Thursday, January 12, 2006

Appreciate me silently.

I have a long-harbored suspicion of complements. I almost always interpret them as a request for something, or as banking good vibes for when I am asked for a favor later. Back in the day when I was in the dating world, I considered complements a big turn-off. I invariably saw them as a gentle form of attempted mind-control.

In the job setting, it turns out I never believe them either. For example, in the last week I interpreted
  • "Congratulations on that paper I saw you got published" as "It's certainly not a given that you will publish, since you're subpar and kind of a disappointment. Thanks for contributing something."
  • "I'm impressed with your writing" as "When I talked to you in person, you pretty much came across as a full-out airhead, but it turns out you can string a few sentences together. That was a nice surprise."
  • "We'd like to set up a phone interview" as "Nobody else applied for this position."

So, despite a year of therapy to work on this appreciation problem, I still have it. I like to think that it just keeps me from getting a swelled head.

1 comment:

Ms.PhD said...

That's some filter you've got there. I understand what you mean about always looking for the subtext, but don't worry about getting a big head. You're not likely to ever get there, considering where you're starting from.