While perusing twitter today I stumbled upon this blog post Well, Actually by Miguel de Icaza today, and wow this so true. To sum it up, Miguel argues that us software developers suffer from a social weakness, a behavior identifiable by the phase “Well, actually”. When another person is telling a joke or anecdote we tend to cut in when the person has made some false assumption to correct them. Well, actually not just false assumptions, also logic flaws, missing details, and anything else that isn’t “technically” correct (see what I did there?). While many of us developers find worth in ensuring everything is technically correct, it doesn’t help us make friends. Miguel sums it up best saying:
While being ttechnically correct is the best kind of correct, what you don’t realize is that while you enjoy the triumph of your well-actually, everyone around you is secretly hoping that you choke on a bucket of [edited].
I latched onto this article because it describes to a key the reason why my wife and some her friends periodically cannot stand some of the people who I work with. I am not immune from this fault, but there are a few people I work with that do it quite often (and these are the people my wife and her friends get annoyed with the most).
I was never able to articulate why my friends occasionally clashed with my wife until I read this. That being said, and now that I understand the problem, I can take measures to improve upon the situation. I am personally going to monitor my own use of this phrase, and see what happens. I think this would be an excellent topic for a chapter of a book on self-improvement for Software Engineers. Thanks for this one Miguel.