Tactless and insensitive. We’re starting to get into those uncomfortable words. The words that are a little harsher and not so easily dismissed. The words are harder to relate to because we don’t want to relate to them. These aren’t words that we want to admit to.
I admit that I can be tactless and insensitive. Not intentionally (all the time), not that I want to be, but I am.
I truly believe that my tactless tendencies are genetic. I was born with them. That filter in your brain that prevents you from saying things you shouldn’t? Yeah, I don’t have that. Lots of times, it’s out of my mouth before I’m done thinking it.
No big deal, right? That happens to all of us at times. We realize as soon as it comes out of our mouths that we said it instead of just thought it and we shouldn’t have said it. We go red-faced and scramble to make up for it. That happens to me, sure. But most of the time when it happens to me, it’s only when I get in trouble for what I’ve said that I realize that I said it and what I said shouldn’t have been said. I have a kind of delayed reaction to my faux pas that lands my butt in hot water.
On the occasions that I do complete the thought in my head before it escapes my lips, I then have to make the split-second judgment of whether or not I should say it. The call I make is not always a good one. I’ve said a lot of things that I shouldn’t have because to me, I don’t see them as bad.
I’m a terrible judge of these things. I grew up with very blunt parents. In fact, bluntness is as common in my mom’s family as pointy noses, which is to say prevelant and dominant. It doesn’t occur to me to sugar coat things or beat around the bush. It comes out of my mouth pretty much the way I think it without much softening or refining. I don’t necessarily think that it’s going to hurt feelings.
So I’m considered tactless and it’s that trait that contributes to me being insensitive. Whether I think about it or not, much of the stuff that comes out of my mouth is blunt and people not conditioned to that bluntness get offended. It’s not that I intend to offend them. I can’t control their reactions. I try to gauge my words by whether or not I’d be offended, but since I came from blunt parents, not a lot offends me. I can take some real brutal honesty.
Other people were brought up with a little more tact and sensitivity, so it doesn’t fly. They expect a little courtesy. They expect a little discretion. They expect me to keep my mouth shut if I don’t have anything nice to say, and if I have to say it, then I should say it as sweetly as possible.
These people expect too much.
It’s not that I want to be a tactless, insensitive bitch. I don’t set out to stomp all over people’s feelings. There have been many instances in which I was actually trying not to upset someone. But with that tact barometer off, it’s a struggle.
I try to be more mindful of what I say. I try to think about my words, measure them carefully, try to sweeten them up when I need to. And sometimes I succeed. I wouldn’t say it’s a losing battle with these two bad words.
However, it’s the instances in which I succeed that make my failures look so much worse. People know I’m capable of being tactful, so when I don’t come through with it at a critical moment, it’s that much more shocking and the fallout ends up being that much bigger.
Dare I say that I’ve gotten use to the backlash. Inevitably, at least once a week, I’m going to upset someone. Something I say is going to be taken badly by someone, no matter how I meant it or if I meant to say it. And I deal with the consequences.
And I cherish the few moments when I get it right.
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