Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Having the “Wrong” Reactions (And an Update on the Work Mess)

I once made someone very angry because I asked for their reasoning behind an opinion that I disagreed with. I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful or argumentative. I wasn’t trying to change their opinion to match mine. I was simply curious. I wanted to understand why their opinion was different from mine. It never occurred to me that I shouldn’t ask because it might be interpreted as rude or confrontational. I just wanted to know.

I also tend to joke around when I’m uncomfortable, but because I have that special brand of quirky Aspie humor, it often makes me seem insensitive or just plain weird. As I’ve become more aware of this, I’ve become more likely to clam up for fear of saying the wrong thing. The more I realize how different I am, the more withdrawn I become.

The desire not to make social mistakes weighs heavy on me, now that I know how many of them I make and how often. It adds to the social anxiety I already felt and makes me nervous about interacting with people I’ve known for years. I’m endlessly afraid of accidentally offending people. I wish I didn’t care, but I do.

On top of all of that, I’m constantly faced with people who have such a twisted understanding of people like me that I feel like I’m banging my head against the wall. The situation at work is the perfect example. This week, we’re starting the “transition” to the move out of my office. I’ve been told to keep my door open. This is so very difficult for me. People are constantly walking by and the noise is so distracting. A binaural phone headset was supposed to be the compromise on the noise levels, but when it arrived, it was not at all what we discussed.


This is what arrived on Friday. You can see it only covers one ear, rather than the two I was expecting. Now I have my door open, a headset covering one ear and an earplug in the other and I am a wreck. I was having muscle spasms from the tension by 8:00 AM and a headache by 9:30 AM. All I want is to close my door and get some work done, but it is not happening. I can’t help but fear being fired when management is creating a situation that makes it impossible for me to be productive.

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