Life, musings, Opinion, Randomness, thoughts

The art of diplomacy

“Truth without love is brutality, and love without truth is hypocrisy.”
Warren W. Wiersbe

Diplomacy: 1) The tact or skill in dealing with and handling people and managing negotiations

                              so that there is little or no ill will and no offense.

2) Approving skill in ​dealing with people without offending or upsetting them; used in a

positive way to show that you have a good opinion of something or someone

Synonyms: Tact. Subtlety. Finesse. Expedience.

Antonyms: Rudeness. Bad Manners.  Impoliteness. Ignorance.

I remember seeing a quote that read – “Diplomacy is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a manner that they actually look forward to the trip” – LOL. It basically is the ability to say the nastiest thing, in the nicest way.

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One of my most obvious character/personality traits is that I am a very blunt person.  So much that it comes across in just a matter of minutes upon meeting me and it can either endear the newbie to me or completely turn them off, hardly in-between.  Now that’s not to say I’m walking around guns blazing looking for who to tell share scathing words with, it just means I don’t take the time to sugarcoat/rephrase what I mean to say in any conversation.

images (3)I can’t consciously tell you when I became that way but I know that I always hated when in interacting with people, I’d play blind/obtuse about something and  those people will in turn think me a fool for it, so I switched and now it’s the only way I know how to be. I tell MY truth as I see it, I never sugarcoat anything, I do not know how to pretend and I completely wear my emotions/thoughts on my face. Being this way translates into my dealings with people and in any situation, you can count on my real talk. I truly am an ALL OR NOTHING person so between that and being true to my TAUREAN/BULL personality, it’s a hard mix. I have opinions and I’m not afraid to share/stand by them. Strong opinions.

“People who keep their feelings to themselves tend not to know, after a while, what their feelings are.”
Paul Berman

But I look at it as me being straightforward & honest & a person with integrity [if you will] and in this world full of hypocrites and ass-kissers,  it has actually become something I take a lot of pride in – telling my truth the way I see it. HOWEVER, over time, one of the most consistent/recurring feedback/[constructive] criticism I’ve gotten from within my circle is that I lack diplomacy & tact and that I can sometimes come across as harsh.

HORROR!

Obviously, as expected, I don’t like to hear this but as the saying goes… once=happenstance, twice =coincidence and thrice… well! My dad used to say everybody else cannot be the problem, everybody else can’t be wrong – per recurring issues. And I agree. As much as I hate to admit it, it’s time to step back to re-evaluate for real. Why am I coming across this way, even though I mean well? Why am I always having to regret/be sad about an interaction that was not meant to be regrettable? Let me also point out that I try to never offer unsolicited advice as I hate it myself, it’s usually a situation of – you asked, I answered –  so I genuinely wonder why anyone ever comes to me expecting I’ll rosy it up, I’m just not the one. Also, usually by the time I snap and say something harsh, I most likely have tried many times to say it nicely/sweetly but it probably didn’t register so can I really be faulted when it becomes a tad spicier? And because people have selective memories, they conveniently forget all the times I tried to be sensitive but failed. Humans…sigh.

The truth is that I do care how I come across but also on the other hand, I can’t help thinking – are people just refusing to be accountable/responsible when they’d rather hang on to the delivery and ignore the actual point? I’m not a bullshitter. A spade is not a cutlass. I don’t have patience for people who blatantly refuse to acknowledge/deal with reality because I am the complete opposite way. If there’s an issue, I approach it head on and I think it’s cowardly to make like an ostrich and hide your head in the face of a problem. And yes, I understand that everyone isn’t the same but in that exact vein shouldn’t people then at least understand why my approach is the way it is? And I’m not one of those people who can’t take what I dish. I’m a big girl, I can handle it. So when someone tells me something I don’t want to hear, I still hear it anyway. I take it in and internalize it until I’m ready to do something about.  It’s not that hard.

I believe everyone needs that one person in their life who doesn’t sugarcoat shit, there’s a place/need for it; consider it my service to humanity LOL. I kid! But think about it, if all you have are ballons & rainbow type people around you, do you not need a balance in the equation?

However, as I’ve been told repeatedly, there is always a better way to approach stuff. ALWAYS! And judging by the guilt I tend to feel once I realize I’ve hurt someone’s feelings, I agree that perhaps my approach/delivery can be better. Infact,  if I’m being completely honest, even I tend to get defensive when I get this diplomacy criticism so it sort of sheds some understanding on how people must feel when I approach them a certain way, it’s hard not to take it that way. Nobody wants to feel like they’re being attacked, especially not from a friend/loved one; so perhaps tough love [however well-meaning] can come across as an attack and maybe that’s where the fundamental disconnect lies. Sigh.images (2)

To be honest, at this point, I don’t even know if I’ll ever learn this better way of being because I’ve been consciously working on it for so many years now and STILL get people telling me I was harsh in my delivery; so I don’t know if I’m making any progress but I do know that I’m willing to try [HARDER]. Sometimes I want to ask to be taken as I am but then what about self-improvement? If this is something that’s really a problem with me then I simply cannot ignore it [anymore]. However, I don’t think  it’s fair to aggravate someone and then turn around and ask them to be sensitive in their response to you. Still, I want to be better at this so tell me…. how can I actively practice tact and diplomacy in my everyday life and interactions?  I’m tired of being the wicked witch of Worchester…. Because I usually mean well. I really do.

“Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy.”
Isaac Newton

Interestingly, I have been toying with the idea of a PHD in the field of Arbitration, Conflict & Dispute Resolution and Diplomacy for the longest. So when I get this “you lack tact” feedback, I wonder if I’m on a rollercoaster ride to nowhere. Epp me  plix *tears*

Suggestions are welcome but don’t be harsh with it 😀

S.


10 Comments

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10 Comments

  • Reply MrBure September 22, 2015 at 11:17 am

    What in the world are you on about? You’re Fluffy McFlufferson. You’re a puddy tat. If people can’t handle the realisation that kitty’s got claws, so be it. I’ve never known you to be harsh. Firm and fair, yes, but never in a mean-spirited way. It’s not like you’re walking around grabbing strangers and roaring, “You can’t handle the truth!” in their faces.

    I decided long ago that I would smile when I got upset by someone, I would let it roll off me like water off a duck’s back. I have come to be regarded as a very nice fellow as a result. But is it my fault if one day you go to pour water on the duck and Gustav rips your arm off?

    If you really feel it’s a problem, then you have to maybe go “One Mississippi, two mississippi” in your head before you respond to a situation. Then, if it’s still necessary, you bring out the club. *bonk*

    • GorgeousBskin
      Reply GorgeousBskin September 22, 2015 at 11:23 am

      I’m so happy you say this Oria because I’ve known you about 3 years now, surely I couldn’t have been able to “fake” niceness this long if at all that’s what it is. You made me smile so huge with this comment, thank you!
      The thing is, when people say something long enough, I feel I should pay attention and soon enough that becomes the only voice you hear, I think that’s what’s happened in this case. Thank you for this reassurance ?

  • Reply Anu September 22, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Lol! I think we’ve had two major lengthy conversations and I wouldn’t call you harsh. You’re definitely blunt and assertive and I thought it was completely fine! Sometimes, others without a strong position on things tend to get sensitive when those who seem more assertive give their positions. I wouldn’t make any apology for being assertive.

    Love the blog!

    • GorgeousBskin
      Reply GorgeousBskin September 22, 2015 at 12:03 pm

      Ah Anu…. Your first time commenting and it’s the loveliest one. I couldn’t agree more with your rationale especially because of the incident that inspired this post, I articulated my thoughts very clearly & somehow it still ended with “yea you’re right but maybe you should be a little more sensitive” No country for assertive women ha ha .
      Thank you so much much for the ???? . Love your blog too XX

  • Reply Cent September 22, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    Really enjoyed reading that, I’m quite the blunt marafucker myself and I don’t think I would enjoy life any other way but I try not to speak when I’m angry, and just like you, I absolutely do not give my opinion unless I’m asked to.

    My approach has never gotten me too many friends but the few intelligent ones who have stuck around over the years say they like the fact they can always get the truth from me and my bluntness seems to come have come with a deep sense of loyalty.

    • GorgeousBskin
      Reply GorgeousBskin September 22, 2015 at 12:28 pm

      “My bluntness seems to come with a deep sense of loyalty” *bangs gavel*
      I was nodding my head the entire time reading your comment, I completely relate!

  • Reply Bulama September 22, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    Beautiful piece. A brutally blunt self critique. I personally celebrate you for your bluntness and boldness. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being blunt. All you need is a little bit of tact/diplomacy. I believe it is doable. Gladly, from your piece, I can decipher your willingness to improve in the art of diplomacy. This is reassuring. Keep at it. I salute your courage.

    • GorgeousBskin
      Reply GorgeousBskin September 22, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      Thanks

  • Reply Azardous September 22, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    I wouldn’t say there is a problem with you being blunt, it’s just who you are. And you shouldn’t feel bad afterwards if you said or did what it is in GOODWILL. The catch phrase here being ” GOODWILL”. As long as you said it with a good intent or purpose, then put on your jolly shoes and move on. I normally tell people ‘ If you think am harsh, then try the World’.

    • GorgeousBskin
      Reply GorgeousBskin September 22, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      Lol @ try the world.
      Thank you Aza, indeed I never set out with the intent to hurt/offend, and so if that’s the litmus test then I’m good.

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