How tactful are you?

 

 

 

 

 

Some have mastered the art of keeping their thoughts to themselves whilst others just cannot hold it in otherwise they will burst!

When I was around six or seven years old, I was out shopping with my mum and sister and a woman walked passed. I blurted out “Mum, that woman smells like fish”. Apparantely my sister and I proceeded to hold our noses. My mum said she wished the ground would open and swallow her up but admitted the woman did smell of fish.  Whilst the woman probably felt embarrassed by our words, she would have been more likely to forgive two young children as oppose to an adult who should know better.

As adults we should aim to soften our words when speaking to others. Some conversations are awkward and bring discomfort but must take place whether for the benefit of the speaker or the recipient or to resolve a situation.

I tend to be a straight talker. Generally I do not say much but when addressing issues I keep to the point. There are times that straight talking is warranted and times where an element of softening is required.

Just before my husband and I married we visited his family member.  A cousin of the family member (not related to my husband) also visited. We spent time talking about the forthcoming wedding and my husband began to explain in large depths that we could not extend an invitation to the family member’s cousin due to venue numbers etc.  I think I piped in to round up the conversation and added that invitations had gone out and we have no more spaces. When we left to make our way home my husband mentioned I was a bit harsh. I asked why he felt the need to over explain to someone he had only met for the first time. Needless to say my husband was far more of a people’s person than I!

Thankfully since then I have learnt the art of humouring people. Believe me when I say I have to work at it because it does not come naturally.  I find staying quiet is a good way of avoiding putting your foot in it. In my opinion, the more you speak, the more likely you are to say the wrong thing.

Do you operate with tact?

Have you always been this way inclined or do you have to work at it?

What was your last ‘I have just put my foot in it’ moment?

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12 thoughts on “How tactful are you?”

  1. I think another word for tactful is “kindness.” It isn’t tactful or kind to tell someone she’s gained weight or you don’t think her new hairdo is becoming. Sometimes the best course of action is to say nothing at all!

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  2. I think I’m tactful most of the time because I tend to analyze the person and conversation and try to feel empathy. I certainly know people who are always without tact and don’t seem to care that they hurt feelings. There is a talent to not saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, but I think we all shove our foot in our mouth from time to time.

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  3. Tactfulness is definitely an art, Phoenicia. I’m not always the best at it myself. But I have learned over the years that many people are extremely sensitive, and it is therefore best to keep those sensitivities in mind when we are offering comment.

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  4. Agree with what you write. It’s, however, not always possible to be thoughtful. When something happens out of the blue and you need to react immediately your instinct takes over. For better or for worse.

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  5. A great blog as always Phoenicia! Do I operate with tact? I have to say it depends on the situation. I can operate with tact but also sometimes I shoot straight from the hip, I’m still working on speaking the truth with love.

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  6. I was told I could sell ice water to eskimos, and am not sure that was a compliment. I think it meant I tend to “pretty up” the truth and give a rose colored hue to a darker situation. I am not sure that is a bad thing, though. The Bible talks about the power of the tongue to build up or destroy. So, it is an instrument we must take measures to control. I like what you said about you have been more straightforward in your responses. My problem is that I tend to take the conversations of others and condense and simplify, then feed it back to them; as if to say, “is this what you are trying to say./” It seems to imply that the speaker appears confused and, me, in all my wisdom and knowlege, have to clear him up on his issues. On the other hand, it is an indication that I am , indeed, listening to him/her. Good post giving lots to think about.

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