Last week, my OfficeMate was getting frustrated again. Yes, again, and no, I’m not really surprised by this. This time, it was about having to type up a long list of questions to answer about a project. I suggested that he ask the secretary or the file clerk if they have time to help him with that. He immediately dismissed that as saying that he doesn’t have the authority to ask them that. I replied by asking what he’s got to lose by asking if they can do it.
As luck would have it, minutes later the file clerk arrived at our door to talk about the upcoming company picnic. OfficeMate says in a joking way, “Anne says you need to help me type this stuff.” Understandably, the clerk is not at all clear what he’s talking about, and he continues to skirt around the real issue by rambling that he has to answer all these questions about a job. But he never actually asks her to help type them.
The subject changes to the picnic, and she leaves. He grumbles to me, “What did I tell you? THAT went over well.” I said, “The way you said it, she thought you were kidding, like you tend to do about things.”
It’s hardly fair – not to mention pretty pointless – to get angry with people for not reading your mind, yes?
Along that line, I did write to my boyfriend about the falling-asleep-looking-at-pictures thing that I mentioned in the previous entry. As planned, I admitted to him that I guess I kept bringing it up because it hurt my feelings. He wrote back that he wished he was “less tired more often.”
My big gripe before was that, to me, his falling asleep while I was talking tells me that he’s truly not interested in what I say. Him trying to joke and blame his job for it before only made it worse to me (although I didn’t tell him that part) because it shows that he truly just doesn’t get it.
Then it occurred to me that this must be one of those common occurrences where two people simply see things a different way. I mean, I’m thinking, “How am I supposed to interpret his actions as anything but a lack of interest?!” On the other hand, his interest (or lack of) may never have even entered his mind as a reason for the sleep. He just thinks, “I was tired because of the weird hours I work. Therefore, I fell asleep.”
Um, what was that about anger due to not reading your mind? Um, yeah. In my defense, I don’t think I was expecting him to read my mind … well, not completely. I did venture to say before that I found his falling sleeping rude, and that’s when he said that he blamed his job. In any event, thinking of his attitude as merely a different way of seeing the situation – and not an attempt to slight me – makes me feel a bit better about the whole incident.
I plan to share this revelation with him when I next see him. I would only hesitate to do so because I feel that whenever I say something that could be taken to mean that I was irrational, he thinks I’m admitting I was wrong and therefore dismisses all my concern, and thus the vicious cycle of miscommunication continues. I’m not saying I was wrong, because I still think that lack of interest *did* contribute to the falling asleep. I’m just recognizing that two people saw a situation two different ways. Hopefully, if we can both see that – and keep it in mind for when it happens again.