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Why do I always mess up?

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I've just started a new job. All my colleagues are super friendly.


*I* am the one who's messed things up. Here's what happened.


On the very first day, I was so nervous having started my new job and ended up saying something really stupid. One colleague said, "No, I didn't go to university" and I had I assumed she was a graduate and said, "Oh, I thought you were educated!" when I meant to say, "Oh, I thought you were a graduate." It just came out wrong. I felt so bad because it looked like I was trying to tell her that she was dumb.


I don't think either of them liked me after that. They had conversations in front of me, and didn't make any attempt to include me. It seemed to spread like wildfire. When someone from another room would come in to our office and make small talk, they wouldn't talk to me either. I wanted to scream: "I'm so sorry for saying such a stupid thing, I have nothing against you" but I didn't.


I've considered apologising, but I worry that the damage is already done. Are there any little ways you can think of that could earn me back their respect and make my life at work more enjoyable?

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ouch. that's unfortunate that you said that.


I don't know how long it's been since you said that, but personally, I like to clarify things with people. You always risk looking like a weirdo when you try to fix up misunderstandings way after they've happened, but it's also empowering to get up the courage to communicate things which need to be communicated. I would apologise if you can. And maybe even explain that you were nervous because you're new. If you explain, then you'll know that any negativity which comes from them in the future isn't due to anything mean on your part, so your conscience will be clear and you can just put it down to them being not very nice, and thereforeeee not worth worrying very much.


otherwise, be patient, ride it out, and see if you can keep your positivity and spirits up long enough for them to come round.

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Ok, this is going to be a tough one, but I think I can help. I guess I'll write this as a step-by-step program, just to help organize it.


Step 1: Forgive yourself. This is important. YOU know that you didn't mean any harm. Yes, you screwed up terribly and probably hurt this person's feelings pretty badly. But everyone screws up terribly and hurts someone's feelings at some point. Anyone who tells you otherwise is just too blind to notice, and thereforeeee probably does it all the time without realizing it. Life goes on, and you're obviously not a bad person, as it sounds like you've been beating yourself up over this. ](*,) It's ok. If it helps at all, "I" forgive you. Who am I? No one in particular, but hey, it's a start, right?


Step 2: Figure out who in the workplace chats with everyone. Oh come on, every workplace has at least one person who can't keep anything to himself/herself. You know, as soon as ANYTHING happens, this person is the reason that everyone knows about it by the next day. This person is probably the reason that the people in your workplace know about that "horrible thing you said." (return to Step 1 at this point if needed, continue when ready).


Step 3: Plant the seed. This "office gossip" person is the soil in which it will grow (and you thought YOU felt like dirt...) But seriously, this is the person who needs to know YOUR side of the situation. How you were so nervous about making a good impression that you blurted out something without thinking, and it came out totally the wrong way, and you just feel terrible, and you've lost sleep over it, and it's so awful that he/she would think that you would insult him/her on purpose because they're really such a nice person, and you are just so embarrassed to talk to him/her because they certainly have every reason not to like you, and etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.


Step 4: Rest assured, this will make it around the office within a week. It's very important that you keep a low profile, be meek, keep your eyes down in shame whenever you're near the insulted person, look embarrassed, etc. While this may sound completely underhanded, it's really not. You ARE embarrassed, you ARE shamed, it's just that you need to express these things with body language if you can't do it with words. Research has shown that a MAJORITY of the communication between two people having a conversation comes from their body language and tone, rather than the words themselves (interesting, no?) Practice this "language without words", and be willing to use it.


Step 5: Give it time. Don't expect results overnight. And DON'T let anyone know that you intended for your conversation with "office-gossip person" to ever be heard by anyone else. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!!! NEVER TELL ANYONE THAT YOU PLOTTED YOU'RE OWN FORGIVENESS!!!! Don't... DON'T DO IT!!!


Step 6: Wait for a good time to talk with the insulted person. This can't really be planned, but you'll want to have given enough time for news of your oh-so-terrible remorse to have gotten around. When the time is right, tell them that you are so sorry that what you said came out so very, very wrongly. Don't sound as though you're making excuses for yourself, or your apology will sound fake and defensive. Be genuine (and you CAN be, did I ever once tell you that you should lie? at worst I just said there there were things you should keep to yourself


Step 7: Accept that this may very well not work at all. But come on. If someone makes a genuine apology, concerning something that was obviously a mistake, and shows a genuine sense of remorse, and has their apology thrown back in their face, then it is really the other person who is in the wrong. It's not like you swerved to hit this person's dog in the road or something. If, after all of this, you still aren't forgiven, then we need to accept that they may just be getting a little kick about having something to be dramatic about. But hey, you'll be a good person either way.


Good luck!

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I would just simply confront the person you said this to and be honest.


Explain your nervous slip up. If they are halfway decent they will let it slide and realize you speak the truth.


It is really rather simple. Everyone has said or done stupid things when nervous and caught like a deer in the headlights. I can even forget my name if i stress out enough...never mind coming out with an inappropriate response.


Just do it and YOU will feel better.

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