I have posted about an inter-personal issue that I have had over the last few weeks. Last week I had a chance to meet with the person concerned and, I am pleased to say, all has been amicably resolved.
Looking back, what was my strategy?
Firstly, I was not defensive and admitted fault on my side straight away. I didn’t do anything deliberately to upset the person and explained that beforehand.
Secondly, I asked to see the person “in person” and not – after an initial e-mail contact – try to communicate with him online. I have found that e-mail can be very cold and formal and, as a consequence, often leads to misinterpretation and misunderstanding.
Thirdly, I left things a while after the initial [e-mail] apology to give things a chance to quieten down a little. I find that – often – this allows the heat to diffuse from the situation; something that had definitely happened with the other person in this instance. It also prevents me from being viewed as automatically/too much to blame and me personally to have assumed that I am wholly/totally at fault. I have been guilty of this because of my Asperger in the past. It can send the wrong signals: that I am not assertive and willing to take blame unnecessarily.
Leading on from this. I have been working with a colleague who is clearly quite timid. He sits on his own in the staff canteen and sends a message of “distance” as is often the case with someone with Asperger.
Observing him I can see how detrimental this can be. The body language is all “I don’t want to be with/interact with you” and I can see how people, in turn, would reciprocate and not want to be with him. It is clearly not the way to build relationships.
He has mixed a bit more over the last few days which is good to see, but it is a reminder for me to make a continued effort to show interest in people and interact with them, as opposed to, withdrawing.