I fear saying the wrong thing – an unexpected torrent of honest opinions

One of the biggest problems/fears I have is not having nothing to say, but saying too much or the wrong thing when I talk to someone.I’ve worked for 5 years with a co-worker who is very negative and critical, and while we are friendly, I never talk about my off-job life and tend to just let him run away with all the conversations.

I’m just afraid that if I’m ever forced to open up to him, I’ll just really say something hurtful to him. I’ve observed him for 5 years now and I could probably say some accurate things about the way he treats people (including his family), why he’s still slaving away in a job that’s beneath him and how insecure he is. I don’t feel any malice toward him, but I think such an unexpected torrent of honest opinions from me would seem cruel and would be taken the wrong way.

I’ve had this same experience with my family members. When I do talk at length to them, I tell them what I see – and I’m NOT trying to be critical! maybe I am too analytical – and their feelings get hurt. I don’t mean to hurt their feelings, that’s the last thing I want to do.

People say I’m quiet, but when I do talk, they act overwhelmed by what I say, even when it’s not a negative criticism. That’s why I never say anything. I have a lot of thoughts in my head, but there’s a reason why I keep them to myself.

1 Comment

  1. I also tend to analyze others because I am really good at it — I use analysis so much in my job, that it spills over into my personal life.I also tend to be critical. Years ago a colleague called me on it and said “Instead of just criticizing and analyzing, offer what can be done — this is much more helpful.”

    Now, I try to put things into a more positive context and find that the same message, is much better received.

    Sometimes the indirect approach is more effective such as telling a story about someone you know (real or fictional) that demonstrates what you wish to communicate.

    Of course, the motivation behind the communication is important. Is the communication meant to inform, educate, separate, distance, hurt, or criticize? Having an unclear motivation can lead to saying things not originally intended.

    We all have thoughts, ideas, and opinions which are better left in our heads — in many ways these negative thoughts, ideas, and opinions may not even be our own — they come from our parents, culture, or other influences.

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