent messages you send with your eyes … messages that require the subtlety of a non-verbal delivery. Glances beyond the talker’s shoulder means I’ve spotted someone I need to get to, so wrap it up.  Glances downward mean I’m not here for the duration, so let’s get through the pleasantries so I can move on.  With your sunglasses on, you can’t send these messages at all. 

On the other hand, there are times when sunglasses can be used to create a sense of mystery, power, or flirtation. But those types of messages are more suited to The Cabana than the Conference Room.

So pick out the perfect pair! Just know when to hold ‘em. And when to fold ‘em.


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