Me — Misunderstood? (30 days of blogging prompts 20)

What do you think people misunderstand the most about you?

Through the years, I’ve learned that I’m THAT person that you either love or hate.  No middleground — I seem to have either an endearing or repulsive personality, depending on whom you ask.  Which is just fine.  I have come to accept the old line that you can’t please everyone.  So I’ve long stopped trying to do that.

For those on the negative end of the spectrum, I’d like to think that the misunderstanding stems from the fact that people sometimes (or oftentimes) take offense with my strong tone, and my ability to separate the personal from the professional.  When it’s work, I put on a different hat with the end game of getting things done.  I’ve learned to grow a thick skin at work given the very strong personalities my previous bosses had, so I guess you can say I’ve taken to mastering the skill of not taking things personally.  When I take charge, I can get really bossy.  Others like that, but most people don’t like being bossed around.  (Not even by their own bosses.. that’s why they’re where they are and I am where I am at.)

Those people who don’t get the chance to know the non-working or non-bossy me, usually tend to label me with “B” in neon letters, and as humans do, tend to return the tone.  And I don’t take that personally, but that just means we’re not meant to be anything but co-workers.

There are those who are cowed by the bigger personality and never see the girly, funny, sweet and very sensitive side of me.  There was a time I’d kill myself trying to win those people over, only to be frustrated and racked with self-doubt.  That was the very young, inexperienced me.  After years of running after people who I felt disliked me for misunderstanding me and failing to see the real Dinna, I came to terms with the fact that there are just people who don’t like you — period.  And those people who can’t see the real me aren’t worth the effort to chase and convince.

I have had a colleague or two who had become very good friends, but who, when I put on my working hat and I say no to take great offense.  Or who when I tell them off for something that needs correcting thinks it’s a personal attack and there goes the former intimacy we shared as friends. The lines get blurred, and there comes in the misunderstanding.  There are the few gems, though, who know when it’s work and when it’s not.

I can have a “tone” which sometimes people get overly-sensitive to.  I remember back when I was still in school, an ex-boyfriend took offense when, in the middle of a spat, I commanded him to “sit”.  One word:  “Sit.” I remember the look on his face — and later he said I made him feel like I was treating him like a dog.  Okay, he was overly sensitive — but it’s one of those situations where people think I’m playing Hitler.  LOL

Even at home, sometimes I’d say something in a forceful tone or a higher or louder voice, not meaning anything or not being angry, but it’s taken to mean that way.  Picture the volume or bass tone suddenly switching from one side of the switch to the other — misunderstanding resolved.

Maybe I’m not trying hard enough to pause and think before I open my mouth.  But I make no apologies.  (That is not to say, though, that I don’t apologize when warranted.)  I’ve become less friendly although I still smile a lot.  I just choose who I chat up or who I choose to befriend.  Friendships take a lot of work, like any relationship, and there are the souls who make the extra effort to get to know you better.  They are those who go past the misunderstandings or the wrong notions.  They are the ones who ask if maybe there’s another side to you besides the one whose fangs and horns they saw.  (I do have a halo tucked somewhere although I often forget where I hid it. =)

Misunderstood?  Yes, more often than not.  But I’ve stopped trying to explain myself to the world — only those who deserve the explanation get it from me.  Not everyone may like me, but I know those who truly matter love me.