Someone calls you defensive, and they don’t know you? I got into a discussion someone called me defensive. I took offense 🙂 My first thought was, “there is a lot of things I could to call you, but I won’t.” Fortunately I didn’t say it out loud. Over the years, I have gotten better at keeping my thoughts to myself. But, I recognize I’m a very opinionated person and some people take that part of my personality the wrong way. One thing I don’t do is psychoanalyze people. I didn’t go to school for that, nor did I stay at the Holiday Inn. 🙂 Me, being the introspective person I am, when I got home I Googled defensive personality. I came across a comment on a forum that helped me to understand what was possibly going through that person’s mind when they called me defensive:
What has helped me in the past is to remind myself that most of what people do or say to me in a day has little to do with my words or actions, and a lot to do with their own internal struggles and dialogue. How does that quote go, “Every person you meet is fighting a great battle?” Give someone the benefit of a doubt in their intent, and realize that in most situations it’s not you that’s under the microscope, it’s the situation and how THEY will fit into it. Someone asks about a project that you both are working on? They’re probably wanting to know how things will affect THEM down the line, not analyze your past or current performance.
When their intent isn’t clear and you think your words or actions are under scrutiny, ask questions until you know which words or actions they are specifically concerned about. By breaking it down to specifics you can eliminate most of the general worry that causes defensiveness and see that whatever problem there is just one small thing. Easier to manage that way.
I realize that to an extent we all can be defensive at times. That’s how humans survived on Earth all these years. But, to think you know someone well enough to analyze their personality on the spot… in my book that’s not acceptable. Have you ever been in a discussion and someone tried to dissect your personality? How did you handle it?