Advice from The Spark

I try so hard to be nice, but no matter what I do, I always seem to get it wrong.  At work I am constantly being criticised and whenever I try to help by telling people what needs to be done I get snapped at and treated like a nuisance.  Even if I try to show an interest by asking questions about how my colleagues projects are going, I am ridiculed for my ignorance and made to feel like a halfwit.  Nobody appreciates me.  I feel like I would be doing everyone a favour if I just disappeared.  What should I do?

The way you describe your colleagues sounds very much like the behaviour of people under pressure.  They no doubt have lots of things on their minds and little patience for distractions.  You probably feel as though you are helping by reminding when important things need to be done, but to people with lots to remember and never enough time to do everything, any extra reminder of something they seem to have neglected may feel like an accusation or just an extra burden for them to carry.  They will most likely reject or resent your concern.  That’s normal.  It’s most likely that your colleagues are not even aware of your feelings because they are so caught up in their important business, but I very much doubt that anyone intends to criticise or put you down.  A workplace can be a brutal environment for sensitive emotions, so please be aware of your surroundings and don’t take other people’s harsh responses personally.
You suggest disappearing… Well maybe you could try this in a subtle way by avoiding the battle ground of communication with your colleagues and not entering into discussions until they invite you to.  Wherever possible leave your messages, inquiries and reminders in writing, in a business-like, respectful manner, and then put them out of your mind.  Once you have dealt with them in this way, you will have done all you need to.
Forget about trying to be nice.  You can never please everybody, so stop wasting your time and energy trying so hard to be nice.  Your attention will be far more wisely invested in completing your tasks at hand to the best of your ability, and respecting that your colleagues will attend to theirs.  Don’t resent their attitude.  It is not your fault, nor can you fix it.  Just accept the pressure they are under and do what you can to be serene, attentive to your actions and enjoy yourself.

The Spark

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