I recently bumped into David (he of Talking Heads fame) at a conference. Our paths have crossed before, we share a few friends, I'm a big fan and he uses permission marketing to sell his records now. I said "hi."
David's eyes flashed, he turned his shoulders, muttered something and rushed away.
What did I say? What did I do? Why he is upset with me?
Of course, David Byrne isn't angry with me. David Byrne doesn't even remember who I am. In fact, David Byrne was busy, or late, or trying to figure out where he was supposed to go next. The last thing he wanted to do was patiently spend a few minutes figuring out who I was and then a few more minutes making promises he wouldn't be able to keep.
The next time you're sure someone is angry with you, perhaps it's worth considering that you might be mistaken. Perhaps that customer or prospect or boss has better things to do than being angry with you. Each of us has a huge agenda, and while it's comforting for some to jump to the conclusion that we've offended, it's far more likely that the person you're talking with merely has something else going on.
In a digital age, our cues for social or marketing missteps might be mistuned. Sometimes, believe it or not, it's not (always) about us. (On the other hand, and just as often, people are annoyed and don't have a clue…)