When I thought I’d try blogging about manners, it wasn’t because I thought mine were any good. Quite the opposite – I often find myself unsure of the appropriate way to manage situations. It seems, however, that if you can find the well mannered way, it usually keeps you out of hot water and smooths over difficult situations.
Sadly, I’m in a difficult situation right now, and no amount of good manners seems to be able to smooth it over. A colleague of mine has taken offense to some things I said and did, and hasn’t spoken one word to me for 2 work days now. If I include the weekend – its been 4 days – so this person is obviously pretty unhappy with me.
Its very upsetting. I tried to explain that I hadn’t intended to cause offense – I really hadn’t. I feel I have been grossly misconstrued and interpreted. When I attempted to put things right, it only made them worse. Instead I was bombarded with a tirade which listed all the other offenses I have inadvertently caused this person over the years without realising.
Because this person was so angry with me, and talking didn’t help, I wrote a letter of apology in which I again reiterated that the whole thing was totally unintentional. But still – not a single word.
I’m not sure how to handle the situation now. I feel really uncomfortable around that person. Its tempting to respond to the silent treatment with silent treatment of my own – but I don’t really like to play those sort of games. This is where good manners are helpful.
Manners are about putting others at ease. I figure that if, whenever I see this person, I act with genuine warmth and kindness, eventually things may get back to normal. If they don’t, at least I can hold my head up high and know that I have been above reproach.
I need to put my own feelings to one side and genuinely seek to help the other feel comfortable. Less focus on me means I might stop worrying so much about how badly I’m feeling at the moment.
One thing I know – its impossible to change other people, and as much as I would like to change this person into someone who can be more accepting and forgiving , that’s beyond my ability. The fact that this person has read all sorts of hidden agendas into innocent words and actions of mine is also beyond my control.
All I can do is work on me.