I was tagged earlier this week by Tim Ford to comment on my biggest weakness. I wish I could say that it’s the color yellow (stupidest weakness, ever), or kryptonite. I don’t have to wear ruby-quartz glasses everywhere (and good thing too). Certainly getting tied up by a man isn’t my weakness (eeewww). And while I do agree that with great power comes great responsibility, I don’t feel responsible for everything. I’m not suffering from a terminal heart condition (or shards of metal in my blood stream). So, I’ve avoided all the obvious (or silly) weaknesses. No, unfortunately, my weaknesses, and they are myriad, varied, and far too numerous, are pretty much of the straight human variety, despite my rather obviously being a mutant. Trying to pick one that stands out, it almost depends on the hour of the day, from the hundreds & thousands there are to choose from, is tough. The one weakness that does immediately come to mind though is communication and communication style.
I don’t have Asburger’s, I think. I tend to speak directly and bluntly. That’s when I speak at all. With effort I can be personable and friendly and, on rare occasions, charming. But it’s an effort. I have to try, and I have to keep thinking about talking to people, it’s a struggle and it shows. Left alone, left to my own devices, I stop talking or I only blurt out stuff occasionally or I try to run conversations, talking over people. It’s tough. The interruptions especially get people upset.
The obvious shortcomings of poor communication aren’t even what bothers me about it the most. The one thing that I think hurts me, and makes this truly a major weakness, is that I make people angry, but I do it unintentionally. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind making people angry. I’ve even gone out of my way to do get certain individuals good and upset. It’s when I do it accidently, because I’ve interrupted or because I’ve blurted out that their pet theory, whatever it might be, is stupid, that really hurts, me and that person. The fact is, what they’re saying may very well be stupid, but people don’t appreciate getting told that, especially in such a blunt manner. If you make people angry, they remember that. They don’t remember that you did help fix their problem, or that you saved the company oodles of cash or that you kept the project afloat. Nope, they remember that you really made them mad, which means that you’re “hard to work with.”
I’ve been working on this, a lot, over the years. Some of you who have met me out at conferences or at user group meetings might never have noticed this behavior. That’s because I’m using all that communication time to try to work on it. Some of you at those same functions may have been all too aware of it. I really have gotten pretty good at staying “on” and communicating at least reasonably well for long periods of time, but it’s bloody tiring.
My version of kryptonite is now on the table. Let’s see who has trouble with materials made out of wood, the color yellow, or gets weak when tied up by men. How about I tag, oh, Mike Walsh (I’ll bet it’s that tieing up thing) and Gail Shaw (probably red kryptonite).