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I am struggling with this disquieting feeling inside me. Heck, did I say disquieting? make that mortified. It is more like this rumbling in my tummy. Yes, that type you get when a teacher comes into the class, calls out your name and announces that you should follow him to the headmistress’s office.
It heaves up as I write this but I keep taking a breath while shoving it down and hoping it will stay there until I finish forming my words on paper.
A friend and colleague of mine had called my attention earlier today to one of the posts I put out last Saturday morning. Actually, the one I said I was going to sub all the Island/Peninsula folks on my timeline concerning the #Lekkifloods.
I stared aghast as the message came in from her: One of my readers who has great respect for me was pissed at me courtesy of that article. She felt I was a tad insensitive with that! I literally died and went to heaven as I tried to explain my standpoint. How can it be said that I, a Red Cross certified humanitarian was laughing over a natural disaster?
Meanwhile, last week I had spent sometime on LinkedIn reading up some articles on brands who sent out apologies. I read readers reviews on how some were emotionally intelligent about it and how others put their foot in their mouth. I read the Elon Musk’s email to Tesla Employees, the Uber imbroglio, Thomas Keller the restaurateur’s apology etc. All of them I spent time reading but didn’t know I was in the classroom taking lessons.
Still rambling right? I don’t even know what to say but I am really very sorry.
Much as it is easier to bury my head in the sand and feign I am not responsible for how you interpret my writing, I do believe the mature thing to do is step up to the plate and take the high road.
One of the presuppositions I learnt in NLP last year is: people respond based on their individual maps. This simply tells me that what someone who was in their cozy and dry home could laugh over, another who had been rudely awakened that morning to a flood invasion in their home would smart over.
Another presupposition says the meaning of communication is the response you get. This basically assumes that communication encompasses much more than the words you speak [write] and that the people around you are always interpreting what they do not hear and what they see. Also that if you want to communicate effectively, you must tailor your messages based on the responses they elicit from your readers.
This is a senior colleague who I hold in high esteem and been privileged to be in rapport with, for years now. She puts on no airs whatsoever about the seniority but this morning when I got that feedback, she ceased to be a colleague. As far as I was concerned, that was an amarannaji reader and she is miffed at something I wrote. I quickly raced to her office, apologised, gave her my viewpoint and we are cool now.
However, her feedback was two-fold:
- That was totally unlike me.
- The beef which the Mainlanders unleashed on the Islanders that Saturday was uncalled for. Especially the twitter incident.
That singular incident reminded me of the posts I had seen late Saturday and yesterday about the lack of empathy from the Mainlanders. And as far as I was concerned If it rubbed one person off the wrong side, then some countless others might probably have been ticked off too at my perceived insensitivity.
Now what did I say to her?
That my subs were aimed primarily at my family members who lived on that side of town. They have been continually badgering me to move closer to them across town. It is always a Push and Pull thing where we throw banters at ourselves and compare notes. These range from traffic, associated costs of living, community etc.
Sometimes, they get the upper cuts by telling me it is because I do not have money and other times I do when I remind them that I would gladly go back to my Magodo before thinking of moving their way.
Infact, as at Friday the night before, as they asked about my son and holiday plans, I notified them that I had cancelled his planned holidays with them because I didn’t want to be sleeping and be wondering if flood had washed their home away in the middle of the night.
So when one of them sent the first picture to us early that saturday, asking about everyone’s whereabouts and movements for that day, I quickly used it as a joke against them, little did I know!
But by mid-day when it became clear that the handshake had extended beyond the elbows, everyone was necessarily worried. I reached out to contacts across that side of town and eventually put out the post that night sharing some HSE tips.
I am using this medium to apologize to everyone who felt offended by any of my messages on that #Lekkifloods. I really am sorry.
Finally, I am grateful to the reader who voiced out and for you out there still seething, I only hope this article would assuage your anger towards me.
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