Manners Monday: Healing through Good Manners

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.

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7 thoughts on “Manners Monday: Healing through Good Manners

  1. ouch. really sorry to know about this.
    sadly we can’t control feelings and actions of others (not even me, if you can believe that!).
    unfortunately, there are people who have far too much time on their hands and delight in creating melodramas. this situation sounds like it has nothing to do with you – you are just a character that is being used for a drama. sorry. move on – this person is a “utility monster” and if they are this sensitive at work can you imagine what they are like in real life? yikes! just be you and don’t sweat it.

    oversensitive people need to stop being soooo sensitive and get a real hobby.

    i am curious – what is your take on the recent post about comment etiquette?

    • Thanks Bex, it isn’t a nice situation to be in, and you’re right, I don’t really think it’s about me – more the other persons insecurities. That said, I don’t think my colleague thrives on this sort of melodrama, and has certainly been discreet. I doubt anyone else at work knows of our falling out.

      I thought the comment ettiquette blog had some good advice, like saying why you liked a post instead of simply, “great post”.

      What did you think?

      • well, the fact she is keeping it to herself at work is a plus, but sad when this kind of thing happens.

        i don’t know. i had some trouble with some of the stuff that was said, i like to comment, but sometimes i lack time or real understanding about what someone is writing about to contribute more than “i really liked this”. i hope, sometimes, that when i can’t give more “meaningful” comments that the person knows simply that someone is out here, reading, enjoying and continues to post. i don’t think the “like button” is enough to say that adequately. i think of some comments as a “hey, i read this and thought more of it than to simply push a button”. i’m here, i’m reading, i hope you continue to write…you know?

        i also kind of worry that in our effort to be “polite” maybe will we miss a chance to become better writers. ok, maybe i will miss a chance to become a better writer, you know? or enter into an honest discussion about a topic. i’m not so sensitive that i need people to say how right i am – i can take someone saying “you are so totally wrong” or “man, use the proofreader and get rid of all those passive statements you are making”. i don’t always want to hear from people that agree or like me, i learn a lot from people who disagree with me and can offer differing opinions and alternate points of view. but i think that is my bias about the dialetic and wanting to enter conversations with people.

        i think i’m going to back and re-read and maybe re-process it.

  2. Could you find someone you both trust to act as a mediator? Often a neutral third party can help in this kind of situation. Otherwise what you are doing sounds like the only way.

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