Knowing how to talk to someone.
I’m not talking about someone good at communicating overall, but about a specific part of good communication, which is kindness.
You’ve heard people say, I’m just BLUNT. That is who I am. The problem is, it isn’t. Bluntness isn’t a personality trait.
It’s a choice.
Being blunt is like letting yourself give into anger. It requires little care or effort to do. It’s difficult to regulate what you say, but I guarantee you those who do have better relationships than those who don’t.
I’m not talking about people that finesse others or smooth talkers.
I’m talking about the regular people that realize that the tone that you talk to people will affect the outcome. The way you speak to someone might be the difference between someone actually taking in what you said or just not listening at all. It’s also someone who even when they’re angry at you will use their words to articulate without being overly harsh when you because they are upset.
The way in which you choose to articulate yourself and your feelings matters. It’s hard for people to be kind and considerate,but it’s possible. Just choosing to speak kindly can change a situation entirely.
Let’s give a real-world example.
You’re a woman, and your boyfriend has a dinner planned out. He takes you to a restaurant. He had to get reservations months in advance to even get seats. He takes you to do something he loves, put-put, at a fancy indoor adult night put-put experience.
You love all kinds of food, but this particular food culture is the only one you don’t enjoy, and you have told him that. You’re not sure if he knows you hate put-put, but you do. It’s your birthday. You’re grateful for all the effort, but you didn’t enjoy your meal, and although you always enjoy doing things with him. You were a bit bored.
These are the two ways you could respond about your birthday.
“Well you know I really don’t like [“insert culture”] food, and I didn’t enjoy it all. And I really don’t like put-put, so I feel like you don’t listen to me when I tell you what I do enjoy. Why would you take me out for my birthday to only do things that you like? It’s like you don’t even listen to what I say.”
“This is the most elaborate well planned date you’ve ever done for me, and I love that. I know how hard it is to get a reservation from [resturuant], I see you. Thank you for doing everything you could to make my birthday as special as possible. We should stop at [insert favorite late-night snack place] and chill there before we head home. ‘” (Waits to have conversations to talk about foods and activities that they do and don’t like later. Maybe taking at most two weeks rather than throwing all at the unsuspecting guy at once).
To be honest, this is a Kobayashi maru test, it’s a no-win scenario. You appreciated a valiant effort, but you like what you like.
But your words have power.
The first response only exasperates the issue and actually makes everyone have a bad night. But when the person chose their words vs just saying their immediate feelings, they built up their boyfriend and made the situation a bit better.
Woman or man, if the words of those you let around you aren’t building you up, then why are they around you?