I’m guilty of doing it myself: softening my behavior to make the people I work with feel more comfortable. It’s not like my true inclination is to be a raging b*tch or an overly assertive, bossy type. The way I really want to do and say things falls more in the firm but fair region. However, I believe that, for some reason (let’s say, centuries of misogyny) when a woman is just firm and straightforward, others can interpret that as her being mean. And, to give many of the progressive men in my life some credit, not everyone feels that way—but a lot of people do. I’ve experienced it too many times. A man I work with asks me a question, I give a simple, emotionless answer, and he asks, “Are you okay?” or “Is something wrong?” The mere fact that I didn’t add some nicety to my response—that I didn’t put some sugar on top—made the guy think something must be wrong. That’s why I adjust my behavior, even if I don’t want to. Maybe many of us do. Here are ways women soften their behavior to make male colleagues comfortable (but shouldn’t).
“If it’s not too much trouble”
Why do I say this? Why do I add this comment when giving an instruction or directive to someone? Whether or not it’s a lot of trouble shouldn’t concern me if it’s the person’s job. It’s not like, if he were to say, “It actually is too much trouble” that I’d say, “Oh okay. Then just don’t do it.”
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