One of the folks I work with is a sensitive sort. She has a long and impressive list of pet peeves, and handles her peeves with the smooth aplomb of a water balloon in the crotch. I had kind of been given the 411, and thought I could handle her sensitivities no problem because I’d known other sensitive souls in my day, but I’d totally underestimated just the level of peevishness she can attain.
But that’s not what bothers me. What bothers me is that when Ms. Sensitive is peeved she cannot deal with it on her own. No, she needs to share. Specifically she shares with the one that has peeved her. And even that isn’t my chief bug. The thing most up my butt about this is that when she shares her new peeve with the peever she always chastises them for having committed a social feau pax. In other words, when you step on her size 16 toes she scolds you for being all impolite and uncool. Except that it’s NOT a problem for everyone – it’s just that she’s super-extra-special sensitive. But she can only see it as a collapse in ettiquette. I've got your ettiquette right here, sweetie!
If someone wants to be all kinds of prickly that’s fine with me. (ok, so that’s a lie. I hate it when people are so very touchy-touchy. Frankly if you insist on being made of feathers and tinkly glass and a fine layer of fragile sugar then you should take a job like data entry from the safety of your own sofa and leave the rest of us in peace. Or get a dang layer of skin that can be rained on once in a while! But I digress…) I just say you don’t pull me aside and lecture me on conversational etiquette like I’m some kind of uncultured, overbearing boob! Your peeves are your own issue – own them and move on with your world. You can even tell me that you’ve got the peeve, as in “hey, I just wanted to make you aware of this pet peeve I’ve got in the hopes that you’ll look out for it some in the future…” I’ll try to avoid your Jumbo-sized, tender-to-the-touch toes if I can. (although I’ve started a list of her peeves because I know I’m gonna forget some of them eventually – I can only hold so much info in my sad little brain.) I just resent being scolded as though I stood up in the middle of a meeting and dropped trow for the assembled personage or whizzed into her lunchbox!
I handled yesterday’s little interaction with smooth disconnection, as though she were making any sense at all. However I did stop her after she helpfully pointed out that I’d have the same reaction if she’d done the same thing to me. There will be NO comparisons between us, so says I, and so I helpfully corrected her on that little false assumption. But for the future I figure I’ve got a couple of options for how to handle these moments. I can either let her make mistakes and try not to giggle when she falls (ker-SLAM!) on her pinched little face, or I can take the high road but be sneaky-sneaky when I sneakily give her sneak-help. Which would make me the better person, and be better for the organization all around. Even though there would be less giggling. Wish me luck with the higher ground.