Brutal Honesty

I’m not a big fan of brutal honesty; nor do I appreciate criticism. Constructive or not.
I’m an ostrich; I’d rather bury my head in the sand than come face to face with other people’s perceptions of me.
I’m hard enough on myself without needing a reminder from the public at large.

I realize that I’m a big girl and should act accordingly, however I’m really quite certain that I couldn’t gracefully handle the brutal honesty of others. Probably because whatever they had to say would, most likely, reaffirm what I already feel about myself.

The truth hurts, so just zip your lips, you brutally honest people. Slap on a half hearted smile, remove your eyeballs from the rolled back in your head position and through gritted teeth say “sure, I LOVE your whiny nasally voice.” Or whatever.

Unless, of course, you only have heaps of glowing praise to shower upon me.
Fake smile or not, that I’ll take. With as much modesty and humility as I can muster.

Actually, I don’t take praise well either. It does go down a lot smoother than criticism, but I still feel awkward.

And, in case you haven’t already gleaned this information, I have terrible self esteem.

You might be a bit surprised to learn of my inner weenie, considering how opinionated I can be. I’ll boldly opine about things, policies and people I will never meet face-to-face. THAT is the beauty of blogging. I wouldn’t dream of saying anything mean spirited to someone I was having a real conversation with. I think hateful things all the time. I just wouldn’t dream of hurting someone’s feelings in the name of honesty. I suck at confrontation. I cave to whatever is asked of me and then I give in some more.

“Sure, I’ll watch your kids. Take as long as you’d like and PLEASE do not pay me.”

It bothers me to no end when people think it is perfectly acceptable to express their opinions in a rude manner simply because “they’re just being honest.” I don’t really know anyone like that in my personal circle, but I know of the type and find it quite unpleasant. Reality show casts always contain at least one brutally honest person to stir up controversy. And that person is usually the most despised.

Honesty doesn’t have to be tacky.

I’d like to think that I’m a tactful person. A people pleaser. A yes woman.

If I don’t have a perfectly good reason not to do something requested of me, I’ll do it, even if I reeeeaaaally don’t want to.

Of course Craig would whole heartedly refute these claims. It’s my opinion that he should feel honored and privileged to know that I’m comfortable enough with him to be myself. I’ll let you know if he buys that….he hasn’t yet, but I’m holding out hope. Perhaps he’ll ingest that load of bunk a little easier if I serve it up with a heaping pile of chicken pot pie.

I admire those who politely and non-wishy washily say “no thanks, I don’t want to go to the opera right now” or “no thanks, I don’t like to eat fish.” You know I’d be the one eating raw tuna and listening to a fat chick with horns on her head belting out the most hideous operatic sounds.

It’s a good thing I don’t have any friends who are fashion nightmares. I don’t think I’d ever be able to gently make them aware of their tragic, put-her-on-the-“don’t”-list-with-a-black-mark-covering-her-face-page-of-Glamour-magazine.

This really is a rambling topic and I’m slightly concerned that I’m advocating lying.

I don’t *think* I am, but well….I don’t know.

Perhaps I’m advocating minding your own beeswax? Living by the golden rule.

While I can be a “nosy neighbor” and enjoy a good gossip session, I don’t ever feel compelled to tell people how I think they should live their lives. I don’t care how many children a couple chooses to have. None or twelve. I don’t care and it’s not my business anyway. I would never tell someone to stop driving a gas guzzling SUV and likewise, I’d never tell someone their clown car looks utterly ridiculous.

The whole reason I started this post is because Caroline is honest. If she doesn’t want to play with a particular person or participate in a particular game, she’ll say no. I’m glad she’s not a pushover, but I’m also faced with the challenge of encouraging tactfulness.

How do you teach tact?

She’s not necessarily mean; she’s blunt. And offers no explanation. There isn’t a “no thanks, I’d rather _______ right now” or “I’d like to have a snack and then I’ll come out to play.”

She says “no.”

No. And that’s it.

Usually I’ll give her a little hairy eyeball action and she’ll buck up and say “no thank you” but that is it. Short and sweet. Ever the peacemaker, I find myself chiming in and offering a little extra explanation, as to not offend the asker of the question. I probably should stay out of these conversations, but I’m compelled to make things better by a force far bigger and stronger than me. The make nice-nice force.

Caroline is so different then me. If she has a little tiff with a friend, it does not bother her. She just moves on and plays with someone else. I find myself more eaten up about it than her. That doesn’t bode well for the teenage years, does it? I suffered through my own tumultuous teens and now I have to do it again? I may be biased, but Caroline already seems to have a lot more going for her than I ever did, so maybe she’ll be one of the few girls who claim to have loved the high school years.

I’m having a hard time coming up with a way to wrap this up. I think it’s fair to say that we’re all egregiously sinful and I certainly don’t think I’m better than anyone because I’m not an in your face, tell it like it is person.

I just hope that with time Caroline will learn to be more tactful. I don’t want her to be a pushover, because that certainly hasn’t gotten me very far in life. I do, however, want her to consider the feelings of others. I guess it’s like any other life lesson kids learn. When they’re two and you ask them to share, they cry as if they think they’ll never get their toy back. As they age, they lighten up and start to understand sharing. Even at age seven, we still have conversations about sharing and being a gracious host, but overall I think we’re heading in the right direction.

Perhaps the tact lesson just happens a little later in life.

With any luck she’ll learn tact, tooth brushing without splattering the mirror and the importance of having a clean face all at the same time.


2 responses

  1. I admire people who can be honest (without being brutal), and I hate the make nice nice force. It dwelleth in me too, yea verily.Dad and Laura seem to have found ways to bypass it, and that’s good and bad.The thing is, people don’t respect doormats. They wipe their feet on them.Hopefully Caroline will take the best of being honest and mix it with kindness and tact. And then maybe she’ll also learn to like to go shopping.:)

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