Thin Skin

Are we Facebook friends? We should be. I’ve long since given up on anonymity – though it does make me wonder if I’m talking to people in my life and I’m telling them the same story they’ve already read…awkward – and so we can totally be friends if you want.

But back to the point, if we were, you’d have learned this week that I have both thin skin and a thick sense of rightness. As in doing what’s right. There’s a word for that, right? I removed a sign taped to a co-workers monitor that said “LOSER.” I had so many mixed feelings as I peeled it back and dropped it in the recycling. Not least among them: should I keep this and hand it to him in person? Answer: in retrospect, yes. When I was new to offices, my boss (who was in all respects horrible) came to my desk while I was on vacation and removed several memos and notes from my bulletin board. Some were recently out of date, some were just inoffensive mementos (like a smiley face on a sticky note) but when my staff mentioned it to me in hushed voices, it had a huge sense of wrongness. It was my space, even though it really isn’t, you know?

And so I felt badly for taking down the sign. I was erring on the side of caution. It was probably a joke but what if it was meant to be hurtful? I work at a University with regular training and full webpages devoted to respect. It’s a company policy that’s taken seriously. The sign was disrespectful. More than that, had the Provost come walking through, my boss, etc., it would have been embarrassing for all of us. I decided to take the risk. I don’t know if that was right. If I came to work to find the word loser scrawled on my computer, even by a friend, it would have dented in my whole day. I have a thin skin. My co-worker does not, as he was somewhat put out.

As you can imagine, I haven’t taken it well when my daughter has, very occasionally, mentioned a hurtful comment made by a friend. I can’t embrace the expression “mama bear”, mostly because the ones I know seem to take it a little too far (though given what I know of bears, that’s probably apt) but that’s certainly the way I feel even though I swallow it down and make some (hopefully measured) neutral comment. I guess I tell you all that to tell you this: I wish I had a thicker skin. If you have suggestions on how to fix that, by all means, go ahead – keeping in mind, of course, that I have a thin skin and can and do delete anything that doesn’t meet my own personal TOS  😉


26 Responses

  1. Yes, lezbe Facebook friends. 🙂

    Email me and I’ll give you my fb! Ayslinnichelle at gee mail dot com

  2. We are not but we totally should be. I’ll find you and send a request. As for the pertinent issue…I don’t know. I wish I had thicker skin, too. I have a lifelong sensitive baby, both for myself and for other people. I’m mortified by it about half the time. I’m not embarrassed to sniffle in front of my husband, but the one time I burst into tears in a Board meeting because I felt they were unjustly criticizing me? It’s been 2 years and I’m still recovering from the embarrassment. Granted, it was at the end of a long, stressful conference that I was running, and I was exhausted, and I was also still nursing and did not have my baby with me, so I’d been trying to run this meeting while PUMPING. And the Board members were human so they all understood and were ever so kind, but STILL…embarrassing, yet out of my control. I could not have held back those tears no matter what, and it came on so suddenly I didn’t even have time to ask for a bathroom break to disguise it and calm myself down. All that to say: Thin skin. I haz it too. It’s stupid.

    • Oh my gosh. I have cried in a meeting and I know what you mean – it was absolutely unavoidable and totally embarrassing. I’m still recovering years later!

  3. I think I would have done the exact same thing. Notes like that aren’t really appropriate in any workplace, regardless of how innocent they may actually be. You never know who will see it and be offended. Also, would love to be FB friends if you’d like… dot bee dot design

  4. Ahhh I suffer from the same fate – thin skin, thick sense of right and wrong…I think my wife loves and hates it. Loves my softness and hates that I get hurt often or that I go to bat for others wholeheartedly (even when it’s sometimes not wanted lol). If you email me: joyous crocodile at g mail dot com with your facebook name I’d love to add you.

  5. I’m so think skinned and have an intense sense of righteousness. So I’m with you. And I totally wanna be FB friends! I’m under Andie Lyons

  6. I don’t know if my endless baby pics and periodic annoyance at people being wrong on the internet would drive you nuts but if not, my real name is also j.f. (my last name is an improbable noun and my first name is that of a dead pop singer).

  7. We should be fb friends! gets you to my page. I could even point you towards Jenny’s page. Most adorable chubby baby pics, ever.

  8. We are not friends on Facebook, but that is primarily because I do not know your name!

    I also work at a University, and I think I would’ve done the same as you and removed the sign. But, also like you, I have a very thin skin. So no tips from me!

  9. I am fb friends with you and saw your post, but I didn’t have time to sit and read all the comments nor did I have time to comment. I thought you were totally right. Screw everyone else.
    I too, take everything personally, although I’m really good at acting like I don’t. I’m getting better about not just acting like I don’t, but actually growing some thicker skin. I’ve got no advice on how to do that though. Most of it is genetic and then I turned 40, which really makes you stop giving a shit.

    • I have just turned 41! I need my I Don’t Give a Shit Card. Also, the comments on that post are also righteous on my behalf. No need to read – save yourself some extra righteousness!

  10. Thin skin is inconvenient, but I don’t think it is a flaw. (In others. I’m merciless to myself about mine.) thin skin means we can empathize with others, that we can care deeply about injustice. What the heck is wrong with people who don’t have thin skin? What HAPPENED to them?

  11. My wife refers to me as a delicate flower!

  12. I have as thick a skin as they come. I think I get it from my mom! The only advice I can give is that I never take anything anyone says to me in a negative way. I always use it as constructive criticism, no matter how meant they are. My aunt says, “You’re gaining so much weight again! You were much thinner last spring” and what I heard is, “You looked great last spring. Working out really did wonders for your body”. It’s about not giving power to other people’s words. Sometimes, they just don’t know how to express themselves properly and that’s ok! It takes practice mind you, but after a while, you’ll be a pro. And FB buddies would be dope!

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