I’ve often been accused of not being an empathetic person. When my son decided to go nursing school my response was ‘well you obviously didn’t get your care and compassion from me!’. But the reality of the situation is I am empathetic at appropriate times and if you are one of my closest friends or a family member, you know that.
I am also a realist, so if three months after you’ve broken up with a guy who was cheating and you are still moping around? I’m going to tell you to put your big girl panties on and get on with life because he was never worth your time and energy to begin with. I tell people who are going through tough times ‘If you want things sugar-coated call someone else. If you want matter-of-fact, practical advice then that’s what you’ll get from me’.
The insight to why I am seen as an un-empathetic person came with my Myers-Briggs assessment (one of the many we took the first semester in grad school). I am an ESTJ: Extraverted Thinking with Sensing. Here’s what the report says about ESTJs.
*practical, realistic, matter-of-fact
*decisive, quickly move to implement decisions
*organize projects and people to get things done, focus on getting results in the most efficient way possible
*take care of routine details
*have a clear set of standards & beliefs, systematically follow them and want others to also
*forceful in implementing their plans
*take relationships seriously
*concientious, dependable, decisive, outspoken and self-confident
*have little patience with confusion, inefficiency and halfway measures
So yeah, it is easy to see that in a business setting (a board or committee meeting) where that un-empathetic side can come in to play. Trust me, I never mean to hurt anyone’s feelings (I value our relationship way too much!) …. I just want to get through the agenda items and focus on the task at hand first!