Paul Wilson blogs:
In fact, several have went out of there way to tell me how much the hostile attitudes of Frans and Thomas had turned them off!
This is new to me: do I have a hostile attitude towards people? Before you stand up and cry from the top of your lungs: "Yes!", let me explain something.
I'm Dutch, I'm not a native English speaker. We, Dutch, have different constructs for describing politeness in a sentence. Of course we learn at school the difference between:"Give me the book", "Can you give me the book?", "Can you please give me the book?", "Would you be so kind to give me the book, please?" and probably other variants (I might even have made a syntactical error here, but I'm not sure). When to use which variant? I honestly don't know, as in Dutch we don't have these kind of constructions. So when I say "You're wrong", that's a normal construction when you translate the Dutch sentence over to English. However it sounds rude in English, I'm told. But what's the proper sentence in English so it sounds polite enough? I honestly don't know, so I obviously make mistakes. I can of course stay on the safe side and use the most polite construction I know, but that might sound creamy and like sweet-talk, which is not what I want. I'm a true beta, I'm already very happy I can write an English text others can vaguely understand :) so it's truly hard for me to find the right wordings to formulate what I want to say. As I can't and don't want to speak for Thomas here, he too is in this situation by being a non-English speaker (German).
That aside, I can be and often am very direct. I'm not the kind of person who tells you "Good job!" and at the same time thinks "Gawd, what a mess". However as I've learned through the years, you can't always be outspoken about what's on your mind. In the past couple of years I really payed attention to what I said / typed and if it can be interpreted as a rude thing to say: I still tend to be outspoken but now add disclaimers, factors which make it less rude etc.
Sometimes the truth hurts though. Sometimes people fail to accept reality. If a person A, with all his bluntness for whatever reason, tells some other person B how reality really works and looks like, is that person A having a hostile attitude? Personally I don't think so, although A can and should think twice about B's feelings, however that doesn't make the truth less true.
What I'd like to know is (and you can react via email if you'd like): who did I torture with a hostile attitude and when / where did I do that? Not that I want to openly debate all these situations, but perhaps I can elaborate the situation a bit plus understand how others, native English speakers, interpret texts I wrote thus what the difference is between what I meant to say and what was interpreted as what I've said. Thanks.