Ah, communication. My major in college, the source of many debates, books, articles and yes blog posts. If we miscommunicate, arguments result, feelings are hurt and marriages, businesses and relationships fail. There’s a lot at stake within the boundaries of communication.
I apologize for yet ANOTHER John Mayer song title (I don’t really. I love him.), but this one seemed apt. See, words can get jacked up by a lot of things and very often we miscommunicate what we really intend. But sometimes, we meet people who say EXACTLY what they’re feeling and mean every last word.
Usually, those people fall into the following categories: crazy, famous so no one tells them they’re crazy, too old to give a crap and smarter than anyone reading (or writing) this post. They often get a lot of grief for yelling and screaming and not sugar-coating their words. They don’t really fit in. And if there’s no medical reason for their over-honesty, they are often written off as bullies, saboteurs or worse. And heaven help us if that person is a woman.
My mom used to say “Just because you’re not yelling and screaming doesn’t mean you’re not saying hurtful things.” She was dead on right. While the yellers and screamers are mocked, punished, raked over the coals and slapped on the hand for uncouth and unseemly behavior; the wilier provacateurs tend to get off scot-free. This behavior, while just as abusive and harmful to workplace productivity (and meaningful conversation on ANY given topic), is overlooked, excused away or worse, ignored. And you guessed it, women do it more than men.
And while a yeller might raise more of a ruckus, a passive aggressive destructor can do even worse damage, effectively clearing the playing field, using a sweet voice and a trail of hurt feelings behind.
What’s up with that? Do you have someone in your life that is a passive-aggressive destructobot? How do you deal?
PS I’m a yeller. Just say what you need to say.