imageHow do other people see you? This idea has been on my mind a lot lately. When my motives are misunderstood, I want to set the record straight.

I may share a topic on Facebook, for example, knowing that the information in the article helped me understand something about myself, and thought, maybe, it would help my friends, too. There was nothing else behind my action to post other than, “Hey this is cool! Let me share it.” I think nothing of the post until later when a receiver of the “gift” takes it like a personal communique directed at him. He reads it, and responds in an offended way. When I read his response, I am really surprised. What do I do? Respond with an apology, but that doesn’t seem right. PM him and ask what’s up? But that seems like putting attention on something that really shouldn’t have occurred in the first place. Do nothing? On his end, he could have ignored my posts, chose not to respond, ask me what’s up, unfriend me…any number of solutions. His choice was a not-so-veiled punch.

So I am wondering. I have learned that people infer motives by your actions, and they learn how to infer motives by their experiences. They may whole heartedly believe that you wrote x for y reason, and yet be completely wrong.

How does one correct the error? How can I make my intentions clear when I share something in social media? Do I put a disclaimer at the top saying something like, ” The following information is being shared with you with the express intention of kindness and goodwill. There is no implied or explicit critique of you, nor is there any suggestion that you are in great need of this wisdom. The message is being shared, because it helped the person posting it. Use at your own risk.”

Which got me thinking…How are other people perceiving me when I interact with them? If they can only interpret my facial expressions and my actions through the lens of their experiences and beliefs, and then infer my motives, what happens to the actual truth? And when I check out during a conversation, what are they seeing in me then? How do I prevent these misunderstandings from occurring?

How about you? How do you correct misunderstandings about motives?

Thanks for reading.

Until next time,