"All sorts of entertaining" - Elizabeth Seckman

"Michael and his pals make me wish I lived in Adelaide" - Cherdo

"If I had a daughter, I'd send her to Australia to meet him (and marry him)" - Robyn Alana Engel

"An Australian version of me. Only younger. And Talented. And better looking. Okay, nothing like me." - Al Penwasser

"Whom must I fuck or pay to get a quotation at the top of your blog post?" - Janie Junebug

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Have Some Tact

Part H of the 2015 A-Z Blogging Challenge

A little while ago I got told I have no tact. That surprised me, because I take great care to not offend people. I was sitting in a bar with the Gang when Jasmine casually threw it into a conversation.

'...Yeah but you're different. You don't have any tact,' she said, making me scoff.
'Don't I? What makes you say that?'
'Well, you're very blunt with people.'

That made a bit more sense. I'd first been described as blunt or direct by my radio station's content manager Tom. Back then I was reading the news, and he gave me some quick feedback that I was very "direct" with my bulletins. I had no idea what that meant and I kind of still don't.

'So what do you mean? Give me an example.' I challenged.
'Well, take that shirt your wearing,' she said and she motioned to the one and only button-up shirt I own. I hate wearing formal clothes, but I'd just come from a job that required it, so I was wearing it out. 'I could say "Hey Michael, that's a nice shirt" or I could say "Michael, you wear that shirt every time we go out. Get some new clothes." Which would you rather hear?
'The second one, obviously!' I said. The whole group laughed, because they could tell I was being serious. 'If that's what you're really thinking, I'd want to know. Even if it sucks to hear.'
'Yeah, I think that's what makes it okay,' said Jerida. She'd once described my bluntness as both her favourite and least favourite thing about me. 'He takes as good as he gives.'
'See, you call that tact,' I said. 'I just call it lying.' The group laughed again.
'And there lies Michael in a nutshell,' said Mitchell with affection. 'Just this belief of "Why wouldn't I be honest with people?"'

He'd hit the nail on the head really. I've just grown up with the belief that lying is one of the worst things you can do to people. The reason I don't believe it's "tactless" to tell things as they are is that I'll stop short of letting it actually offend people. So in other words, I'll be as completely honest as I think they can handle. Like if someone shows me a piece of artwork they made and I don't think it looks very good, I'll just point out the bits about it that I do like. I'm not going to say "don't quit your day job. That's just unnecessary.

Jerida was right in saying that I get as good as I give. I just expect that everyone is as honest with me as I am with them and it's caused problems in the past. It makes me very gullible. When I find out I have been lied to, it hurts a lot more than if I'd just been told the truth up front. For me it all depends on where the comment is coming from. If you're saying something critical of me and I can tell you're genuinely trying to help, I'll never resent you for that. I think the world would be better off if everyone else looked at it like that. To me, it's a sign of respect.

38 comments:

  1. I am inclined to agree with you. Honesty is hugely important to me. Mind you, I also belong to the school which says if you have nothing nice to say - say nothing. Which is sort of dishonest. However, if I am asked I will be honest - and as gentle with my criticism as I can be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I think that saying refers to people who just want to cause harm. I'll only ever say something critical to someone if they know I'm not trying to hurt their feelings.

      Delete
  2. I find it devastating to think I've hurt someone, offending them is a different matter. Many people are offended by being called out on their own offensive behaviours, but I've never been able to sit by quietly when someone is being deliberately offensive, particularly to those who can't fight back... for whatever reason.
    I like and respect your take on things. =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you :) I do often find myself keeping out of it when I see someone acting poorly because 1: The idea of "acting poorly" can often be subjective and 2: People acting like that will usually just resent you for it which means you've done more harm than good. However, it's been said that the people who do nothing are just as bad, so maybe I should make a stand more often...

      Delete
  3. It is only very, very rarely that people actually want to hear the truth. That is what Life has taught me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I tend to assume that because I do always want to hear the truth, everyone else must as well :P

      Delete
  4. I live in the South in the USA. One of the things that I find hard to get used to - even though I've been here for 20 years - is the Southern hospitality. Their famous for it, but to me - it's not real. For example, in the North, if someone says "hey, stop by sometimes!" they mean just that. In the South, it's a nice thing to say. But I'll bet if you stopped by it would appear forward and unwelcomed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's interesting. So does that mean that whenever I hear the phrase "Y'all come back now, ya hear?" they don't really want us to come back?

      Delete
  5. The older I get....the more tactful i have become
    Having said this i am more intolerent of poor behaviour and fools......
    When i encounter both, i tend to say by piece

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jacqueline said something similar, I'm sensing a pattern here...

      Delete
  6. I don't think being honest is totally being tactless. As long as you're not offensive, I don't think your tactless. Some people may not like blunt honesty but it's better than being lied to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, it probably depends on the person you're talking to. If all they want is affirmation, it may not be best to drop any truth-bombs just yet.

      Delete
  7. As long as you don't answer "Does this make me look fat?"" to any woman with a "yes" when she does, you should be safe with being honest haha I'm honest with those that deserve it, some I'll just lie to to make them shut up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know what, here's an example of where tact and honesty collided horribly... I never found my girlfriend as attractive as she thought I should (fair enough on her part). I tried to frame it a million different ways to make it sound okay while still being honest, but in the end it still made her feel awful.

      Delete
  8. You just have to know your audience because some people are really sensitive and can't handle truth no matter how much tact is applied.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. It's a shame that some of us can't tell when people are just trying to help.

      Delete
  9. We are definitely with you on this. We tell the truth because we prefer that to lying, but we try to do it in a way that's not mean spirited. And we appreciate when people do the same for us. Especially with our writing. We're never going to improve if everyone just pats us on the back and says "Yep, that's great" if it's not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy a hearty pat on the back ;) Often I'll hear something negative and it'll certainly hurt, but that's MILES better than being told something positive and then finding out later it wasn't true. Or just not being told something at all - say for example if I was making sexist comments without realising it, I'd hope someone would point it out to me so I can fix it rather than just decide I'm a bad person.

      Delete
  10. ha, Jerida sounds funny. And made a great point and interesting that you responded like that! Sounds like you really must give as well as receive :) I love a lot of blunt people though I do have a hard time when I'm not in the mood and they're just (unknowingly) reaming on you, lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah yeah sometimes you really just want to be told how great you are :P

      Delete
  11. It's definitely important to be honest, though some people can't handle the truth no matter how 'tactfully' it may be doled out, and some can dish it but not accept it. Sounds like you both give and receive the truth well, and that's a good thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's probably another one of my very strongest traits - I always, always treat someone exactly how I want to be treated. It can sometimes get me in trouble though eg this honesty thing.

      Delete
    2. You live by the 'golden rule,' which is pretty rare and amazing. Good on ya.

      Delete
  12. Yeah, MICHAEL, you can put me in your boat, too. There are some people who don't like me (shocking, I know!) and one of the primary reasons is because I don't bullshit much (if any).

    When I encounter B.S., I call 'em on it pretty quickly: "Bovine Excrement!" Also, when it comes to the truth, I tend to just "out with it". If you can't handle the truth, then you can't handle my personality either. So... move along, move along. Chances are we won't miss each other much.

    Thankfully, there are some people who still like a man who speaks his mind and doesn't try to sugarcoat everything. That's why I still manage to have... three friends.
    [;-)}

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha well you got plenty of friends here who appreciate for forward attitude ;)

      Delete
  13. My husband is exactly as you've described yourself here. It is a rare, rare trait too. In fact, he's the only person blunt like he is that I've met in my life. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately, I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of it being done any other way. Especially with the news reading example - It's like "So... do you want me to hold back some of the information? Use the word deceased instead of die? What does that mean?"

      Delete
  14. Good to be blunt as long as you do not offend others. You could write you story. Your life is interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like that idea ;) But maybe I'll wait until I've lived a bit more of it - guaranteed my outlook will change by the time I'm 50.

      Delete
    2. >>... "Good to be blunt as long as you do not offend others."

      Nonsense. That's exactly the sort of double-minded disingenuousness that I (and I assume you, Michael) are speaking out against.

      I totally agree that the speaker's goal should NOT be to "offend" others, but merely to speak the truth (as nicely as possible, without undermining the truth). But if some people are offended by hearing the truth... well, SO BE IT.

      I am NOT going to sacrifice the truth in order to spare someone's feelings. Truth is true; feelings are often wrong and psychologically deformed.

      Favor truth over feelings, but take BOTH into consideration whenever possible. That's my rulin'.

      ~ D-FensDogG

      Delete
    3. I has indeed spoken. Indeed I has.
      And who dares to defy my rulin'?
      Ha!-Ha!
      [;-)}

      Delete
  15. This was a great post! You nailed it!
    No, really.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Are you also tact-less in the blogging world? I haven't noticed any deficiency in the tactfulness department myself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, I was explaining to the Beer for the Shower boys that occasionally I quote someone without their consent and they get offended by it :P

      Delete
  17. I believe in honesty, and I also believe in kindness. I guess I go with the adage, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a hard choice to make, because sometimes people need to hear harsh things :P

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Share This Page

Any part of this blog may be reproduced or distributed, providing credit is given to the original author.