So, I had a very small confrontation last week with a coworker that came and went very quickly but has been internally bothering me for a few days. We'd been communicating back and forth about the details of a small group of docs going out and I was clarifying different points that she has asked me to change. She was being very straight forward and I was attempting to respond in a like manner. Important note, we were doing all of this via google chat.
After going back and forth for a little bit, she finally came down and asked me if I was "trying to be snooty, or what." My first response was confusion, as I had been making no attempt at such behavior (and while I can occasionally be rather snarky and sarcastic in my responses in relaxed social settings or when I'm very angry, at work, particularly in writing where tone and intent are often lost, I try very hard to be clear and accurate in what I say), and then I felt slightly defensive at being accused of being snooty. We worked out the confusion (both the inaccuracy of me trying to be snooty and my confusion with the project) but it left me mentally smarting for awhile, trying to figure out what in my writing had given the wrong impression.
Here's my conclusion. I, though human and flawed, surely inconsistent in many things I try and do, greatly appreciate consistency and feel obliged to point out inconsistencies where I see them, particularly in the work place where those inconsistencies (or the lack of knowledge on my part of what is "consistent" due to somewhat sloppy training - a fault that is acknowledged at my work) can greatly slow the work flow. And in the course of that one conversation I'd pointed out at least two or three inconsistencies, to myself apparently straight forward observations, but to her, seemingly sarcastic and "snooty". I'm certain she thought I was passive aggressively saying I didn't want to do the things she was asking me, but this wasn't at all the case. I can be passive aggressive, and probably often am, as I don't like confrontation, but in a situation like this, where I'm being paid to do the things she's asking me, I most definitely won't be.
Anyway, I think my observations are both justified and helpful long term, but I'll have to work on making it clear exactly what I mean when I make them.