I sometimes wonder if it’s me or the other person who has the communication problem. I often am told it’s me. “You could have asked” is a common refrain.
A recent example would be when I recently purchased a game (on CD, for the PC) and then finding out that most of all the content has to be downloaded. I was frustrated to no end. My husband and I are old school gamers, when the internet wasn’t required to play a game, much less install one.
In any case, a co-worker of my husband plays the game, so my husband said he’d ask him if he had a backup of the data files so I wouldn’t have to download them and suck up all the bandwidth on our limited usage account. I agreed.
This evening he came home, handed me his jump drive, which is on a lanyard and told me the files were on it. I proceeded to copy the files and then search the ‘net in order to find the proper method for install. After a few minutes, I found what I was looking for and did as instructed, but it just wasn’t working.
An hour or so later, I went to return the stick to my husband and to let him know it wasn’t working. It was only then I saw a small metal piece on the lanyard – it was another jump drive!
I yelled down to him “are there two jump drives on this lanyard?”
“Yes,” he replies, “the game files are on the silver drive”.
“Well,” I reply, exasperated, “that’s why I’ve been struggling with this for the last hour! I wasn’t using the right files”.
I hear him call out “Well, you could have asked.”
I could have? How is that? I didn’t even know there were two drives. When he handed over the lanyard, he was holding the white drive in his hand and said “Here are those game files.” I’m sure of it.
But it’s me who is wrong. Somehow.
And now I’m frustrated. Lost time plus the accusation that my communication skills are not up to par leaves me feeling bad about myself and tired.
It’s not that I have to believe him, nor did my spouse intend any true insult. In fact, he doesn’t even know his words bothered me or that I’m frustrated about the exchange. But I am. So I write.