“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.
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.
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.
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.
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 😀