Approx 2.5 min read.
I messed up once – unintentionally.
I once worked with a group of diverse, super talented and amazingly attractive people. So much so that I and my ego both (yes, my ego was a fully developed persona at one point XD) felt a little out place in this space. Still I was very much welcomed and thoroughly enjoyed my time there, mainly because the people I worked with were incredible.
At the time I was single. How dare you say, “Duhhhh!” so definitively? I’ve got perks ok? Screw it, you’re right. I will have them maybe only when I am recreated… ‘Parks and Recreation’ joke. Nailed it! Anyway a new girl popped up and she for a while was the talk of those that thrived on their testosterone-borne energy. Competitive and confident (not), a segment of guys gossiped about how and when they would make their move. She was of Asian lineage. Vietnamese I think. One guy with a similar background said something to the tune of, “Wish me luck guys! I’m going to say hello to the new girl.” I gotta say, in my mind, this dude was perhaps at the apex of masculinity, blessed with tremendous physique and the charm to match. To make matters even more interesting he is very talented in a fun field few people have any expertise in but it’s something most of us have wished we could do. I’m being very vague here to protect identities because I never asked for permission before typing this (shhhhh). Because of my security in my manhood I decided to say this:
Bro. You clearly have an advantage over everyone else. Why wouldn’t she pick you?
Now understand – ego without an inferiority complex and abundant empathy were the hallmarks of my character. I was being genuine. But context and gestures matter. I pointed at him and directed my gaze towards the young lady in question at the time, sort of like how a magician shows off the assistant participating in his gimmick. They were both of an Asian persuasion and that’s how it was interpreted. I was saying his advantage was that he was an adonis-like being – but it was interpreted by the guys around me that I meant his race gave him an edge and they laughed. In hindsight he was clearly blindsided by my comment because that’s not something anyone would expect from me, and that’s true… but because my intentions were so clear to me, I didn’t see that at all. When I did perceive my error it was too late to address it as it would only really be rubbing salt into the old wounds.
Imagine telling someone the only reason they were favourites to be liked by someone is because they were of the same race, completely disregarding character and any other attractive trait they might possess. That’s what I did and it wasn’t my intention.
This leads us to the very simple lesson of the day:
Context and gestures matter.
When communicating, be as unambiguous as possible. That way there will always be clarity in what you say. That way you only ever offend people on purpose.