How to find out the relationship in correspondence


SITUATION: your team works remotely and communicates in messengers. You have completed the task and receive feedback from the supervisor: “That’s bad, redo,” with a dot at the end of the sentence. It seems that the leader is angry with you. A colleague asks you for help, and you are in a meeting, so you cannot answer immediately. In 15 minutes one more message comes: “Thank you for the help) We passed.” It seems to have been passive aggression. From the very morning, the client writes: “Colleagues, we had no sales yesterday. PAY ATTENTION!!!” They shouted at you again.

We perceive it this way due to projection – the protective mechanism of the psyche. This is when a person attributes the inner meaning to the external world.

We need this property of the psyche to learn and socialize. Imagine that there are two banks of the river; you are standing on one of them and do not know what is happening on the other. The boat brings oranges from there, and so you conclude that oranges grow on the other side of the river.

When a person has a fear that the leader dislikes him, or he is angry with him, then a short sentence with a dot at the end can be perceived as aggression and anger. Although in reality, the manager is not angry with the employee, vice versa. This may not necessarily be due to anger, but also, for example, to the fact that a person is afraid of criticism or mistakes. This is how the projection works.

Written communication is a huge screen for projection because we have little information about what is happening: we do not hear a person’s voice, his tone; we do not see his facial expressions; we do not know what he is doing at the moment.

Correspondence should be clarified only if it can be done in a few messages. For example, a person answers you with a short phrase without a string, and you think he is angry with you. You ask if everything is ok, she answers yes, apologizes and explains its context. If the voltage drops, that’s enough.

But if you feel that the tension only grows with each subsequent message, then trying to clarify the relationship in further correspondence is a very bad idea. You can state your experiences in writing and offer a call or a face-to-face meeting. For example: “This situation in our communication irritates me, I suggest discussing it in a zoom or to meet in person.”

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