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Advice on how to be more tactful?

  1. Jul 6, 2008 #1
    I have been very blunt with my words for as long as I can remember. It's not that I actually intend what I say to come out as rude or abrasive, it just sometimes comes out that way.

    Does anyone have any advice on how to be more tactful?

    Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 6, 2008 #2
    Re: Tactless?

    If you are being unintentionally tactless then you should think more before you speak.

    Be careful though, the concept of 'tact' is designed to help weak people control stronger ones.
     
  4. Jul 6, 2008 #3
    Re: Tactless?

    I know I need to think more before I speak. How does one train oneself to do that? Most of the time I don't even realize it could have been taken that way untill after someone is mad at me.

    Please elaborate more on your second point?
     
  5. Jul 6, 2008 #4
    Re: Tactless?

    You ever have a debate stop dead because you said something rude? It's never the person who is "winning" the argument who invokes tact. "That was disrespectful. Don't talk to me anymore", etc.?
     
  6. Jul 6, 2008 #5
    Re: Tactless?

    Give an example of what you are having trouble with. Maybe you are to quick to jump to conclusions?

    A good way to become more deliberate in your thoughts and motions, besides training in math which does help, is to work on your deep breathing.



    That is essentially what I mean. Sometimes passive aggressive people who will slowly sap the life out of you by complaining that you are to blunt, while they are actually deceitful and manipulative.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  7. Jul 6, 2008 #6
    Re: Tactless?

    One recent example involved my wife's cousin's husband. He was swearing in front of (actually while talking to) my son (1 year old). I told him "enough with the swearing already". Now my wife's cousin doesn't like me. (I feel fully justified with telling him to stop swearing, just in retrospect I could probably have phrased it better)

    I will try deep breating, and see if it helps.

    I was referring more in the context of every day conversation, rather than debate/argument, but I understand what you mean.
     
  8. Jul 6, 2008 #7

    lisab

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    Re: Tactless?

    My take of your wife's cousin's husband: He knows he was in the wrong but is too immature to admit it. I don't find what you said to be too harsh or direct. Perhaps it was your tone of voice, though?
     
  9. Jul 6, 2008 #8
    Re: Tactless?

    I wouldn't call this a lack of tack. Most people don't like being told what to do, only a few people have enough charisma to pull off what you did.

    The sad thing is that people who care have to make choices. The only way to be a 'cool guy' in the situation you describe is to be mellow and uncaring.
     
  10. Jul 6, 2008 #9

    LowlyPion

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    Re: Tactless?

    Is this your experience because you see yourself "winning" arguments and only but for your getting called on being tactless you feel you get thrown off your game? Or is this a tactic you employ when losing an argument to throw others off?

    Personally I don't see tactlessness as a tactic, so much as it would be descriptive of a skill (or lack thereof) in relating to others, such that whatever conclusion is arrived at all parties might come to a better understanding or agreement, while maintaining mutual respect. As usual opinions may vary on this.
     
  11. Jul 6, 2008 #10
    Re: Tactless?

    The guy should have known better. I wouldnt think twice about what you said.

    I'm like you, very blunt at times. The difference is that most of the time I just dont care when I say it. Now, I dont go out of my way to be rude. But I give direct answers to direct questions if a person asks me.
     
  12. Jul 6, 2008 #11

    D H

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    Re: Tactless?

    There are many cases where being tactful is the better option. Someone else tactlessly swearing at one's one year old is not such a case. Look at the bright side: Maybe the only time you will have to seem them now is at family get-togethers.
     
  13. Jul 6, 2008 #12
    Re: Tactless?

    I can hope :D. I think the best plan is to move somewhere far away from both her and my families (maybe we should just move to the mountains and be a family of hermits).

    Seriously though, I'm not worried about this incident at all. It was just the most recent one I could think of. I don't concern myself too much when I'm overly blunt with people, I was just thinking it might be something for me to work on in general.
     
  14. Jul 6, 2008 #13

    Choppy

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    Re: Tactless?

    There's nothing necessarily wrong with being blunt, in my opinion. Rude on the other hand is something you can and should avoid.

    I'm not sure the best way to go about practicing the art of thinking before you speak. I might suggest as much as possible trying to be aware of the other person's point of view and making the effort to always be as respectful as you can. Also try to thing about what you mean to accomplish when you say something. If it's ego driven - something to make you temporarliy feel better or to one-up the other person - chances are it's best left unsaid.
     
  15. Jul 6, 2008 #14

    Moonbear

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    Re: Tactless?

    How many other ways are there to say it? If he doesn't like you because you don't allow him to swear in front of your child, that's his problem. I think bluntness is fully appropriate in that situation. You don't want to leave room for him to misunderstand and continue swearing in front of your kid. More likely, he's just immature and avoids you because you expect him to act more mature.
     
  16. Jul 6, 2008 #15
    Re: Tactless?

    I'm the same way. If people don't like the bluntness, I don't care, they can leave. I have plenty of friends.
     
  17. Jul 7, 2008 #16
    Re: Tactless?

    Well, there's bluntness, and being straightforward, and then there's just plain rude. I've met plenty of people in this lifetime who excuse crappy behaviour as being "straight up" and "telling it like it is". There's no need for that, and there's no honour in it either. It's nothing to be proud of. People do not need to hear your undiluted, unfiltered opinion of them at all times and etc.

    However, in the situation NeoDevin describes, the cousin's husband might have got a whack in the back of the head from me, (and I'm a pacifist) so I think NeoDevin's response was entirely appropriate. The tactless person in that situation was the cousin's husband.

    Can you think of a different situation, NeoDevin, and maybe we could get a better idea about what you mean?
     
  18. Jul 7, 2008 #17

    lisab

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    Re: Tactless?

    Good point, Georgina...I work with a guy who is always "keeping it real." No one likes him, and he will never be promoted to a position where he works with clients. He cloaks his rudeness as "honesty." Ugh.
     
  19. Jul 8, 2008 #18
    Re: Tactless?

    NeoDevin, I think intelligent people judge others by what they do not what they say! So if a person is honest and kind, real friends will forgive his being tactless.
    I prefer people who may be blunt but sincere to those who are hypоcrites.

    But maybe your problem is that you don't always know how to put your ideas into words correctly, and therefore your words sound tactless? This happens to me sometimes, and I think the best solution is to think over every situation in which you've made a mistake, and think of a better way to express your idea, and not to hurt anybody's feelings.
    (Sorry for my poor English))
     
  20. Jul 8, 2008 #19

    russ_watters

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    Re: Tactless?

    I think that's really the key: tact doesn't filter what you say, it filters how you say it. There are certainly people out there who are sensitive to how things are said, but imo, letting that go and focusing on what is being said is a key sign of maturity.

    In the case of the cursing uncle, there may have been a lack of tact in the delivery (I'm not convinced of that), but the message was perfectly reasonable and the reason for the bluntness also perfectly reasonable. Perhaps the situation is being misread though: maybe it isn't that the uncle doesn't like you - maybe he's just afraid of you?
     
  21. Jul 8, 2008 #20
    Re: Tactless?

    Can people give examples here? I see a lot of vague terms being thrown around and don't know what exactly people mean by them. Some people have different definitions than others.
     
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