That’s Really What You Think Of Me?

Me Reading the Financial Times
Image via Wikipedia

One of my favorite columns in the media is Mrs. Moneypenny, in the weekend FT, written by a woman who admits to being overweight and somewhat deaf — but who clearly makes a ton of dough, is learning to fly a private plane and goes off on shooting weekends on country estates.

Loved her latest:

It can be sobering to learn what other people think of you. I am not alluding to my 360-degree appraisal, but something worse. Observant Olivia has moved from being my guardian angel to another, more grown-up job in our company and has written a 15-page manual on how to look after me, in order to assist her successor. But 15 pages? How long does it take to explain how to retrieve my BlackBerry from the black cab lost property office?

I am not sure OO’s document was meant for my consumption, but I had a look anyway. The contact details of my immediate family, my parents, and even the names of my dogs, are all there, as you might expect. But reading on, I learned that Mr M, apparently, is to be e-mailed my updated diary once a fortnight. Since when?

Some of the comments are nice: “Mrs M is very clever at sending thoughtful presents,” says one. Others imply, correctly, that I can be less than organised. “Go through Mrs M’s handbag when she gets in; check she has enough business cards, put her keys, hearing aid and make-up back in the bag and ask her about any paperwork.”

There are few public occasions when you discover, in a nice way generally, what others think of you: graduation, a milestone birthday, a book party, a wedding.

(Sadly, the Internet has allowed as much random toxicity as international expressions of affection; my least favorite review of “Malled” describes me [!] as “bitter, pretentious and lazy, lazy, lazy.”)

In my wedding reception toast to Jose, I lauded the three Cs that made me want to marry him: his courage (and encouraging me through life’s challenges); his character (doing the right thing, quickly and automatically) and his company, and how much I enjoy it.

He referred to my “enlightened innocence” and insatiable curiosity about the world.

We then asked all of our 24 guests to tell us all how they met us, but in so doing they also talked about us. In describing me, the words “intense, passionate” and “high energy” all cropped up. One woman said I “give good phone” and have a “highly developed sense of outrage.”

What have you been told about yourself — and when and by whom — that surprised you?

7 thoughts on “That’s Really What You Think Of Me?

  1. I know this may sound kind of goofy, but one of the things I’ve been told by my co-workers which kind of gets me to tilt my head and laugh is how they think I’m a morning person. I am anything but a morning person. Actually, I try to sleep the morning away on my days off!

  2. I’ve started to wonder if I spill every ounce of energy into my writing. Readers will comment on my enthusiasm or “zest” and I can’t help but laugh. I’m hardly vibrant with my messy hair, sweatpants and afternoon naps 🙂

    1. I’ve been told many times that I am intimidating. It took me a while to realize that it’s a label. The person is really saying “You intimidate me” — but that’s their issue, not yours!

      Canadians are also, often, more reserved and aloof. I’ve been accused of being “unfriendly” when I have no intention of BEING friendly unless I’ve made the decision I wish to get to know you.

  3. According to one of my high school teachers I was ‘terrifying to teach’. Other than that, people have very rarely told me what they think of me to my face, so it is difficult to judge. I like to kid myself I project an air of quiet self-confidence and appear both organised and competent, but it is entirely possible I come across as something far less flattering. Someone I was working with once wrote on their blog that I had ‘the kindest face they had ever seen’. I wasn’t quite sure how to take that as in context of the job I was doing it didn’t seem all that flattering.

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