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Unappreciated, or misunderstood?

Lately I’ve felt as though my contributions, to friendships and to online communities, have been written off or ignored. To a person with an ego like mine, this is highly distressing. I have worked hard in most of these cases to help out as best I could, but either the people involved don’t care, don’t like what I’m saying, or don’t realize that my framework allowed others to draw the conclusions that ultimately helped them. Some of these are personal friendships and some of these are more professional things, but they all affect me the same way. I feel devalued by these people’s avoidance of or missing of the point…especially when the credit for a final decision winds up going to someone else, or to the person who needed the help to begin with.

I realize that I shouldn’t do things with the goal of receiving acclaim or thanks, but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier not to think that way. I get quite a bit of positive feedback at work, so maybe I feel that I should receive adulation from everyone. I don’t know.

All I do know is that it’s been bothering me. At first I thought it was just a problem with dealing with other women; having a good friendship with a girl is about the most impossible thing in the world. (If you’re a guy, it’s a lot easier, as far as I can tell, to befriend a girl.) I think girls keep internal score cards and expectations that are impossible to predict and live up to, and while guys can usually get over this and not care whether or not they fit the mold, other girls have more trouble with this. I personally go back and forth between wanting to please the girl and being annoyed that she wants me to change who I am.

So it would be understandable if it was just girls I was having trouble with. But today a guy misinterpreted me (apparently) and also didn’t take everything I said into account in his response. I understand that he’s busy, but I almost would have preferred that he not respond at all, if he was going to give so little thought to my input.

I want to be respected, seen as someone whose advice is useful and good. But all I’ve seen lately is people ignoring or misinterpreting what I say. I think I’m intelligent and have good thoughts…I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong in presenting them to others.

Maybe I’m doing the girl thing and having unrealistic expectations…

One reply on “Unappreciated, or misunderstood?”

Original comments from BlogKomm

From time to time I teach my students the art of the female subtext: a woman can communicate via the slightest trace of a gesture; the flicker of a muscle in the forehead or the tiniest trace of a sound. Perhaps it is easier for girls to misinterpret other girls because we are so adept at reading one another’s body language that, when it comes to interpretation, without the visuals we are lost.

Hmm, profound.

Guys can be just as bad though. I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a bad day.
Maiko, 05.11.2004, 12:03 pm

Aww, thank you!

You make an interesting point about body language. It’s true that while I am not the best at social interactions, I do take cues from my environment that don’t exist in the online format. Sometimes I add those cues to my text, but often they seem too blatant to mention. The :> smiley that I stole from AJ gets used quite a bit when I’m not sure how to respond. I think of it as akin to a smirk or a “Heh.” It’s still not enough to get everything across, though…

I think another factor in online relationships is time. If I continue to miss seeing someone online, then my presence in that person’s life is diminished–as is theirs in mine. It’s completely unintentional, especially when you factor in work schedules and time zones, but that time distance can bring the sense of a more emotional distance. I think that has a big effect on online relationships.
Heather[@][H], 05.11.2004, 6:57 pm

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