I have been told I have a high baseline.
I am a cheerful person.
I remain happy and positive when other people get bitter.
I do have my bad days. I get sad like everyone else.
I am empathetic to a fault. I put myself in people’s shoes to the point that I reflect and dwell on tough stuff sometimes too long.
Today, for the second time in my life, I was told today in a simulated communication session I am too cheerful. That it puts people off in difficult situations because I seem like I am too busy frolicking through my day to really seem that I care.
I never want that to be what happens. I care greatly for people. And although my personality follows me, I have always thought that it shows through and that I seem caring and empathetic when I need to be. Patrick jokes I have a “serious doctor voice.”
I would think if it were actually a problem that this would be feedback I would get more often. That it would be a problem. That I would notice it puts people off.
I adjust based on situations. But, I am still me. When I walk into a room, until I gauge a situation, I am who I am. I adjust my tone of voice, I grasp when things are grim or sad. But, if I don’t know for sure, I will offer a smile and an upbeat greeting. It just seems polite to me. You can be professional and empathetic, but also be a happy, positive person.
Do I really need to check my personality when I walk into a room?
Patrick thinks no. And that if it were a real issue, it would come up more. That I probably charm more people than I offend with my sunny disposition. That I have always seemed appropriate when he is around in tough circumstances.
I get that personalities don’t always click. And I am in a learning setting, so people will give feedback and not always agree with how I approach things. Especially when that is what they are specifically looking for. And I get sometimes I come on too chipper. But, most of the time, does that colour an entire encounter? Especially when I adjust based on the circumstance? Or at least I thought I did.
How do I process that when every other time, including the other three situations in this day, I have had nothing but praise (and of course, some more minor basic approach feedback)? When the verbal feedback starts with pointing out that my personality is probably “cheerful”? And basically only included that I was too cheerful coming in and initiating our conversation and how that colored our entire discussion that was too serious to start with such a friendly introduction.
I felt that the scenario didn’t go as well as I would have liked because I felt I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked and wound up trying to almost rush part of it… Because I tried to take more time to flesh out other stuff. Because I thought that piece was as important as some of the later discussion stuff that in real life would be a dialogue over time or at least beyond the 12 minute timeline. But I took that extra time early on for the other stuff because I care… That much. Even if it is imaginary.
I didn’t cover everything because I ran out of time. So, I didn’t get every tick box. I didn’t miss stuff because I was avoiding it. I missed it because I was trying to communicate effectively about the issues at hand. And if it were graded, I still would have passed.
But, it bothers me. Because I could have done better in that regard. Had I had more time. Or managed my time differently. Yes, we have time limits. Yes, there are ways to be efficient. That is a fine thing to work on. But, some things are just so important I think we should take our time.
But it bothers me more that cheerful disposition threw the person off… Made them feel like we didn’t have a partnership. Maybe made it more difficult to share.
I would never want that.
What if that happens other times and I don’t know?
When I was in Med 1, I had an SP tell me that I was too cheerful during a physical exam session. That I should consider toning it down a notch sometimes. But that it is good that I talk to people. Just that I don’t always have to seem so happy to be poking them in the thyroid.
That is also how I sound when I get really nervous, interestingly enough.
I asked for feedback on my cheerfulness with others and there was no complaint the rest of the year. So, I figured it was okay. So long as I don’t let myself get too nervous.
In this case, I shifted when the mood shifted. At least I thought so. Initially, I was my chipper self, but I adjusted when we got serious. I thought I adjusted to the mood in the room. My voice was still too sunny early on, though. Maybe I missed the boat?
But, do I really need to change my style? Do I have to change me?
Or do I just chalk it up to a difference of opinion? A one-off event? A bad moment on my part or the person’s? And maybe some nerves?
Or maybe it is somewhere in between…
The whole thing makes my head hurt. I don’t know how to grapple with it. Except to take it at face value and try to more consistently subdue myself before going into unknowns. I don’t want to lose myself in the process, though. Generally, it works for me.
I want to do what is best.
It is only the second time I had someone comment on my cheerful disposition negatively. But, it hurt my feelings. As foolish as that may be given the circumstance.