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Sometimes it's not about intent, it's about perception & understanding - The Autobiography of Russell
Life from a different perspective
zimzat
zimzat
Sometimes it's not about intent, it's about perception & understanding
Recently, upon trying to convey how I feel, I've had different people tell me that they didn't think they were X, which in itself belays the problem.

Quite often, and this is something I've run into a lot myself, it's not about how you perceive yourself or your actions, but how the other person perceives you. While we shouldn't let what other people might think stop us from doing something, that doesn't mean we should be oblivious to our impact on others. We can only continue to relate to a person if we understand how they feel. If we're not willing to accept that this is how they felt, and potentially do something about it, then we've come to an impasse on interacting with this person. Rather than try to understand how they reached they conclusion, and why, we've essentially said their feelings are invalid and irrelevant, which in turn very likely says they are irrelevant.

Even something as simple as "I may not agree with you, but I understand how you reached that conclusion" would go a long way toward bridging differences, but additionally "in the future I'll be [xyz (e.g. more explicit, more attentive, etc)]" may be the difference between parting ways, or a luke-warm acquaintance, instead of close ties and better understanding.

If you were to ask any of my previous co-workers or managers you would find this is something I've struggled with quite a bit myself, so I understand what it means to be in that place, and have learned to accept that regardless of how I may think I'm being, the end result may be far from it (especially when it comes to text-only communications).

Current Mood: pensive pensive

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Comments
mai_neh From: mai_neh Date: July 23rd, 2012 08:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've had to work very hard at finding ways to acknowledge what Tod is saying before attempting to trump him with my own views. It has been difficult because I often think his feelings are based on faulty memories or complete misunderstandings. So my default reaction is, "You shouldn't feel that way, blah blah blah," which drives him up the wall.

It is difficult to say with a straight face, "I understand where you are coming from, Tod," when I don't. But it helps a lot.
zimzat From: zimzat Date: July 23rd, 2012 08:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Agreed, it can be hard to acknowledge where someone else is coming from while still not changing your own opinion or view.

From what you've just said you probably could understand where Tod is coming from based on what he says he's coming from, but this sounds more like a factual issue than a different perception of the same facts (e.g. un-emotive text). That would drive me up the wall, when someone calls into question my memory of events. I know I have a really good memory and, more often than not, astonish people with random recall of conversations or events that they're not sure about, so when someone says things happened one way and I'm sure they didn't in that order then it drives me up the wall. I've had this happen to me a couple of times from the same person and I started seriously questioning our relationship.
legolastn From: legolastn Date: July 23rd, 2012 10:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, this is a tough one.

Allen has a trigger for me not listening - sometimes I haven't been, sometimes I just misunderstand or don't remember or he doesn't remember correctly. I have a trigger for him misremembering - sometimes he does or has misunderstood something or sometimes it's me that doesn't remember. Fun stuff. :P But we always do best when we couch things in "I feel..." and trying to reflect back what the other person is saying, rather than dismissing, whether it's around these "triggers" or other things. Whenever information only travels in one direction it's frustrating. I'm not sure there's a way to deal with it other than modeling it and/or outright pointing out what you've done here - saying something like, "I realize you may not see it that way, I'm just explaining where I'm coming from/how this came across to me/etc."
zimzat From: zimzat Date: July 23rd, 2012 10:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
The "I feel..." is how I've tried to model personal relationship issues, as often the source of those issues is how I feel. For business related things I try to remember to us "we" rather than "I" and avoid "you". I also try to approach things as suggestions rather than demands or statement of fact, although that has backfired on me a number of times.

If I'm not sure about my own memory, even a little, then I say "I'm not sure" or something to that effect, rather than stating it like a matter of fact. The biggest misunderstanding probably comes when someone isn't sure about something but still states it like it's fact or written in stone. I can't remember where it was I read or heard this, but someone trying to screw with your memory is one of the signs of a potentially abusive relationship, and repeatedly saying things didn't happen the way you know they happened was a sign of that. So that's got me wary on that front.

If I had any desire to keep associating with the people who had done it to me I would've responded to them what you've said last, but I don't so maybe I'm doing them a disservice by not saying it anyway, but I'd rather just cut them out.

Edited at 2012-07-23 10:55 pm (UTC)
zimzat From: zimzat Date: July 23rd, 2012 10:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
On a different note, what in the world is wrong with LJ's comment form? I'm not choosing the Apache icon, yet nothing I do is changing it from that one. Bad LJ, bad.
legolastn From: legolastn Date: July 23rd, 2012 11:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I dunno, perhaps it's been switched out to the default or something?
legolastn From: legolastn Date: July 23rd, 2012 11:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, if you are just done with the people anyways it hardly seems worth the effort.
sisyphus238 From: sisyphus238 Date: July 24th, 2012 12:21 am (UTC) (Link)
someone trying to screw with your memory is one of the signs of a potentially abusive relationship

Potentially abusive?! Unless it's a good friend in a moment of jest, I'd say that's already abuse; nothing potential about it, and definite grounds for avoidance.
zimzat From: zimzat Date: July 24th, 2012 12:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, grammar and getting words and intent in the right order. :-P

I meant that to mean that if you feel like your memory is being played with then they may be abusive, but proving they are trying to do it isn't always a black or white case. It may just happen that way a time or two, but if it happens more than a few times in a short period of time then it is more-than-likely intentional or at least abusive.

Make better sense? :-)
sisyphus238 From: sisyphus238 Date: July 24th, 2012 12:54 am (UTC) (Link)
It made sense the first time. It seems like a malicious act to mess with one like that, again unless it's just a misunderstanding, but if it continually happens, someone's playing games.
zimzat From: zimzat Date: July 24th, 2012 01:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Agreed, agreed. That someone could do something like that intentionally is strange, a huge red flag, and very sad.

In reference to my example, after it happened a couple of times I told myself if that happened again it was time to call it quits, but it didn't so I never had to make good on that promise to myself. But it definitely put a strain on things.
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