Ask Amy: Woman wants to get out of her own way
Dear Amy: I recently received some news, and went to tell my husband.
I didn’t realize that I was interrupting a work issue, and he snapped and said, “You don’t have to tell me everything, and ask so many questions.”
Later that day, my boss had an hour-long talk with me about how I’m not enough of a team player.
My husband later apologized (it’s incredibly rare for him to show frustration like that), but now I can’t get that day of my head.
I’ve always been a chatty, outgoing person. I’ve been raised to ask questions if I don’t know the answers. I’m enthusiastic and when I show an interest in something, I love hearing what people have to say.
I can’t stop thinking that I’ve actually just been annoying people my whole life, and that my co-workers, who I thought I got along with, may find me hard to work with.
We have just started a fertility journey, which has me worried. My mom has had some health concerns, and I’ve been helping her out.
Plus, the pandemic. I know there are real stressors out there.
But that one day has me thinking that just being ME is wrong, that I’m annoying, and that I need to fundamentally change.
How can I get out of my own head? — Annoying
Dear Annoying: My theory is that the pandemic has caused many of us to journey — perhaps too far — into our own heads.
Let’s establish that “being you” is NOT wrong, but stress will amplify some habits and insecurities.
It is normal to ruminate about a challenging job review, but when you are confronted with critical feedback, the healthiest thing to do is to use it to make whatever adjustments you can.
You received an hour-long directive from your boss, but you don’t offer specifics. Is that because you weren’t able to hear anything beyond, “You’re not enough of a team player,” due to the whooshing sound in your head?
It is a challenge to pause and actively listen, when you are an enthusiastic talker (trust me, I know!). Some of your questions might seem redundant to people who believe they have already addressed them — were you listening?
You cannot change your temperament (you seem bubbly and lively, which is wonderful), but you CAN change your habits.
I highly recommend the book “You're Not Listening: What You're Missing and Why It Matters,” by journalist Kate Murphy (2020, Celadon Books). Murphy describes listening as less a behavior than a state of mind. She also quotes Calvin Coolidge (!) who said, “Nobody ever lost his job by listening too much.”
Dear Amy: About eight weeks ago, we loaned our daughter and son-in-law $5,000 because they got themselves into a financial bind. They both make good money, but are bad money managers.
She promised to pay us back in a couple of weeks when they received their $5,000 deposit back from a house they had been renting.
Four weeks after the loan, we texted her to ask what the status of the loan was and she went ballistic on us, sending us a terrible text.
We haven’t heard from her since then. She sent us $2,000 recently, but there has been no other communication.
We are not sure how to handle this. — Perplexed
Dear Perplexed: The dynamic after loaning money to people often seems backward when the recipient responds to generosity with hostility or defensiveness, rather than with gratitude. I suppose that this is because the act of asking for money exposes a tender touchpoint. By asking, they are admitting that they have failed.
I suggest that you remain steadfast. Don’t bite the hook your daughter dangled with her rudeness; this was either consciously or unconsciously meant to distract you from the fact that she and her husband owe you a substantial amount.
Communicate with her: “You asked for what you needed, and we responded. There is no need for you to be hostile; just let us know when you can repay the rest of the loan.”
Please, remember this the next time she hits you up.
Dear Amy: “Line Cook” reported being extremely aggravated by the chef’s constant whistling in the kitchen.
This person should research “misophonia,” which is an extreme aversion to certain sounds. I’m surprised you didn’t mention this. — Fellow Sufferer
Dear Fellow: Many readers mentioned misophonia, which I have discussed in previous columns.
But — a person doesn’t need to suffer from a neurological disorder to be extremely aggravated by the sound of constant whistling. It’s annoying!