That’s one of my favorite sayings. Now, I’m not a slogan sort of a gal. I hate aphorisms as much as I love alliteration. But I really think it’s great advice in so many situations. Like: just because you can tell your friend her new highlights are the completely wrong color for her complexion, that doesn’t mean you need to crack open your yap and share that particular brain dropping.
And just because you disapprove of your husband’s polishing off a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, doesn’t mean you have to point out they call it “Chubby Hubby
” for a reason.
Yes folks, I’m talkin’ ’bout tact. And oh, how I do lack it.
I possess no natural filter. I think it has to do with the arrogance I was blogging about the other day. I believe so strongly sometimes in the truth of what’s in my mind that I believe other people will naturally want to hear what I have to say — and what’s more — share my opinion. It makes me a bit tone-deaf on occasion.
I’m working on it. Since I don’t have that natural filter, I superimpose a layer of conscious “restraint of pen and tongue” that I’ve begun developing through adult experience, but it doesn’t always work. Like, a few weeks ago, when I took on a temp assignment.
The job was so dumb and mismanaged, I couldn’t help marveling — quietly, and only a time or two — about how wacky the whole assignment seemed. I joked around with the other temps and chatted during breaks about current events, past jobs, etc. Yet I noticed nobody else was.
There were three other temps and I could swear they were automatons, so rarely did they crack a smile, offer a personal tidbit, show a sign of personality. By the third day or so, I started to get the feeling I was on Candid Camera
— or in the Twilight Zone. I haven’t temped a lot in my life, and these others obviously had, so I got the sense they were probably professionals and they had the right idea about how to behave on a temp assignment, whereas I was being clueless. But I couldn’t help myself. It was beyond me to behave like a stiff for eight hours at a stretch. Lo and behold… I got ‘de-assigned’ from the project during the second week.
I was told they simply didn’t need all four of us anymore — but why was it me who got canned? Was it merely a case of last in, first out, as they claimed? Perhaps. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it was my impolitic behavior that made me an easy choice for the chopping block.
To some degree, I don’t want to change. I like being outspoken and opinionated. But I don’t want to be a boor. That’s where the ethical issue comes in — when my behavior tiptoes over the line — or tramples over it — I want to rein it in and think of how it affects others (and, too, how it may get me in trouble) before I run amuck.
Got a tactless oaf in your life? Talk about it here!