Mind-reading got me through my young life — constantly scanning faces, words, inflection and situations for the teeniest clues of disapproval, displeasure or impending danger, and then adjusting my actions accordingly.
It helped me negotiate volatile and irrational authority figures.
It likely improved my software analysis and design.
But I’m learning that, when dealing with fairly decent human beings, my hyper-vigilance often backfires.
Disguised fear may look like dismissal. Extreme sympathy may be disguised as awkward rudeness. Colossal insecurity may be disguised as arrogance and (in the grand scheme of things, harmless) hostility.
And that, disguises or not, I’m safe.
So, thank you, Mind-reading, for getting me to safety.
Enjoy your long-overdue retirement.