I KNOW. Well. Sometimes. :(
September 6, 2011 11:27 AM Subscribe
How can I curb my know-it-all tendencies and adjust the way I say or suggest things during a conversation? How can I come to terms with my frustration about being asked to filter my words when others aren’t tasked with the same request?
posted by iLoveTheRain to Human Relations (36 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
My newer-SO confessed to me this weekend that he sometimes finds the way I express my opinion abrasive. It’s not what I say that’s upsetting; it’s how I say it. He is concerned that whether I know it or not, I frequently come across as trying to prove to people how smart I am, and that I often give extraneous information that does not add to a conversation, but instead makes me look foolish and like a big know it all. Conversely, he says, there are times where I say so little and interact so infrequently during a conversation that I come across as aloof and stuck-up. As a result, it is sometimes hard to take what I say seriously because I either seem like a swot, or a little judgmental. This is obviously a very upsetting revelation and I am very embarassed and angry about it, but I am grateful that my boyfriend cares about me enough to tell me that I am not as gracious as I think I'm being.
For the most part, when I am around people I don’t know very well (or in the case of my boyfriend’s friends, some people I don’t particularly like) I work very hard to be as gracious and as natural as possible so that I do not offend anyone or ruffle too many feathers. I try to listen more than speak so that I can really get to know who I’m with. I do know that when I am particularly anxious or particularly relaxed, I can become a know-it-all just because I enjoy talking with people and having something to contribute to the conversation. I am never unkind, I very rarely gossip, and I genuinely enjoy the company of the people I meet, even if we’re at odds sometimes due to newness or personality conflicts.
Now I feel very paralyzed, because apparently I’m damned if I speak, and damned if I don’t.
The worst part about this is that my SO has a few friends whose behaviors are never reproved or commented on. I am happy to change my behavior and work towards being a more comfortable conversationalist, but it bothers me that these other people get to run free with their abrasive personalities without remark. When I’ve inquired after some of these folks, my SO and his friends just say, “That’s just how they are.” Well, maybe this is just how I am, too, you know? What's so special about these other people and why do they get a free pass when they're being blatantly in-your-face-rude or whatever?
I expressed all these things to my SO as civilly as I could but obviously I’m hurt and embarssed. He immediately recanted his comments when I stood up for myself and now I feel worse like he’s not going to be honest with me about this sort of stuff in the future. I want to know if I’ve slighted someone, but I feel very sad about the possibility that it’s my personality that does it when I am well liked in all other parts of my life.
How can I curb my know-it-all tendencies and adjust the way I say or suggest things during a conversation? How can I come to terms with my frustration about being asked to filter my words when others aren’t tasked with the same request? What kind of therapy would be best for this kind of attitude/behavior adjustment?