I like to make people happy. It’s a thing with me.
At the office with my coworkers and clients, at home with my family, even at restaurants or stores with sales people. I try to always be nice, pleasant, polite, and get a chuckle out of the people I interact with. My philosophy is the world is full of jerks–I don’t want to be one of them.
Apparently, though, I don’t always come across as nice as I try to be. Yesterday at a company “share session,” where employees can share their thoughts and ideas with our president, I was exposed by a couple of my coworkers for my true, jerky nature.
One of the many new folks at the session (our company has grown a lot in the past year) expressed how cold and unfriendly Cincinnatians can be. He said he’s noticed this at our company, too. Then, he pointed across the room at yours truly and described a recent incident where I came over to talk to his cubicle mate and didn’t even talk to him. How rude is that? I ask you.
As my face turned various shades of red, another coworker chimed in to wholeheartedly agree. “Susan didn’t even talk to me my first year here!” he said. I should not be introduced or allowed around new employees, he added, for fear my jerkiness may, in fact, drive them away! I believe there may have been a reference to Cincinnati’s German heritage (which I share) and the Nazis (which I do not share), but I can’t recall an exact quote.
I wanted to say, “I’m BUSY, people! I have a very demanding job, not to mention a kid to take care of. I can’t possibly make BFFs with every one of 200-some employees in this joint. Gimme a break!”
Instead, I tried to play it off like “Haha, I’m sure they’re just kidding… and even if they’re not, no one will think I’m that horrible.”
Inside, I WAS BURNING. A combustible combination of disbelief, embarrassment, and rage. Now, all these innocent new people at my company (not to mention the president!) have the distinct impression that I’m Queen Beeyotch of the Office.
This particularly bothered me because of my people-pleasing nature. I know it’s partly a woman thing, wanting to be seen as nice and polite and all that. Still, how do I overcome my unrealistic need to please and come to terms with the “You can’t please all the people all the time” reality?
Maybe I should just embrace my inner Queen Beeyotch and say, Hey, you’re LUCKY if I talk to you, new guy. But that’s just not me. I want to be everyone’s friend, and the best wife/mom/daughter/etc. I just wish I had the time and energy.