An Open Letter

This is, after my fashion, an olive branch… an explanation of my motives and feelings on this matter.

I respect you.
Most of the time, I even like you.
I want to like you.
You’re not an unlikeable person.
Everyone else likes you.
I do, in fact, have moments in which I like you very much.
Outside of those moments, I suspect that you’re not overly fond of me, which triggers my withdrawal.

You do occasionally rub me the wrong way (horrible phrase… why do we use it?), but that’s hardly a capital offense. My general sense is that you “don’t care” about certain issues, which is your prerogative.
I don’t care about everything, myself… being phlegmatic, I’m hardly in a position to preach boundless enthusiasm… but even in my “not caring”, I try not to express that verbally or behaviorally.
There are moments in which our personal level of caring is irrelevant to the task at hand… and being dismissive in those moments can be somewhat hurtful.
If you’re being dismissive toward a phlegmatic, it’s just irritating.
I like you… but I’m a bit bothered.

I am beginning suspect that you view me as an interloper, marching into your space, making changes and demands.
I can understand why you feel that way… however, you’re incorrect.
Please understand that I have no designs upon your territory, and I do have respect for your experience and expertise.
To a point.
When our paths converge, and I believe that there’s a gap to be filled, room for new ideas or the need a different plan, I will most likely say so in my fashion (i.e. quietly, after having spent several days charting a course).
This is not an editorial comment on your skills.
In fact, nothing that I say or do is actually about you (save this particular blog post… obviously).
There are no comments aimed toward exposing a perceived deficiency.
I don’t believe in personal attacks, as they’re messy and inefficient.
Besides, I like you… I just don’t think you’re always right about everything (neither am I… you don’t mince words about it, either).

We are supposed to be a team.
Despite my solitary nature, I believe in the concept of a strong team, which requires input from all sectors.
All sectors.
Including mine… despite my lack of whatever I would need for my ideas to be welcomed.
I don’t want what you have, and I’m not in any way interested in replacing you, nor am I interested in butting heads with you.
In fact, not only am I not interested in it, I simply won’t do it.
I will back so far and so fast away that all you will see is a teeny dust trail in the distance.
I lived with the Master and Commander of Tension for an entire childhood, and I’ve had my fill of battle.
Some may find my retreat into silence detrimental to the team… but I will not fight you.
I would rather that we pool our not-unconsiderable resources, but if the only way to do that is by shredding your skin with my claws, then I respectfully decline, and the team will suffer.

Seriously, I like and respect you.
I am respectfully requesting that you like and respect me as well.
I know it’s difficult.


6 thoughts on “An Open Letter

  1. hmmm…
    what I hear you saying is that you are triggered and hyper sensitive, due to your childhood and you look for ways that are similar, so that you can feel slighted or less than, so that you can try again to have an opportunity to be heard and thus to be enough or of value

    The words that you say you do NOT with to change things is IMMEDIATELY erased when you say: “When our paths converge, and I believe that there’s a gap to be filled, room for new ideas or the need a different” Because, as you continue, you seem to wish to be effective, to have an effect, to make a mark. Personally, I do not find fault with this. I’m just pointing out that the words you chose here are very passive aggressive and maybe that affects the dynamics of the relationship.

    It sounds like, from a business communications and group dynamics standpoint, that the other party–if you are correct, doesn’t like change. People don’t. There are techniques to get around this, that enable win-win environments, that can actually work with all sorts of personalities, including bias and triggers. 😀

    I am wondering if you would choose to take an email approach. I would like you to practice ONLY writing specific suggestions or changes relevant ONLY to the project and NOT to how you feel or wish to be treated. To me, it’s about the principles NOT the personalities.


    Dear (fill in the blank)
    I was really thinking and feeling creative about our shared (fill in the blank). I decided to put my creativity into certain simplified points. I would like you to consider these inputs and to respond to them. I like feedback. I like to feel heard. I like to see effect. Please feel free to share what motivates you so that I might be able to address you in the manner that you prefer.

    1. Has anyone ever considered moving the (fill in blank) over to the (fill in blank). {and then state what you think would occur after the alteration} I think it would save a lot of time and Mary Jo wouldn’t have to touch it at all and thus she could be free to do …. which is one of the areas we have been tasked to ….

    It is important to be very specific and NOn personal.

    On a personal note: This whole thing seems to be difficult for you. I can see from the outside where it might be percieved as ranty or petty. I can also see efforts for you to communicate what is important to you and probably to the team. I have had to learn that when I finally blow up or choose to share, that I need to find the right person who will listen to me, without commiserating or jumping onto my rant wagon. This helps me to find out what I need, that I must take care of on my own. This also helps me to see the valid points and make them impersonal. It is so very hard to write in empathy and emotion here online. My comment comes from such a place of identification and a wish to help you to get what you want. I hope that I communicated that also. Wish you well!


    1. Elisa,
      Thanks for your response! You totally nailed certain aspects, and I do tend to prefer being passive with my aggression.

      In this case, I went with an open letter to get everything out, because it relieves the pressure without anyone getting hurt. I’m not convinced that anything needs to be said at this point, and if a discussion is necessary, I’m actually not the most appropriate person to lead it, all things considered.


      1. Beyond workplace protocol or chain of command, I believe that if you work hard on your side of the street, you are handily capable of eventually being quite able to advocate and to lead for yourself. I appreciate your acknowledgement of your own stuff! It’s amazing! For me, I find it amazing that admitting my weaknesses is, in the end, a great strength. I am really pleased at your response, thanks!


  2. My motto is “Live and Let Live” Therefore you can be anyway you wish to be and I can do as I please. I do not condemn nor approve for it is your decision to put your ship in any direction you wish. On an occasion I might warn of the iceberg and if you ignore my warning I will not say I told you so. Mistakes are acceptable. They are inevitable and need to be dealt with. But it is not my call.


    1. I like what you said too! I have special needs kiddos, who often can’t see the iceburg, think that one even exists. It can be very difficult for me not to have to or to try to work extra really hard to lead them to a choice that won’t have me also paying prices for those mistakes. However, your words are ‘nicer’ than mine and a wee shift in thought for me. If it is alright with you, I will quote them. I will read them every day. I will keep them near to me to help me to decide the things I can and cannot change. The permission to make human mistakes might make it better for all of us, at least me, to do as I like, still offer what I find to be good reasonable direction and then….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s