Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Logical insensitivity

So I’m realizing more and more how poor my communication skills are. Not to fret, as the Lord doesn’t overlook anything. Today produced a good example of a tidy learning lesson.

One of my responsibilities at work is to go to the post office and pickup our PO Box mail. I was out sick yesterday. This morning, my co-worker apologized for not getting the mail, citing her full schedule. I only go Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. So, naturally, my response was a rather terse (to the outside viewer…you know, not me) “Yesterday was Tuesday.” (It was logical to me, and I didn’t understand why she didn’t realize this. I wasn’t upset, though, in the least…honestly). Pause. “Steve only wants me to go Monday, Wednesday, Friday.” And…successful completion of making yet another person feel like they’re stupid. Of course, this wasn’t voiced, but I was able to see the conversation from her view.

For years I have been (rightfully) accused of flaunting my intelligence and elaborately explaining things as an attempt to do so. As a way to compensate, I have tried to not “lay it all out” but rather give pieces of information and let the person figure it out themselves, lest I be accused of cranial flexing (okay, I couldn’t resist that one). And that seems to have resulted in scenarios such as the one above, where I don’t exhibit my own, but rather insult the other’s intelligence. There are times when another person’s thinking confuses me and far too often I let my logical mind steer my tongue; my friends and family know this all too well. Sadly enough, when I said the terse part, I was thinking in my mind “This is good news.” But it didn’t come across that way.

Shortly after the exchange (I think as I was walking away) I thought of the words I wished I’d used, something like “Oh, not a problem. Steve has only wanted me to go three days a week, so it works out…no harm!”

Perhaps the true success part of the story is that this came to mind rather quickly, as opposed to not at all or far later on. The next step will be, you know, actual implementation :)

I’m grateful for all of you who have put up with me throughout the years. Assuredly at the top of the list is my mother, who’s had 22 wonderful years of this (I’m assuming I developed terseness at birth). I started to write this post as a way to express a learning experience, but now it’s starting to feel like a solicitation for empathy. Better stop this now.

Prov 11:12 “A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue.”

Prov 12:18 “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

Prov 17:28 “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.”

Prov 21:23 “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.”

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