I received the following feedback from my boss:
- when I smile I come across as arrogant
- I haven't managed to establish friendships with anybody from the office yet (I like some people, but no, I don't have an office bf which is fine for me, I like keeping a bit of friendly distance. They actually asked me to name a single person that likes me)
- people view me as pushy
As you see, the feedback doesn't refer to actions. It refers to my personality or/and soft skills. When I asked my boss about examples, some were given, like: "X claimed you didn't greet them in the hall" (I didn't see X in the hall). They also got very upset when for example, while taking notes during our conversation I happened to smile ("What are you laughing at?").
I tried asking for specific examples and suggestions what he wants me to change, but it didn't bring much. The examples were like the ones listed above. No suggestions were made apart from "you need to change" (no details what exactly needs to change was given).
I feel hurt and have no idea what I should do now. I live long enough to know I should try to fulfil my boss's expectations for both of us to be happy. However, in this case, I've no idea what I should do.
I made some suggestions (e.g. "I will make less pressure, so that people don't view me as pushy"), which he turned down - all of them, without making alternative suggestions. His answer to the pushy one was: "Of course you need to make pressure, otherwise you will never reach your goals" - which is funny, because the only reason I actually made pressure was because the goals I was given were extremely ambitious. He actually said my not knowing what I should do with the feedback is part of the problem he has with me.