In Search of Tact
My mother was a woman who spoke her mind. She was not one to mince words. I often wondered about that expression. Mom was direct in an abrupt, abrasive sort of way. By the time we were done with a meal at a restaurant, most of my siblings and I wanted to crawl under the table and hide. She was just being honest. The silverware was not clean or the glass had something in it. It was always something and she was going to make sure they knew it. Mom had her standards and they were quite high. I was often of the opinion that people like my mother just needed a set of skid chains on their tongue. Sometimes many of us are in need of those skid chains. Now, where did I leave mine?
I am not much of a verbal communicator. There was very little opportunity to express myself. Staying quiet gave me lots of time to read and I tried to learn how to say things in a kind and tactful manner. I was married to a man for 25 years that did all the talking. Every thought in his head, came out of his mouth. We called it “diarrhea” of the mouth. Have you ever been to a party with one of those people? They monopolize the entire conversation.
That’s when I started to write my words on paper instead of holding them in. Problem solved, you would think. Not so much. Words on paper have no facial expression and you cannot see the writer’s face. It takes work to tell if what you meant to say got to the person you were writing to in the same context. You can’t see the sender smile because they were being facetious or attempting to be humorous.That’s where skilled writers have the advantage. They have my deepest respect. Knowing how to put words together so another can feel what you are writing, is a skill I desparately want to learn.
I can read a note and be hurt by it, while all the time the sender was just trying to elaborate their point. Been there, done that, know it will happen again and again. How many times have we written a note, hit the send button, only to wish we had a lasso to rein it back in and make a few adjustments? I have deleted more notes and posts than I have sent because the phrasing can so easily be misconstrued.
The writers that I truly envy are those that can write funny. They don’t have to be tactful. My folks had no visible sense of humor. At least I didn’t see it. I think I inherited the lack of it. Please let that be a skill you can learn.
My day is always better if something makes me laugh so I search it out. Janet Evanovich is one of my all-time favorite writers for relaxed reading. Her “Stephanie Plum” series guaranteed a belly laugh. I even bought her book on how she writes. Though I rarely read novels since I have so many other kinds of books waiting, I yearn for light and funny. It’s very healing.
Writing is not something I have a good handle on yet. Maybe I never will but I have to keep trying. So, let me say up front, if I offend anyone, it’s not intentional. If I take offence, I’ll get over it quickly. Life’s too short and words are so powerful. Intention is the key here. My intention is to be kind, with a sprinkle of humor or my attempt at it. I’ll keep working on developing tact and getting skilled with that lasso.
From my heart to yours,