Saturday, July 28, 2012
I blogged recently about a communication with another SP member that went completely in a different direction from what I intended or even dreamed was possible. She had done a huge amount of research on the Paleo diet and posted a wonderful blog about it. I asked if I could copy her email, print it, mark it up and use it as a foundation for my research on the same topic. I did not explain that I had looked into it before and had found so much conflicting info that I had set aside that avenue of research as I was so confused by what I read. I don't think that factoid would have helped. Unfortunately, I misunderstood her initial response which was a nicely worded suggestion that I should do my own research. Well, yes, that is true. To be honest, I was being lazy. I am a paralegal and do research all day long. By the time I get home, I am brain-dead and hoped to use her excellent research as a starting point. In law, attorneys and paralegals always use existing work from which to research or refine for the specific circumstance. That was my thinking and I did not realize how bad that would sound. My reply to her first answer made things worse.
To my dismay, I saw that she marked her page as private and I knew it was because of me. I feel sick about it. My lack of understanding about her boundaries, my blinders on so much that I did not understand that my request was offensive to her, to the point that she read it as a demand, and I kept the communication going. Ultimately, she felt I was demanding, that I had cornered her, did not respect her, that I wanted the info regardless of what she said and without consideration for her. That is not me at all.
As if I needed a reminder, but it is a good one. I need to be much more careful about email and other electronic communications. I really feel horrible about this.
I was amazed and impressed that she cared enough to email me this morning. She shared a lengthy blog about her take on the situation. I admire her courage and respect her integrity. I am humbled that she reached out to me to let me know how she felt. I now understand how badly, how clumsily I handled our first interaction. I do not say that she cared about me by sharing - that would be too egocentric of me. What she was doing, I think, was taking care of herself. Standing up for herself, clarifying thoughts on the situation. Another example for me. I am still not good at doing that for myself. At the same time, it was a "coachable moment" for me, as my VP would say. It's a lesson well taken.
We are not linked on SP and, regrettably, we probably never will be. I say regrettably sincerely. She opened her page again and I was able to read some of her other blogs and the comments about those blogs that she has received about what I did. What an eye-opener that was. I am not proud of me at all. She is a much better writer than I am and has a wonderful SP community around her. Had I not stubbed my toe so badly, we might have become SP friends and had a mutually supportive relationship. She is obviously a warm, compassionate and caring person with a zest for life that I always find a huge plus.
She showed me a lot and I now realize that I might have reacted just the same way she did had the situations been reversed. I am mortified! I wish I could undo what I did.
I really screwed up and the worst thing is I really hurt someone I don't even know and did it so thoroughly that there is likely no chance that fence can be mended.