Understanding the Tone of Voice

I had a Tone of Voice inflicted on me yesterday. Luckily, it came with a set of instructions on what I was meant to do with it so I didn't have to guess what I'd done wrong or how I had been a terrible person - this time.

How many times do other people use tones of voice to get their message across without a set of instructions though? Many times I've been subjected to seemingly normal sentences delivered in a sorrowful/angry/irritated/name-your-poison tone of voice which made no sense in relation to what was being said.

I believe this comes under the heading of 'but you should know'.

For instance, we may be having a conversation about where to go for lunch and the words would follow what I was expecting, such as what time, where to meet, where to have lunch and who else is coming along. All of this might be normal.

Replay this conversation with the other person using a short, huffy tone, as though you just ate their last chocolate or kicked their mother's behind and it stops making sense. It becomes a very awkward conversation as I am answering questions and replying to the right things but the other person's tone of voice suggests there is another agenda.

I have found that when people behave this way they either want me to notice so I can be the one who 'starts' it by asking what's wrong or, maddeningly, they don't want to discuss what is wrong but do expect me to know what I've done.

Readers, life is short enough and tiring enough without having to play this pointless guessing game, especially when the reason behind the latest tone of voice turns out to be something we were completely unaware of or was an innocent mistake.

As an aspie of long-standing social clumsiness, I am used to being in the wrong and being to blame for things, but that doesn't mean I instinctively know each time what I have done. Sometimes, no matter how angry or sorrowful the tone of voice, I still don't know what I've done. And just occasionally I haven't done anything at all!

So I would like people to do what I have often requested and just spit it out. Tell me the problem, lay it in front of me and let me look at it. Let's talk about it like grown-ups and not behave like a small child who needs persuading to do what is good for them.

Life is so much easier if we just use the tone of voice to match the words we are speaking at the time and not the tone of voice to match the internal monologue which, to be honest, no one else can hear.


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