The Two Most Obnoxious Communication Habits

I once wrote an email to a work colleague that included a complaint about certain people not doing a very important part of their jobs. I didn’t write this to gossip. I wrote this in the hope that she’d be able to put a stop to it. We work different shifts, and I rarely see her, so I thought email would be the best way to communicate in this instance. Silly me.

Instead, she shared my email, without my permission, with another coworker. And he decided to share it with everyone, including the people I had named, so that he could look good by defending these people. My relationship with pretty much everyone has been damaged by this.

There is nothing as obnoxious and outrageous as sharing someone’s email without their permission. Yes, it’s easy to do, so people who would never think to share personal letters don’t hesitate to forward emails. We seem to have forgotten basic etiquette.

Another thing that drives me absolutely nuts is when I call someone, and they put me on speaker phone so that others can hear, without telling me. Someone in my chain of command does this all the time. That person has broken my trust. It makes me not want to talk to him unless absolutely necessary.

I talk to different people in different ways. I share information with some people that I wouldn’t share with others. I should have the right to choose who hears what in my life. Taking that right away from me is unacceptable. And yet it happens all the time.

If you have either one of these bad habits, I urge you to rethink your communication style. Not violating people’s privacy is common courtesy. Thank you.

Eavesdropping

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Bait

If a trout sees a fly flitting about on the surface of his river, he’s going to snap at it. It’s in his nature. And when it’s just nature at play, that’s a great idea. Everybody needs food.

Unfortunately, sometimes man is inserting himself into this little game, and then taking that bait means certain death for the trout. I’ve always had mixed emotions about that sort of thing. When you take advantage of the fact that another creature is going to do what comes naturally, it kind of seems like cheating to me.

Bait. It’s a sinister thing. And the worst part is that we use it on one another, too.

If you’ve ever snapped off an angry response to a hostile e-mail, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You took the bait. And that almost always makes things worse for you.

Humans have always struggled with delayed gratification. The bait is there now, and it’s soooo satisfying to snap at it. For a split second. Then the regret and/or embarrassment sets in.

Trolls, in particular, count on this. They get some weird satisfaction from getting a rise out of people, while hiding alone in their lonely little rooms, clad in their stained and stretched out tighty whities. And they are oh, so good at it.

When someone gives you bait, it’s hard not to take it. But as a loved one says, “Don’t let their stupid rub off on you.” Wise words, indeed.

I’m trying to remind myself that no one controls my timeline. I don’t have to respond instantly to an e-mail. The fact that I’ve never been very good with snappy comebacks is probably a good thing, after all.

Take a breath. Let things percolate. Give yourself the time to use your very valuable brain. Because hooks in the mouth hurt.

Trout fly

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