There is a certain behavior that I have observed during conversations with my work mates, or sometimes during casual conversations with extended family members.
A person will talk about a certain problem, big or small. Sometimes, when I can think of a solution, I offer my opinion on the issue. Most of the times I might have been the least expected person to offer a solution, as well as it being a simple, one line statement, and not an elaborate action plan.
Unfortunately, their reactions have been one of the following:
- Laugh at what I said.
- Stare at me like I have just committed a murder, and ignore my solution
- Make a long face that someone like me has had a solution
- Say something sarcastic or offending. For e.g., 'If you have a solution, then why are you still at this position' or 'This person has good general knowledge' or anything else to mock me.
Of late I have understood that I was answering questions for people to whom I was not the intended solution provider, and hence all of the above things have happened. I am having a tough time deciding when to give a solution and when not to.
If I do not offer a solution at the office I think it would not be fair, because my ideas could, perhaps, substantially contribute to the well being of the company. However, if I speak up, I might be mocked, and I fear the kind of nasty stares that I would get later.
My question is : How should I assess when to give solutions to problems when in a group discussion and the question is thrown at all participating audience and not specific to anyone?
Edit 1 : I am mentioning how I have reacted to such backlash previously:
- There were instances where I was deeply hurt. And couldn't do anything but feel bad about it.
- Sometimes, there would be awkward silence among us and turned out to be very embarrassing.
- Most of the times, it would be shrugged off with statements like, 'You seem to be a know-all' which is more hurtful.
Edit 2 : Edited my question more elaborately.
Edit 3 : As per a few comments/answers, I am mentioning below a few scenarios, where I offered a one line solution.
Situation 1 : There was a kind of quiz program, where we had 3-4 teams. The quiz master asked a few questions for which the answers were one liners. Most of the rounds were rapid fire and not intended to any team in specific. 80% of such questions were in my area of expertise and I answered them in a jiffy. Everyone, including the quiz master, made a long face. My team won, but I was not happy seeing those long faces. My quiz master was not happy seeing my team winning and esp, because I was the major contributor.
Situation 2 : We were all in a team meeting and one of the members was struggling hard to recollect a word that is used for a particular scenario. I was the one to answer it. By the looks of it, he knew it but couldn't remember and was not happy to receive an answer from me. And, I guess, it was a new word to the rest of the team members. I could guess it from their body language.
Situation 3 : A female colleague was discussing about her PMS problems when we were both alone. I asked her if she happened to meet a gynec. She didn't respond to me but appeared to be in a pensive mood. She avoided me for that entire day. We usually have a small chat every two hours or so, during the work hours.
These are the situations which needed one word or one sentence answers and in fact, these are casual ones. Apart from these, there are 3-4 instances where I had given technical solutions too which were met with a long, brooding faces or mocking comments.
Edit 4 : I am writing this after reading all the comments and answers to this thread.
As per the answers I have received below, I did realize a few things.
As @Spagirl has mentioned, may be people were not really looking for a solution and my reply might have made them feel that I do not consider their problem to be as severe as they thought.
Also, going forward, I would be more assertive in my replies. I thought I was being assertive till now, but it is possible that I might have come across as condescending. @Astralbee, yes, I think ignoring the rebuff of my extended family is good for short term. I think handling things at workplace is of utmost importance to me.
Instead of one liners, I definitely would add a few phrases as suggested by @Laura. My reply might have come across as though it was not a big problem.
I request all those who have answered not to delete their replies; every single sentence has been useful to me. I am writing this as I have seen a few answers getting deleted or edited in SE.
P.S: Please feel free to add appropriate tags.