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Attitudes - Ed's journal
Have you ever encountered a person that just pisses you off?

There's a few at the place where I work. I try and avoid them, because I know each time I'm involved in a conversation with them, they're going to wind me up.

I'm just not quite sure why there's typically nothing overly 'different' about the requests they put in it's just there's something about the way they talk to you that puts you on edge, and therefore less likely to deal well with them in future.

An example is here, this is an email I recieved:
"Hi Ed,
any chance of looking at the ASP Error 115 problem which stops us viewing reports? I really need to be able to run off some Job Info reports by tomorrow


But you see, my automatic thought is 'no, go away'. I'm not entirely sure why, since from anyone else a 'would you mind looking at $problem' email usually is ... well if not well recieved, at least something I accept.

Oh well, when I stop fuming (and again, I'm still not entirely sure why) I'll sort it out. Probably. If I can figure out what the cause is _this_ time.

I still don't know why though - there are a few people who just rub me up the wrong way. I come into contact with them, and get almost childish when dealing with them.

Am I alone in experiencing this?
15 comments or Leave a comment
From: feanelwa Date: September 15th, 2004 01:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Because he didn't say please, assumed the problem would be so easy to fix that it could be done by tomorrow and by extension, either that your job is so easy a one armed monkey could do it, or that you're lazy. And he said "thanks" before waiting for a yes.
wolflady26 From: wolflady26 Date: September 15th, 2004 02:04 am (UTC) (Link)
I've had it happen, too. Even here on LJ, there are just occasionally people that I can't stand to read, no matter how innocuous they are acting! It's a weird reaction ;)
paulw From: paulw Date: September 15th, 2004 02:08 am (UTC) (Link)
You are not alone. I have users here that produces a desire to choke the living shite out of them everytime they open their mouth.
From: cerberic Date: September 15th, 2004 02:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Also, to add to other analyses so far, he used the phrase "any chance" as to imply that the chance would be small even if it existed, and also suggests that he's asked before and is only now getting impatient (regardless of whether he's actually asked before). If you substitute in "Could you look at" for "Any chance of looking", it reads a whole lot differently.

The "Could you" version acknowledges that whilst you are willing and able to do your job, you may be busy and you can't fix a problem of which you are unaware. The "Any chance" version suggests that they're having to pester you do it, and that you're lazy (from the implication that the chance is small assuming it exists) and/or rather be 'messing about' on the computer than actually solving their problem for them. Other people's problems also fall under 'messing about', of course.

Basically, "Could you" is a polite question, "Any chance" is an impatient demand disguised as a question by the simple expedience of putting a question mark on the end. Someone should inform this 'John' that a question mark does not a question make. If he doesn't comprehend the explanation, "Understand now, you idiot?" should be a good empirical example. :)

Funnily enough, it's the same problem found at school. Children don't like something someone has said to them, and so go to their headmaster/mistress and tell them what's happened. To which, they reply with "well, what did they say?". The problem being, of course, is that it isn't what they said, but how they said it.
tya From: tya Date: September 15th, 2004 03:19 am (UTC) (Link)
About 90% of the World's population...

To quote Johnny the Homicidal Maniac: "My days are less than enjoyable because of people".
eithnepdb From: eithnepdb Date: September 15th, 2004 03:37 am (UTC) (Link)
You're not alone - I get this too from time to time.

And I have a bit of that childish reaction too - which explains my frequent use of the word "asshat".
sobrique From: sobrique Date: September 15th, 2004 03:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Asshat is a quality word. It so effectively summarises one's feelings.

I find 'bollocks' and 'wanker' similarly satisfying.
From: dj_rws Date: September 15th, 2004 04:17 am (UTC) (Link)
You're not alone. Although I'm one of the most tolerant and liberal people I know (when it comes to analysing other people's lifestyles anyway) I find that some people just wind me up a treat. But I think I've narrowed it down to the following character traits I'm not too combatible with: arrogant, stuborn, inconsiderate, self-centred and hypocritical. I'd say of the people who wind me up the most these are words I'd use to describe their personality. The funny thing is I consider myself a little arrogant and stuborn but I also like to think I have an open mind ;)

Anyway once I find someone I truly detest, future conversation is impossible unless I'm feeling like I need the extra headache and stress - not likely. So I avoid all "social" conversation and if I have to work with them then I'll put up with it on a professional level but other than that I'll not speak to them. And you're right when you said "it's not what they say but how they say it". Because you're already dreading some sort of dialogue with them, as soon as they ask something you're going to pick it to bits and assume they're taking the piss. They might not be, that might just be the way they are. You don't have it like it but in my mind if they're going out of their way to piss you off then that's far worse a crime then just doing it by accident. If it's the latter you just put it down to a lack of social skills and then elevate yourself above them for being able to notice their social inadequaices... (Harsh but we all do it ;) ) Anyway I digress.

I read the copy of the email and I saw nothing wrong with it at first glance. Then again, if there were any cutting signature remarks from that individual then I'd not notice them because I don't know the guy.

If it was an email sent to me from my supervisor asking me to do something that was my job to do then I'd just do it. I didn't register anything cutting in the language used other than he just wants it done quickly and before tomorrow. Now if someone asked me to do something that isn't my job and that was the email they sent then I'd go and have strong words with them about sorting out their own problems. I'm not saying this is your case but this is how I'd react and what would/wouldn't piss me off.

Interestingly someone said something about getting annoyed with others on boards/chat etc. Now the way I read all net comms is with the benefit of the doubt because such things as emotions, sarcasm and seriousness don't always travel through the cables that well unless they're so obvious you could beat an elephant to death with it. When you're talking to someone face to face these things are incredibly easy to interpret but when it's just a block of text starring you in the face I definitely start thinking about all the possibilities of interpretation. And I've seen it happen as well when someone says something that can be taken 2 ways and someone else takes it the wrong way and it all goes horribly messy. That's why I use emoticons a lot; so there's no doubt about the emotion I'm feeling, if any. They are called "emoticons" for a reason you know ;)

Ooo, this is an interesting thread :)
From: sebbo Date: September 15th, 2004 04:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, have met that sort of person.

On a slightly different note, i would say that part of the problem is written and verbal communication. Some people just suck at writing stuff (e.g. me) and don't think about it in such an anlaytical way as some of the above posts have demonstrated can be done. So something that wasn't intended to offend or imply the content suggested will look extra bad, because you guys love this particular attention to detail. So the assumption that it is written as it is read breaks down, quite thoroughly.

Doesn't stop pissing you off though, so it doesn't really matter.
sobrique From: sobrique Date: September 15th, 2004 05:35 am (UTC) (Link)
If my _first_ impression is a sloppily written 'junk' on a forum or whatever, then I tend to think badly of the person.

However, I can assure you, these particular people piss me off in person as well.
karen2205 From: karen2205 Date: September 15th, 2004 05:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Yep - not very often, but it happens.
the_wood_gnome From: the_wood_gnome Date: September 15th, 2004 09:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Whilst I try and be calm and without malice, there are those in this world who cause my hands to curl into fists.

I have this urge to hit them, and sometimes I don't know why. (Must Stop Fist Of Death!)

They cause my skin to crawl and they anger me very easily.

I try my best not to interact with them, it is bad for me, but sometimes you just cannot get away from it. Then I try and be curteous.

I wonder if there are anti-you's in the world. Ones who just break your inner balance...
sobrique From: sobrique Date: September 15th, 2004 10:03 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't know, I'd imagine it'd be people _more_ like me that'd piss me off...
From: dj_rws Date: September 15th, 2004 11:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Funny you should say that because I work with someone who thinks very much like me and acts very much like me but somewhere along the way we always get different solutions/outcomes to the same situation. And it sometimes results in arguements. We are simply similar but on totally different wavelengths. It usually means we don't get each others jokes, points of views, sarcasm, humour etc. but I think we both know it so we don't really say much. And we don't go out of each others' way to piss the other one off so we're quite happy as we are albeit socially inept in each others' presence.
From: dj_rws Date: September 15th, 2004 11:54 am (UTC) (Link)
As an aside, I can remember being told by someone how boring the world would be if everyone thought like me... how untrue ;) A world populated by people who thought just like me would be a scary twisted place!
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