Talking to a guy calling himself 'truth' at a party, I came up with a name for a typical characteristic of human interaction.

When you meet someone you don't really know all that well and you're required, say because of social obligations, to start up a conversation, typically what you'll talk about will be 'small, unimportant, things'. Examples are 'Nice weather today, eh?' or 'Were you able to find the place well enough?'. The information exchanged is not really important for its content. However, it's a form of testing the water, understanding how the other reacts, understanding more about the individual you're forced to talk to. In other words, it's a beginning of establishing common ground. Common ground for building up a real conversation, following this testing of the waters or at a later time.

Modems, the hardware computers use to talk to each other, have to establish contact before they can start talking. They do this by starting with sending out very simple messages, waiting for the other party to acknowledge these simple messages before sending out more complex messages and, finally, really starting the communication. This process is called 'handshaking'.

I pose that the basic conversations people strike up when they don't really know each other but start to talk is also a handshaking process. However, this one is to establish to what extent more complex conversations can be held later on. It is a test to what extent the individuals involved in the communication are 'compatible'.

I would like to call this process an emotional handshake.

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