One friend told me this week that something I’d written ‘resonated’ with them; another told me I was being ‘a bit judgey’. For me, those statements are different sides of the same coin: on one side, we have ‘yes, I agree with you’; on the other, ‘no, you’re wrong.’ Anything I put online, whether it’s a Facebook status or a blog, is absolutely personal to me. I might write otherwise rhetorical questions in the second person (how does that make you feel?) but they’re often self-reflective (intentionally uncomfortable, since I asked). As I wrote in my last blog, anything which goes online, is published in a book, or said within earshot of another is inviting a response, whether or not there’s an active desire to elicit one. I find it most interesting, however, when a response infers some meaning which I hadn’t considered or, as happened this week, when the responses are so different. To me, it’s a clear example of how meaning is in the eye of the beholder: I might think I’m being clear, but to the reader, perhaps not. Indeed, every reader brings their own thoughts, feelings and history to my words, so it is impossible for me to have total clarity for all. I remember having a similar discussion with an English teacher once: “How do I know what Shakespeare meant? I haven’t had the chance to ask him…” My coaching style relies on asking people the right question at the right time. That might not mean asking a friendly or easy-to-answer question at the right time, but that’s not the point. The aim is to get people thinking and ready to act positively on those thoughts. I’ve written about my favourite question before. Perhaps, then, if you’re feeling judged, it’s time to ask it of yourself and find out what’s really getting your goat.