I’m going to ask that you indulge me a bit here. I promise I’ll get somewhere if you’ll see it through.
Imagine I asked you to do me a favor and you agreed. I requested that you go to the store and pick up some half-and-half for my coffee and you returned with a cup of milk you borrowed from the neighbor. How am I supposed to react to that? You agreed to the request and then you then did what you felt like doing which wasn’t what I asked of you nor was it what you agreed to.
Let’s run through the possible outcomes here:
1. I suck it up and drink my coffee that now tastes like crap. I resent you because if you had just done what I had asked and you agreed to, I would be happy. Now I’m not and it’s your fault.
2. I could tell you that you didn’t do what I asked. You could give me attitude, tell me it’s good enough and that I’m too demanding. Again, I feel terrible because you’ve pointed out one of my flaws (holding people to standards) and you’re upset with me. Even if you don’t give me attitude and you simply go back out to the store, I feel guilty for pointing out what you did incorrectly.
All my life I’ve been a people pleaser. If roles were reversed, I’d have asked you what brand you like, the level of fat you’d like in your half and half and if your first choice is not available what your back up is. This way, you see that I tried my hardest to make your coffee experience as pleasurable as possible. If your coffee sucks, it’s not my fault. I did what I could.
I know this is insane, by the way. However, if you came back to me with ANY half and half, I’d be happy. Milk is not half and half, therefore I am unhappy. And if you give me attitude and imply that I should be happy as both are dairy products that will, in fact, lighten my coffee, I will be further annoyed. My standards are not as high as everyone thinks – I simply think that in very many cases, there is a right way to do something and a wrong way. Milk does not equal half and half. This is a black and white case.
The problem here is why can’t people just do what they are asked and what they agreed to?
I hired someone to grout my shower. He did, except for one spot where he didn’t. Now I am waiting for him to come back (on a Saturday no less, when we had to rush our showers because it will not be unusable for the rest of the day) and do his job correctly.
Someone asked me for my opinion on a separate matter. I said that I thought the solution to the problem could potentially be found in a particular place and should be sought in that location. That person did not seek the solution and then I was called into the matter again by another person only to have to repeat myself. And when I said I didn’t want to continue discussing until the research was done, I was given attitude and it was implied that I was in the wrong.
Whenever I ask my kid to do something that he is 100% capable of doing, he does the bare minimum coming close to what I asked but not quite there. Then when I tell him he didn’t do what I asked, he gets upset that I’m displeased with him.
In all three scenarios, the end result is the same. I feel like a shit-heel for expressing displeasure that someone did not do what was expected. I feel guilty. I have been told I’m too demanding and that I expect too much of others. I have been told I’m a bitch. I have been told that I’m mean. I often end up doing things myself and then resenting the person who should be doing it in the first place.
I don’t think that telling someone they didn’t do what you asked them to do is wrong. I don’t yell or scream. I have been known to use my so-calm-it’s-scary voice, the one that you can never prove I said anything wrong or used a threatening tone or anything like that, but you know that I am done screwing around. I do throw tantrums now and again, that is true, but usually that’s when my first 12 attempts to get something done fail.
It’s week 6 of the challenge. The topic this week is punching fear in the face. What am I afraid of? Here’s a brief list: