As my wife will undoubtedly attest, I am nothing but open-minded, courteous and patient. I like to hear other people’s opinions and always take criticism well – learning from the constructive thoughts that others may have that I can then further use to shape my future deeds and actions. I actively am searching for new and creative ways to improve my interactions with others and constantly seeking improvements in both how I’m perceived and understood.
OK, I admit it. I may have a few idiosyncrasies that aren’t mentioned in the above glowing review of my performance. However, there are three sentence-starters that immediately get my hackles up and cause me to narrow my eyes in a mostly pejorative manner. All of these have been said to me over the past few weeks and have always been followed by a completely judgmental critique of my behavior or actions. I LOVE that. Without further ado, because frankly I’m running out of ado and need to just get on with my life, are the three nasty sentence-starters that send my normally thick-skinned blood into a thinning process the likes of which have not been seen outside of the local Warfarin Anticoagulant factory next door.
- What Tim really meant is….
Imagine me sitting in a meeting and come out with a bit of brilliance that has taken every fiber of my body to actually care enough to iterate. I explain it enough so that even the most managerial of the managers that I’m talking to can understand it…. and THAT guy (you know the one) feels a need to glam on to my statement. He clears his throat, he shuffles his feet, he fluffs his feathers, and starts with “I think what Tim really meant is….” Um. I can explain myself since it’s myself I’m explaining. I don’t need YOU, Mr. Excited-to-be-in-the-Meeting, to further explain my explanation. Jerk.
- If I were you, I would….
To set the stage for the second of these missives, let’s assume that I have complained about something to someone. I don’t want your opinion on what I did and how I did it. I want you to nod your head knowingly like you care (much like I do) and keep your mouth zipped. I wouldn’t have DONE what I did unless I thought it was correct obviously, so you stating what YOU would have done is just pure superfluous marshmallow puffery. You’re NOT me and you won’t ever be. I’m sure you’re as thankful for that as I am.
- I don’t want to be awkward, but….
You can feel the criticism literally dripping off the letters in ‘awkward’ as my favorite person starts their sentence like this. It’s a drop-dead certainly that this person is lining up his antiaircraft batteries right on your thick-skinned personality, just waiting for you to jump into his sights so he can pull the trigger and blow your butt out of the sky.
So handy hint to all my friends, lovers, and countrymen – don’t start a sentence off like any of these. Just be like everyone else and send me an email that I can ignore so fast it will make your critically-inclined head spin.