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Does it seem like others are turned off by you before you’re even able to fully explain yourself? Today I’d like to share 4 behaviors that stem out of our fear of being misunderstood. These can cause other software professionals to dislike and not want to work with you!

Demanding Re-Explanation

A parent will sometimes ask a child “OK, tell me what I just said” to make sure they understand. If you do this to an adult on your project, it sends the signal that you don’t think of them as very intelligent. It also comes across as condescending.

Instead, make sure the other person understands the essence of what you’re saying. If they know enough to take action, move on.


It’s tempting when we’re insecure in some way about our skills to take apart what others say and demand it to be phrased how you would. This comes across as needy, and though you might think it demonstrates your mastery of the knowledge, it turns people off.

As with the above point, when the other person chooses to use different words than you, but they are basically saying the same thing, let it go – they get it.


In our desire to make sure we’re understood, we can sometimes verbally vomit our ideas onto a person and overwhelm them. It takes a lot of energy to have technical conversations, so plan wisely and only communicate the minimum information needed to get the other person to take the actions needed.

Abusing Apologies

In our desire to help other people feel comfortable with us, we can sometimes abuse apologies. Saying “sorry” for a mistake you made, and owing up to it, is a good idea. But if others are upset with you about something you didn’t do or had no control over it, never apologize. If you do, it sets the precedent they can use you as a punching bag.