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Cupid
08-04-2011, 05:55 PM
Okay, I know not everyone can like you or want to be friends, but it seems to me that I am misunderstood a lot, from the why I word my emails (at work) to my relationships with friends and family. People just take me the wrong way -- a lot.

Just the other day at work, I got verbally attacked by one of the secretaries who didn't like the way I worded an email and said that I came across as a bitch. I was taken aback by this and told her outright that I thought it was professional worded (we work in a professional office). Now the support staff (of which I am one) are not speakign to me because this secretary got her feelings hurt, I guess.

And my marriage has fallen apart, by kids take things the wrong way, but I do not think I am this bad person that I am accused of being. I actually think I have a good heart and am a good person.

Do you ever get that feeling that you are misunderstood so much in life that it makes life difficult?

PDilemma
08-04-2011, 06:20 PM
Yes.

Are you introverted? Because I have realized that a lot of it has to do with being an introvert. Especially in the workplace.

And some of it for me has to do with not fitting in traditional boxes in the sort of workplace cultures I have been in where everyone was supposed to fit in a certain place. I was the drama teacher, so I couldn't watch/enjoy sports, for example. Except that I like theater and sports.

Cachoo
08-04-2011, 06:20 PM
Twice now I have received angry emails from close friends who thought my email to them was somehow attacking them and I was not--or didn't think I was. I was flabbergasted but looking at my emails now I see how they could have been misconstrued. I try to avoid any controversial subjects in emails now.

BigB08822
08-04-2011, 06:33 PM
Sorry, Cupid. I know this has happened to me before, I am sure it has happened to everyone at some point, but I don't think it happens very often to me. However, I do know a couple of people who have this happen to them a lot. If I am to be blunt, they simply seem ignorant when it comes to their words and actions. They don't realize that what they are saying is rude or hurtful. I can't tell you why, most people would never say such things, but they do and continue to do it all the time. I know they mean no harm because their reactions are of genuine shock and confusion. Maybe in the future you could run by important emails to a friend who will be honest with you about whether it comes off rudely? I know this is not always an option for many reasons but it could be a little help from time to time. Do you think it could be possible that your coworkers don't like you for other reasons and they just find any excuse to continue not liking you? In other words, maybe it isn't about the email at all?

FigureSpins
08-04-2011, 06:36 PM
I usually write the word "not" in capital letters when it really matters. As in "The system will NOT save your logon information, so you will have to re-enter it each time." Some people will take offense at that, but they're usually insecure or unhappy staffers in general. I've learned to add a footnote to stroke them the right way, for example: "This is a canned response, I'm sure you can appreciate why the system deletes your logon info after each use." A wink often helps, too.

There are people who look to be offended at all times, and they often get their wish.
You just have to deal with their drama.

On the other hand, sometimes people are genuinely offended - I joined a website mailing list geared towards younger skaters. One of the messages from the site said they were "pimping their website." I can't pass a message like that along to another parent. Yet, other people felt it was fine to use that word. So, context and audience are really important.

Cupid
08-04-2011, 06:54 PM
. . . Do you think it could be possible that your coworkers don't like you for other reasons and they just find any excuse to continue not liking you? In other words, maybe it isn't about the email at all?

Absolutely. When I first started working here, I tried to be very professional and helpful. Well, one of the secretaries took advantage of that and tried to sneak in her work in my stack and it took about a week for me to figure out it was her ( and not the boss). When I confronted her on it, she didn't know what to say. Kind of escalated downhill from there with the younger set.

GarrAarghHrumph
08-04-2011, 07:27 PM
Cupid, if you're noticing a pattern of being misunderstood throughout different situations, such as at work and at home; and if you find you offend people often, and that leads to destroyed relationships, then there's something going on with your communication style. You may not be intending to offend people, but if this happens again and again, then it's something about how you're coming across.

You say you're seeing a pattern, and so something is wrong. And it's severe enough that it's impacting your ability to live your life as you wish to. That means it's something you may want to address. And since it's really hard for any of us to really see ourselves clearly, it may be helpful to get some outside help.

Do you have a mentor - someone at work or in your outside life that you know and can trust to be honest with you? Someone who you can perhaps work with, who honestly would tell you what you're doing wrong? Someone like a boss, or another person more senior than you at work, or a priest/rabbi. Or do you have the money for a counsellor/therapist? Sometimes, you need someone impartial, someone other than yourself, who can work closely with to help you think through your approach to situations.

Cupid
08-04-2011, 07:46 PM
This happens primarily at work and with family. My friends rare have this problem with me.

I try to be tactful at all time, but sometimes I guess I'm not. Also, seems like a lot of people are very thin-skinned and can they hold a grudge forever. Me, I'm just the opposite. Normally, I let things just run off my back and forget about it.

FigureSpins
08-04-2011, 07:53 PM
Make an email folder called "Documentation" and put her emails into them. This way, they're out of your regular inbox so you won't see them. It really helps make nastygrams easier to deal with if they're not in your face. Just hang onto them.

If she actually used the word "bitch," rehearse this speech for the next encounter:

"I will try to make my emails more warm and fuzzy, but my style is more stiff and professional. HOwever, calling me foul names is unprofessional and hostile."

If she asks what you're going to do about it, just tell her to knock it off or she'll find out.
If she continues to harrass you, send copies of the emails to HR and ask for an appointment to discuss the situation.


As for the original problem, what about taking a communications or interpersonal skills workshop? I've been to some wonderful seminars that gave me tactics to deal with different types of people and really opened my eyes to what others see.

Cupid
08-04-2011, 08:32 PM
Thanks for the advice. I'm not even going to try with these co-workers anymore though. From now on, it's just going to be professional contact with them, only. No more small talk or pleasantries from me. I really tried with them, but they have this gang mentality of let's hate "Cupid and jump all over any mistakes she makes, no matter how minor they are."

I'm one of the oldest workers in this office, and definitely the oldest female. There is another older worker, one of the professionals who happens to be my supervisor, and he tells me that nobody makes an effort to engage him in social pleasantries either. If he doesn't make the effort to talk with them, then there's no talking at all. He feels they just can't relate to him because of the age difference, and he's a very nice person.

luna_skater
08-04-2011, 09:22 PM
Simple, but effective: "Kill them with kindness." The more professional, mature, and nice you are to them, the more idiotic they'll feel, eventually. Don't engage in wars with them, and don't give them any ammo against you.

I agree with tracking written communication, but remember--they can save anything you write to them, too.

I also like the suggestions of finding a mentor, taking a course, or simply running your emails by someone else for a second opinion. If a message isn't time sensitive, it can help to write it one day, sleep on it, and then re-read it the next day before sending.

Bev Johnston
08-04-2011, 09:31 PM
I'm one of the oldest workers in this office, and definitely the oldest female. There is another older worker, one of the professionals who happens to be my supervisor, and he tells me that nobody makes an effort to engage him in social pleasantries either. If he doesn't make the effort to talk with them, then there's no talking at all. He feels they just can't relate to him because of the age difference, and he's a very nice person.

Sometimes it's not so bad to be ignored at the office. I don't get asked to lunch, and sometimes go weeks without anyone really saying much to me. Do I mind? Heck no! The last thing I want to do is get caught up in my co-worker's petty politics and drama. My boss and his boss like my work and that's all I care about. Am I courteous to these people? Of course. But I sure don't feel bad about being "left out".

ks777
08-05-2011, 04:06 AM
I actually think I have a good heart and am a good person.


Well, if you were all of those then people would like you? Just saying.

Japanfan
08-05-2011, 05:20 AM
As for the original problem, what about taking a communications or interpersonal skills workshop? I've been to some wonderful seminars that gave me tactics to deal with different types of people and really opened my eyes to what others see.

Probably wouldn't hurt. However, I have found that thinking about people's reactions to what I say has, or worrying about how I say certain things or what I say, has led me to just want to not be around people much. I used to be very blunt and often tactless and tried to work on the tactlessness. And I remember when a cousin of mine pointed out that you need to focus on what people don't say, rather than what they do say. Once I started thinking about that I felt like I was constantly playing mind games. And being around people became a whole lot of work and I had to be continually self-censoring.

In truth, I used to have a lot more fun and be much more genuine when I was blunt, honest and tactless.

MacMadame
08-05-2011, 05:49 AM
It sounds to me like you have a low EQ. But you can learn those skills even if they don't come naturally. What I did was think of people as these foreign creatures to be studied in order to understand them. It helped a lot.

The other things is: email is tricky. Look at the link in my signature. Email confuses people and they misread it all the time. So just be very, very careful in email and put in the extra effort to make sure your intent is clear.