CounselorBarb™ has just advised this engineer that he should have defined the term “normal” that was used in the prior post’s step 3:
“ET Step 3: Challenge Assumptions: Be willing to adjust your views and lower your expectations if you find that your roommate’s behavior is more normal than you think it is.”
Barb points out that the word “normal” may imply judgment regarding behavior. In engineering the term “normal” refers generally to an average condition, with no judgment implied. Since an objective of Engineering Thinking is to remove or reduce emotional influences, Barb’s point is a good one.
It is indeed important to use terms that do not imply guilt/innocence or other pre-judgments of a situation, otherwise a discussion may go off track before it really gets started; e.g. “Fred, I’ve researched your underwear-dropping habit and it’s just not normal.” As opposed to, “Fred, I’ve researched your underwear-dropping habit and it’s not one that’s shared by most of the population.”