How Do You Deal With “You Make Me Sick”?   1 comment

This week at work a coworker who was helping me deal with a computer problem said “You make me sick!” after I pointed out that my power strip is on top of my desk so that I can turn it off at night. In my experience, usually when someone utters that phrase there is a bit of a laugh in their voice. I have, however, also heard it uttered in anger or true disgust. In this case, his voice was very serious sounding, and I honestly couldn’t tell if it was just an exclamation, a political statement, a personal guilt trip, or a joke. I’ve never figured out how to respond to such a statement when uttered casually. Am I the only person who becomes uncomfortable when on the receiving end of such a statement?

In the situation this week, my coworker needed to unplug my laptop power supply from the docking station so that we could try another docking station. He was about to crawl under the desk when I pointed out that the power strip is right behind the docking station on top of the desk. I don’t know why I added, “This way I can turn off the power at night.” I don’t remember most of his exact response. It was something like “you’re so green…” and then “you make me sick.” Like I mentioned above, I couldn’t read him to know how he intended the statement. A number of thoughts circled through my head:

  • “Hey, I didn’t try to push this on anyone else or preach energy conservation.”
  • “Ouch, and I was so proud when I finally got around to moving my power strip after years of ‘meaning’ to do so.”
  • “It’s not fair for you to denigrate me over something so minor!”
  • “It’s not my problem if you say you want to “be green” but don’t actually do anything.”
  • “Should I take that as a compliment?”

It really bothers me that a couple of days later this incident is still playing with my emotions. I need to just let it go, but for some reason I’m having trouble doing so. So I’ve been musing on the incident and on the phrase. I don’t remember every uttering it myself; and I hope that I never have. There’s no way to make it positive. Even if it is very slight, the phrase is an arrow of anger or jealousy/envy.

Everyone has some accomplishment, something that they do well, that other people struggle with; and everyone has a slightly different value system. Especially if you don’t know the back story, and don’t know the person really well, don’t make presumptions. If someone else has done something you would like to do “sometime”, or has taken action on a value that you think you “should” hold, don’t take out any defensiveness on them. I guess the old saying persists for a reason: “If you can’t saying anything good, don’t say anything at all.” Little tiny negative barbs can deflate even a large positive bubble, let alone a fledgling positive bubble.

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Posted September 4, 2010 by mayakey in energy use, musings

One response to “How Do You Deal With “You Make Me Sick”?

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  1. Or you have just asked “why do I male you sick”? Maybe that would have provoked him to think about what he said and what he meant by it. Also I think when you take a seemingly extreme stance – like being uber green – you have to expect some level of rude resistance.

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