directness vs. disagreeableness

Maybe it is not that I am being overly direct. Maybe I am just being disagreeable. Or not intentionally being. But maybe I just have different opinions than others. And that alone is enough to frustrate people. But I imagine it is especially frustrating for others when I do not effectively communicate my opinions in a way they can understand. Maybe I am being lazy about communicating my disagreement – maybe I am bored of them or maybe I just am having trouble getting my idea across in a way they can understand. Maybe lazy is the wrong term. Because I certainly try things. But the things may not be particularly empathetic. For example – the things may be actually done to support myself (for instance writing long essays) rather than optimized for making sure the other person understands them. And maybe…probably even likely…I get frustrated by even just the idea of needing to like shape shift and find a different way to communicate what I think I understand as a rather simple idea or point of view. A point of view that just comes even naturally to me. Like it reads as obvious to me. And yet…and yet they don’t see it. And so, rather than be straightforward and direct perhaps I remain indirect but at the same time do not completely agree with them. And so they are guessing how I feel.

The above is one thing I’ve been thinking about. A friend prompted it. I think it’s not necessarily wrong. I am trying to think about what I disagree with about it. I agree with a lot of it. Like I could be more straightforward and direct and allow the person to respond and actually have a conversation. Instead of what I do which is basically try and manage their emotions and predict how they will behave. Prediction may not be bad. Its just obvious when I am trying to do that.

I am trying to orient my thoughts right now to practical implementations of the above style of thinking.

Maybe when I’m disagreeable I just need to have a different approach. Maybe I should always start with a question – why do you think that? And then say, I “disagree” if I still disagree.

I was at an event last night – rare for me – and someone said something I found interesting. They said that only stupid people get bored. This was a relatively smart person saying this. And she was saying how in every interaction she remembers that because there’s always something interesting to find about someone. You can empathize with them. You can be grateful for them. You can try to think about the world from their perspective. There’s always a way to make the moment more interesting.

And this is another thing I’m trying to channel. Both this appreciation for the moment and also engagement with the present. And I think this may be connected to the above train of thinking. Perhaps…well perhaps I could find a way to care more about the moment. To not be anxious in the moment. Not nearly as anxious as I have been. I feel like I have developed a sort of social anxiety – not a medical term – but a basic fear of like being judged etc. Partially because or relatedly because I find myself judging others often as well. And so I find myself in this loop. I hear others talk. Adults. And I cringe. Maybe they are just being honest and real. I just cringe at what I see as their lack of awareness. But perhaps instead I could turn it around and celebrate them. Their courage. For talking out. For being themselves. For not thinking. For the reverse of my default. Maybe there is something there, too.

So as an experiment, maybe I will try to amp up my directness. But do so in a way that includes far less emotion. More matter of a fact. And more space. Let people disagree. Yelling battles do not work. Loud people do not win. Not in a sustainable way. That’s my opinion at least. I rather be the calm one. Who strikes when it’s right to strike. And is loud only on my own. I rather be the wise one than the reckless one.

And so that’s what I’ll do. Enough of this freaking out if I’m being mean. I spend so many cycles worried about this. This fear that is really made up in my head more than anything. And instead I want to orient towards being real with people and telling them how I actually think.

I think that’s what I have often misrepresented for myself. My actual thoughts. I think, however disagreeable they are, I should still stand by them. I think my ideas can be a superpower. The uniqueness of them. The differentiation of them. I think a lot of people probably get uncomfortable when they have their opinions challenged. So I need to figure out how to wrap the ideas appropriately. How to package them in such a way that they don’t come across as attacks but rather just my opinions. And say them quietly and kindly. So as to not misrepresent them. Because they are not attacks. They are just ideas. And it’s funny how something perceived as an attack can really just come across so much less effectively.

Adults don’t love being told what to do. But they also do not like being lied to. So more directness – on both compliments and critiques, on on and off track feedback. I will see how that plays out. I have gone in spurts doing these sorts of experiments before. Trying to see if I can become a better communicator. Better mean more effective.

The answer is yes. I am sure it is.

But it requires me to bring my authentic self. No version of future me will persist as an inauthentic shape. My conditioning is too strong. I will resort to my laziest behavior. But reframing. Finding a new vibe and new outlook on life and the future. That is where my head is going.

So to repositioning. And to seeing how long I can keep it up.


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