Thursday, February 11, 2010

Foot in Mouth Disease

Ready for a confession? I have a tendency to say inappropriate things sometimes. Some might say I'm too blunt. Occasionally, I'll say what's on my mind and realize after the fact that it needed to be softened up a bit. If I try to provide comic relief in an awkward moment and don't think before I speak, it can come out all wrong and I end up back pedaling to save face. I've never been one to sugar coat things well. My best friends know this about me and take certain things I say with a grain of salt, knowing not to take anything personally. And they know that it kills me to I find out when I've hurt someone.

Many of you have emailed and commented over the years that you appreciate that I'm so real in my blog posts. But it seems this level of honesty doesn't always work to my advantage.

I got myself into some hot water yesterday and it was completely unintentional. In fact, I specifically chose to only say a quick few sentences to avoid potential conflict. Let me set up the situation for you: A friend gracefully backed out of a commitment that's been planned for a while. I've only been involved with these plans for a few days, but she and a few other friends had been working out details for this event for weeks now. She sent an upbeat email stating why she wasn't going to attend and asked us all to accept her decision and not try to change her mind. Although I was disappointed and knew the other girls would be too, my reply was void of any pressure or guilt about her decision. I said something at the beginning of the email to lighten the situation up a bit, told her she'd be missed and that the event wouldn't be the same without her and sent it off. Unfortunately, it was not received well and it took the whole morning to clean up the mess I had NO idea I'd created.

I'm still so caught off guard by this situation that I'm having trouble shaking it. I'm quite certain everyone else has moved on, but it's still lingering in my mind. Because of the drama, the whole event has now been canceled and now no one is going. That's a shame in and of itself, but it's left me feeling very unsettled. Like somehow I'm the bad guy in all of this for opening my big mouth. And what began as me trying to "go with the flow" and accepting this friend's decision (although I was initially surprised because she planned the event, I know that she's got a lot going on right now and understood that she needed to draw some boundaries in her schedule), it now appears that I'm selfish, only care about myself, have no compassion, don't take anything seriously and that I didn't care whether she attended or not.

I probably sound vague and don't mean to...sorry. I just need to get this out. On the phone with another friend earlier, I actually burst into tears over the situation. Not that I don't get to go to the event, but that somehow I feel like I'm to blame for it being canceled. Because this friend's reaction caught me so off guard, my confidence is now shaken. I'm suddenly hesitant to respond to any related emails. Yet I clearly have to say SOMEthing or my silence might be misinterpreted. I question everything before it comes out of my mouth. Could this be taken wrong? Would this potentially hurt someones feels or offend them in some way? Could this be taken out of context? It's a horrible feeling of insecurity. I realize I'm not the most sensitive person in the world, but it's exhausting walking on egg shells like this!

After an emotionally exhausting day, I read this post from my friend April. When talking to April last week, I totally DID stick my foot in my mouth. But because she is confident enough in herself and knows that I meant no harm from the statement, she didn't get offended or feel personally attacked. (I don't think...) And what I said to her was SO much worse than what I said to this other friend! She even called me out on it in her post. Which I'm fine with. In fact, reading the way she took it made me feel better about the above situation. About myself personally. That I'm not a monster who's out to hurt everyone within earshot, but an impulsive blonde who has a tendency to use the wrong verbiage every now and then. I mean seriously, we all know that I'm a little seems that when I try to be concise, there's too much empty space to read between the lines.

I hate this feeling...I just feel so insecure right now. It's awful! I can't wait until I can get past this horrible pit in my stomach and move on with my life. I'll probably be pretty gun shy when speaking (and especially when sending emails!) for a while, but that might not be a bad thing. Maybe God's trying to teach me not to be so quick with my tongue. Ugh - lesson learned, God. I get it! No need to bring me through this fire again!!!
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DutchMac said...

Remember my situation with Stupid Heather a few years back when the friendship broke apart because I sent her asked her to understand why I couldn't (at that time) yet 'participate' in her pregnancy with her because I'd just experienced my 2nd miscarriage? As weird as this may sound, your situation here sounds SO similar to that!

I mean that in the sense that I triple-checked every single word I sent to her, over-analyzed every angle of the situation to be extra certain I didn't offend her, agonized over every detail and nuance of phrases used so she would take it the right way, blah blah blah. Your stressing over editing yourself right now sounds EXACTLY like what I was doing then. Know what I learned from it?

It's SO not worth it! When I realized that if ANY of my other girlfriends had been in Stupid Heather's position, they would have understood me. I never have to edit myself with my 'real' girlfriends, I know with 100% confidence they love and support me, I know they'll forgive my brainless actions (as I forgive theirs), and I just don't have any drama with them. I came to understand that THOSE are the people I want to surround myself with, not the drama-creating ones.

In fairness, I don't know the women involved in your situation, so I'm not casting criticism on them AT ALL. Just sometimes different personalities blend in different ways, and although it doesn't make any of them right or wrong, it just makes for better or worse blends. (I like to think in food terms ..... spinach/artichoke dip and dark chocolate are both divine, but I'm certainly not going to eat them together!)

I'm sure the women involved are wonderful in and of themselves, but maybe the blend of communication styles just doesn't work so well. Focus on the blends that DO work for you, treasure them, nurture them, and don't let yourself lose too much energy on artichoke/chocolate blends. ;-)


Michelle said...

KT-One of the things I love about you is that you are blunt. I appreciate your willingness to tell it like it is. Maybe that's because I'm like that too, but...I love you just the way you are!

Rachael Schepemaker said...

I love DutchMac's analogy and totally agree with her...not all blends work well, not all blends are healthy,

April said...

Oh my dear sweet friend! I know where you are coming from, I have been there so many times. Most times I think I am being hilarious and then a few days later I find out my senseless remark totally offended someone. And just like you I would rather die than hurt someone's feelings.

I absolutely did not take offense during our conversation last week at Bunco because I know you. I know your heart is always in the right place. And if you were trying to open my eyes to something, it only comes from love. I know this. People who truly know you know this.

Keep your head high, this will pass. I love you!

Emily @ Little Home said...

Ugh, being misread is no fun! Rest assured that God knows your heart was in the right place.

Sometimes when there is a bunch of drama I just want to say "Grow up, people!"... but that might not come across right, either ;)

Don't stop being yourself, I'm betting that's what people love about you.

Jessie said...

Can I just say "ugh" with you? I SERIOUSLY hate chick drama. And I'm a girly-girl.

So, I don't think you did anything wrong in this situation. I don't know if I told you that already. But I don't think you did anything truly wrong. Yes, you're blunt. But hey, if you were any more perfect I might have to come over and pull out your hair. :) I mean, come on, you do everything else incredibly well!

So, I love you, Katie. You're a great girl and I'm blessed by your friendship nearly every day. I'm sure this will work out in the Lord's timing. He is more than sufficient. And He doesn't see you with a blunt mouth-He sees you as the perfect being you will be in Heaven. Keep that in mind. You're still a work in progress (as we all are.)

Alison @ Hospitality Haven said...

I did the same thing yesterday. My job involves a lot of being blunt and speaking the truth, and sometimes it's not well received. And then sometimes I don't do ANYTHING that should cause a reaction and yet it does. And yet somehow, when someone jumps to a conclusion right down your throat, and you attempt to clarify, they seem to all of a sudden they're incapable of hearing from you?! Yah. I hate that. Sorry for your situation! I know how you feel. :(

Cindy Anderson said...

You know what I love? Your tender heart, your commitment you being a faithful and faith-filled friend, and that you have some of the absolute BEST girlfriends on the entire planet. Breathe in deeply. SELAH.

Love you KT!!

Erin said...

One lesson I have learned the hard way- pick up the phone and call in these situations. E-mails tend to be read with the reader's tone- not yours. Like I said- I've learned it the hard way. Hang in there :)

melodyofamom said...

You sound just like my best friend (and I have to admit that you remind me of myself, too!). She takes everything sooo to heart, but it's only because she has such a big heart! Hang in there...I understand how you feel b/c I've been there too. This is totally cliche, but everyone who loves you for who you are will look past your little mistakes. And the ones who don't look past those little mistakes aren't worth your time.

Anonymous said...

I find that a lot of Email is "misinterpreted". It has happened to me on many occasions (even with close friends). So now if I have something to say that may be "misinterpreted", I call instead. Perhaps you should call the woman who backed out and just offer a simple explanation. Just say you understood and just wanted her to know she would be missed.

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