Apparently, I’m wearing cranky pants, today. It’s challenging to me, because I know I’m wearing a skirt, but I can tell by the reaction of people around me that I seem harsh to them. My immediate response to this is to feel apologetic, but when I look back at what I said, I wonder about it. In one case, someone asked me to meet later this month on Wednesday, the 24th. I mentioned that the 24th is Tuesday, but said I was available either day at the proposed time. The response was “Oh my.” I’m not sure what about that would have been harsh, but it seemed to be received that way.
The second one, I understand better why the person who overheard it thought I was being harsh— I had some uncomfortable things to say, but I made sure that the person I was addressing understood that I was challenging the process, not the person. I repeated my appreciation for the person and my commitment to the system we’re both in, but raised concerns about the process.
In my mind, I was being direct— I’d rather tell the person now, honestly, what would make me cease to participate, going forward, so that we can get past it. And I know the person who overheard is indirect in her communication, and comfortable with saying things behind backs and under breath, hoping for change. I’ve come to believe it’s better to look someone in the eye and say the thing you know they’re not going to want to hear, if it means that you have the hope of resolving the issue. And that either way, it’s more consistent with who I want to be, to be direct and honest, and not talk behind someone’s back. I had a boss, several years ago, and you never had to wonder where you stood with him. It took awhile to get used to that, but I came to really appreciate that style, because it’s much less work when you don’t have to wonder where you stand with someone.
Do we think that my directness is mostly off-putting because I’m a woman, or do we think that there’s a strong possibility (I’ve published a few other posts today— you should be able to establish a sense for whether I’m just being crabby and tone deaf about it) that my pants are crankier than I think?