Ever Think About How People Read You?

First of all, I know it has been about a week. But I haven’t felt that well. I mentioned in my last post that I was having neck issues, and I still am, among other issues. I think I have to find time to see a doctor.

So, there were a lot of problems today at work. Several people at work showed up today to find their email not working properly. Some of us were warned yesterday, so I knew it wouldn’t work unless I changed my email settings. I did that yesterday. There were still problems throughout the day, but at least I wasn’t blindsided like a lot of people were. It’s just another one of those examples of how maddeningly disorganized/un-communicative/fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants my place of employment is.

The female tech geek I work with and have been writing about works by herself for a while in the morning, so when she came in she didn’t know that about the email issues and couldn’t access her email. Apparently, she called our supervisor about it. Our supervisor asked me after FTG left work if FTG’s email was working by the time I got in. I told her, “I guess so.”

Our supervisor looked kind of surprised that was my response.

“She didn’t say anything to you about it?”

I responded, “[FTG] and I don’t talk to each other.” And I’m sure I sounded kind of…well, let’s put it this way: that I have my issues with her wasn’t hidden that well.

One of the guys responded that there’s too much estrogen in the room. But at various points, I have talked to each guy about FTG. Recently, I had spoken with the afternoon tech geek about how when I try to talk to FTG she usually either barely says anything or doesn’t say anything at all. So, I reminded him that we’d just talked about that and I let my supervisor know this. One of the field techs also recently talked about how he blocked FTG on IM because of how she IMs the guys there “yelling” at them about things, i.e. all caps and, I guess, just other clues that she’s not happy. I burst out laughing when he was talking about that, just thinking about what I wrote about in my last post. I didn’t tell the guys what happened between us, but we talked about how she IMs people. And I mentioned that to my supervisor as well, i.e. how she acts like she can’t speak to me and we can be the only people around but she’s IMing me.

My supervisor basically said the same thing a few other people have told me–FTG is like that with everyone. She even does something similar to the IM thing with our supervisor, apparently. And my supervisor said that sometimes it’s important that FTG communicate with other people there. Um, yeah–I know. Like I wrote before on this blog–I figured my supervisor pretty much already knows exactly what everyone there is like, what everyone does and what everyone doesn’t do, and I think this gave a certain level of validation to that idea.

But my supervisor also defended FTG…by saying she’s very shy.

Huh?

Is that true? It doesn’t always seem like that’s quite what the deal is. If I were shy, I can’t imagine that I’d essentially jump on almost every opportunity to solve client issues, which means interacting with those clients, i.e. answering the phone before everyone else has a chance to and stealing tickets right from other workers. That’s what she does. I also can’t imagine lasting in a job like ours for close to a decade being shy. I would be surprised if I am still working where I currently work a year from now because of the fact that I have to deal with so many people. I am not sure I totally see how she could be shy.

Look, I basically have social anxiety disorder. It’s not the same thing as being shy, but in many people who have it others mistake it for being shy. And some people with social anxiety disorder do allow it to make them act shy around other people. Recently, I have learned that social anxiety affects me in a variety of ways, but, no question, it only seriously affects me in two ways: 1) excessive perfectionism and 2) dating. And even then, the perfectionism aspect is the much bigger problem. Everything I do has to be right all the time, and I spend way too much time, thought, energy and feeling on that. Clearly, it is a big problem at work. I probably never would have noticed it otherwise, because I usually am very good at things I do. Up until the last four years, I was mainly in school, and I was always great at school. I had issues with perfectionism in school, but, except for some of my time in law school, it never made me unhappy anywhere near as much as it does now that I work because it’s far more of a struggle to be good at my jobs. I don’t like people to see me struggling or screwing shit up, and it causes me a lot of anxiety.

But dealing with people other than that, I think, is less about social anxiety and more about just flatout not liking people. It’s definitely not about being shy. I don’t feel shy around other people. I just usually have no desire to talk to them. I was shy when I was a kid, so I know the difference. It’s not the same feeling. Back then, I used to care if people didn’t talk to me or want to be friends with me. That stopped being an issue a long, long time ago. There are many people I know who are okay, but there are few I actually like. And even if I like someone, it takes two to make a friendship or a relationship. I have no real relationship with most people whom I like. I like two of the guys at work. I like my ex-girlfriend. But I hardly interact with these people. There are guys at work who say they hate people, but they have all these friends they hang out with, and one of them has a girlfriend. So, I can’t take them seriously. I genuinely leave people alone and want most of them to leave me alone.

I’m bringing all these things up for several reasons:

1) I said that being shy and having social anxiety disorder aren’t the same thing. And being shy and not liking people aren’t the same thing. But I don’t think most people understand that, in part because they can only go by the behavior they see. In a lot of ways, the behaviors are the same in all three of these kind of people. But I think shy people just don’t know how to talk to other people.

2) People who don’t talk to other people, regardless of the reason why, are judged negatively. I probably quit trying to talk to other people out of just being sick of people vs being shy back in junior high or high school. That’s when people started wanting to talk to me, especially in high school. That’s also when I started learning that people get ideas about you that don’t match reality. That happens to a certain extent with everyone, but with quiet people others almost never just read being quiet as someone being shy, liking to be alone, sick of bullshit or having something like social anxiety disorder. For years, I’ve gotten stuff like “quiet people cause the most trouble,” “I thought you were stuck up when I first met you” and different variations of just people thinking I’m racist, including towards my own race. Nowadays, I know that people are interpreting my lack of interaction as something other than what it is, and whenever it comes up I usually just flatout tell people that I don’t like people. It’s pretty much always guys who bring it up, and guys never seem to have a problem with my saying that.

3) Because people draw conclusions about other people based on interactions or lack of interactions and behavior–and those conclusions are wrong a lot of the time–it occurs to me that FTG could be shy and it just didn’t/doesn’t come off like that to me. I can be just like everyone else in terms of how they read shy people…although I think, for me, my issue is not that she doesn’t communicate but, rather, that she doesn’t communicate enough about the work when it’s necessary.

4) On that note…I mentioned some sentences ago that I, at some point, quit trying to talk to other people. Outside of important information needed to get our jobs done, I am perfectly fine if people there don’t want to communicate with me. I am also fine if people there are too shy to communicate with me. But just because someone is shy, that doesn’t mean I’m going to pick up the ball and go out of my way. That might sound mean, but, because of how I am, I can’t do that. If someone thinks that means I don’t like them…

5) I just think it’s funny how love works. I know I’m not the only person who sits around and wonders why some people are married and why others aren’t. I can’t understand how someone like FTG, shy or not, is married and how the two co-workers whom I said I like as people aren’t married, unless they just don’t want to be married. With FTG, I am just thinking more about logistics, i.e. the way she hardly speaks to anyone, for example. With my two male co-workers, it’s more like that annoying “you’re so great, so why are you still single” question a lot of people have the nerve to throw at others (I’ve definitely gotten that before–it’s irritating, never ask someone that). Being a lesbian, these are probably the only guys I’ve ever wondered that about. Neither of them are much to look at, but I think we’ve all seen repeatedly that this doesn’t really matter because we always see unattractive attached people. But they’re awesome guys, and if given the choice I’d rather marry one of them than FTG. So, what actually does matter to people? I think we’ve also all seen that people’s laundry lists don’t matter, either.

It’s just a trip to look around and see the types of people who have someone and the types of people who don’t. But that’s all based on how we read people we don’t even really know.

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