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29 March 2012

Putting your foot in it ~ Thursday Thoughts

You know that feeling when you suddenly realise you've put your foot in it?
We all do it, we mean to be helpful, supportive, or just plain offer what seem good ideas - and end up realising that your number 9 boot has squidged in a cow-pat again.
My problem is, I get carried away. Something interests me, I offer to help - and the help escalates to making suggestions (meant to be helpful, and my own view of things) but the person I'm suggesting things to takes my contribution as being bossy, flatly disagrees with what I've said, indicates that I don't know what I'm talking about, and I realise I would have been better off keeping my mouth shut. Result, shattered confidence, a few tears and a feeling of being an unwanted twit.

Now, is this a phenomenon of e-mail I wonder?
I never had this problem when Chair of the local dyslexia association, or sorting out problems for people who wanted sorting out. So is it because tone, facial expression - and general good intent - is not conveyed as it should be via the 'net?

I like helping, I like being involved. I don't much like being thought of as bossy.
Where does bossiness start and just trying to offer friendly help end? Fine line between the two maybe?
Thing is, more often than not my viewpoint turns out to be right. Which is why I suggested the suggestion in the first place. And I wish people wouldn't ask for advice if they didn't actually want it!

Oh well, think I'll just go shut myself in my office and mind my own for a bit.
(hangs sign on door - "feeling sorry for myself. Come back tomorrow")


  1. I'm totally in love with that bear!

  2. It's weird, but people get mad even when opinions aren't expressed sometimes.

    And if the person is a good friend (I'm assuming this was some sort of friend?) then they'll forgive you and you two will forget this whole thing ever happened.

  3. Carolyn - isn't he lovely? My daughter and I bought each other bears when we had a house fire (caused by the flat upstairs) my daughters bedroom was almost completely destroyed - thank goodness she wasn't in bed at the time. His bed ended up (burning) on her bed. It still gives me nightmares) I digress... anyway we bought each other bears because we saw these lovely, cuddly soft bears, with beautiful faces. Mine is called Munter after the fantastic company who helped us salvage what we could. Their representative was a lovely man - so comforting, and so full of wise advice!
    The bear above is only an image found on the 'net. I really MUST get my camera sorted out! LOL

    In this instance, E.B. Black it wasn't a friend, just someone I know, but it has happened with a friend in the past. We've not been friends for years now, a shame but if that person had been a true friend then the friendship would not have parted company in the way it did.
    I suppose, to sum up, people only hear what they want to hear, and get angry when they hear something different.
    Here's the rub though - is it me getting angry because I'm not hearing what I want to hear - or the other person?
    I reckon you are right about the security / insecurity. And maybe its not me being the insensitive one, because I'm questioning my reactions. Dogmatic people who are convinced they are the ones in the right (or the ones who have been wronged) never even consider they might have put their foot in it do they? Its always the other person who is wrong.

  4. Did the person ask you for your opinion or did you just take upon yourself to give it? Was the person offering their work for you to read and you decided you could improve upon it on your own? You stated that your suggestions are usually correct. Perhaps it is statements like that make you seem to come off arrogant? I don't know either one of you but you sound a bit scorned because you offered your thoughts and suggestions to someone who either didn't want them or didn't like how you presented them.

    You also said this has happened in the past even with a "friend" perhaps you should look within yourself to see why people find you offensive.

  5. Hello Anonymous - no the incident was nothing to do with my profession as a writer, and yes, I was asked for an opinion - and in the environment I was referring to (which is personal, hence I am not giving details) I have usually been right because I am almost 60 years old and have "been there, done that, made those mistakes already".

    I think its called wisdom, not arrogance.

    And yes, I always look within myself to see if I handled the situation wrong - and more often than not I find areas where I could have handled answers/responses better. If I am wrong, I usually apologise - if the person affected is worth apologising to. Some people, however, are so blatantly rude and offensive they do not deserve a response.

    In this instance, I was asked for suggestions, gave my opinion and the person responded with rudeness because they were not the suggestions they wanted.

    I am as capable as the next person of being over confident, which can, unfortunately, and unintentionally, come across as arrogance - but where is the line between arrogance and sharing gained knowledge?
    In the line of my profession (writing) there is a quote I often use: "Being published does not make me an expert, but experience has shown me how not to do it". I have found from experience that authors who ask for advice and then respond with irritation do not want advice - they want praise. What is the point in saying something is good, when it is riddled with flaws? How does that help an aspiring author write well?

    My fault is that I enjoy helping people, I like being involved, I like helping sort out muddles. Most people are grateful, because they know I am helping because I care - if I didn't care I wouldn't be helping in the first place, would I?What I occasionally get wrong is that sometimes the other person doesn't want to be sorted out. I miss the cue and don't pay attention to those two little words "back off".
    I don't think that is arrogance, its misjudgement.


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