Monday, March 11, 2013

Going Down??

Joe rode down the elevator with the cart full of luggage. I waited for the elevator car to return and take me down as well. The door opened and I backed on. It was only one floor down so the ride was quick. The elevator opens just off the main lobby of the hotel. Two people, maybe five years older than I, were waiting right at the door - as people do, and were surprised to see someone wanting off - as people are. The stared at me briefly, confused as to what to do, then the woman said, "Are you all alone?" I said that I was, it was the man who spoke next, "Good for you!" I nodded in thanks as they backed up and I pushed myself into the lobby to wait for the car to pull up front.\

I got in the car laughing and told Joe that my day had started off well, I'd already exceeded expectations. It's wonderful to have the bar set low sometimes, it make success a kind of foregone conclusion. We headed off on the last leg of the drive to Independence, a city just shy of Kansas City on the Missouri side of the river. Over the next few hours we listened to a book on tape, chatted about the upcoming work week, planned our day off on Monday. The usual travelling together stuff.

In all that I thought about the interchange with the couple. What surprised me was that it didn't annoy me one bit. Normally that kind of thing gets to me - people being awestruck that I'm at all independent or able is more irritating than not. But I didn't feel that at all.

I think it was because of their voice. Well, more specifically, their tone of voice, was a bit different than what I'm used to. It was more encouraging than patronising. Does that make sense. I felt like it was a bunch of old folks cheering each other on to do whatever they can to keep doing whatever they can. It felt like it was just a 'good on you for doing it on your own' ... a 'right on sister' or a 'atta go boy'.

Its not so much the words is it? Its the tone and intent.

But maybe I got it wrong, I hope not though, because, in fact, I did feel encouraged. And sometimes, we all need that don't we?


theknapper said...

Tone is everything.

Jeannette said...

I think you can trust your own judgment and sense of people. In this case, you had a good impression, and that's just as reliable as the times when you've had a bad impression.
It's one of those abilities that seem to be fundamental, part of our basic human emotional equipment, and we often talk ourselves out of those impressions, but usually they are spot on.
Good for you, and good for them!!

Louise said...

Patronising is only patronising when it's, well..... patronising!

wendy said...

I completely understand that. How we say what we say is extremely important for precisely that reason. There's more information in our tone than in our words a lot of the time. Glad you're feeling encouraged.

Jayne Wales said...

No question the meaning of what someone is saying all about tone, look, body language and intention. I'm glad they were interested in you.

Rachel in Idaho said...

I wouldn't argue with yourself on this one if you were fine with it, Dave - after all, how many times have we heard people say "But I meant well!" when their tone and/or body language screamed patronization! And then we are accused of being oversensitive! *banging head against wall*

In this case, apparently they ACTUALLY DID! You'd know otherwise. I'd just go with that and be happy about it.

Le'Anne said...

I agree. I teach people all the time that you can be saying all the right words, but the tone of your voice or your non-verbal communicate can cancel out that message. Actions and vocal tone definately speak louders than words!