I decided to be a big girl and write back to my T about why he didn’t respond to my email. The new guy I’m working for gets and sends TONS of emails. When he sends an email to someone and they don’t respond he sends another one saying something like, “Hey, I sent you an email and you didn’t respond. What’s up?” He doesn’t obsess about whether he might have said something that hurt their feelings, or maybe they are angry at him, and he doesn’t apologize for something that he probably didn’t even do. So I took a page from his book and wrote J asking why he didn’t respond. Of course, I did do the whole apologizing routine, I’m sorry if I said something that might have been out of line, of course whatever happened is my fault, etc.
He wrote me back saying that he did respond to my email, in his head. Too bad I’m not a mind reader. He apologized and said that I was glad that I sent a follow up email. And he said that my verbal expression perhaps does not always convey my feelings and anxiety about being misunderstood gets in the way of expressing myself directly and I allow people to not get what I’m saying because of worry about offending them. Him included. And he said he wasn’t blaming me, that miscommunication goes two ways, but self-criticism and worry get in my way.
As for the other email I was supposed to send, telling one of the women I work for that I didn’t have time to work for her this week. Well! Not only did I NOT send her an email saying I didn’t have time to work, I DID send her an email telling her I do have time to work. I’ll be going over there this afternoon for a couple of hours.
After I sent the email I felt a somewhat huge weight being lifted off of my shoulders. On the other hand, I now have to work on a Saturday afternoon when I have other things to do. I’m thinking it’s all J’s fault that I couldn’t send the email that I intended to send. We had talked about this for at least 10 or 15 minutes last week, and I thought I finally got him to understand why I was having difficulty with this. But then when I was leaving he asked if I would like to send him the email to look at. I asked if he would send it on to her, and he said he couldn’t do that. Of course. But how will him looking at the email help me? I thought I had clarified for him that the problem wasn’t writing the email, it was sending the email. So his comment negated that whole discussion and left me feeling misunderstood. Therefore to spite him, I didn’t send the email that we discussed. So there. Of course, I just screwed myself and not him.
I also had another insight. Perhaps I don’t want to say no to people who ask me to help them because if I do say no they might find someone else to help them, and then it will be apparent to me that I am not invaluable to these people. I think I have a strong need to feel wanted and needed and like I am doing something of value, and if they can just find someone else, or if they can just check Google instead of asking me, well, where does that leave me? Just a nobody. I think that is black and white thinking – I’m either invaluable or I’m a nobody. I should find a way to be comfortable with being somewhere in the middle.