Monday, August 19, 2013

On Tact, Or I Will If You Will

To anyone I’ve ever offended because I’ve come off as playing Devil’s Advocate, poking all kinds of holes and whatnot, I am sorry. I do, however, want to explain why I have a tendency to do this
I have spent large portions of my life around various people with some very judgmental attitudes. I, myself, used to be very judgmental, and I still struggle with making snap judgments sometimes. Enter The Devil’s Advocate Phenomenon. In an effort to minimize my own reflexive harshness, I tend to try to see the other side of things. I make myself think about what could have motivated a person to do something that seems strange or wrong to me. And, beyond that, I remind myself that these other creatures walking the Earth are just as entitled to their own choices as I am, and if it doesn’t directly involve me, my opinion really doesn’t matter.

So please, try to understand that I’m doing it as much for my own sake as for anything. I see so much judgment and vicious bile slung hither and yon all the time, and so often it’s about the most ridiculous, superficial crap. I can’t take it, so I say something. I try to be tactful, but if there’s stinky, stinky bullshit afoot, rest assured that I’ma call it out. If that bothers you, feel free to unfollow now. I apologize if my words offend, but that will not stop me saying them.

On a slightly different note, I've been on my own a lot lately, which has afforded me some good reflection time. Thinking about my priorities. Thinking about how I'm going to achieve my goals. And also thinking about the attitudes I have about myself and where they've come from. See, I've spent a fair portion of my life walking the very fine line between being perfectly self-confident and being overwhelmingly neurotic to the point of paranoia. I think many people, meaning well, have confused my veneer of confidence for a through-and-through arrogance and felt compelled to "tell me the truth about myself." Sometimes, it has been from a place of meaning well. Sometimes, it's been in an effort to take me down a peg. Sometimes, it's been to get me to do what they want.

I want to make something very clear: when I want your opinion, I'll ask for it. In writing in this blog, it is totally fair to assume I'm asking for it, and usually, what happens on the internet is usually to be taken with a grain of salt anyway. In person, however, I have ZERO tolerance for emotional manipulation. If you want me to do something, ask. If I say no, respect my no. 

Yes, I'm a painfully stubborn ass sometimes. But y'know what? If you can't convince me, that is just as easily because your argument is flawed as it is because I'm stubborn. So get your facts straight the first time rather than trying to manipulate me into thinking I should do something because I owe it to you or whatever. And while, as you might have guessed from what I said about calling out the bullshit, I am a big fan of being direct and being honest, I sometimes have difficulty if someone giving me "constructive criticism" is doing so out of a genuine concern and desire to help me improve or if it's some sort of manipulation. That becomes a trust issue, of which I have many. 

So do me a solid. If you feel like I'm making a mistake of epic proportions, try to let me know about it in a tactful way. I tend to get really neurotic, so sometimes careless remarks stick with me way longer than I would like.

However, if what you have to say is something to the order of "[person/group of people] thinks [x] about [thing you do], so you should stop," let me help you save your breath: I don't want to hear it. I am looking at going into film, and if I spend all my time worrying about what people think of me, I am never going to leave my house. So button it. I can't afford to care. If you think I'm doing something that is damaging to my person, I might hear what you have to say. But I refuse to sit and pine over whether or not people like me. Ain't nobody got time for that.

I realize as I'm reading through this that it might all seem a little hypocritical. "Oh, it's okay for *you* to speak your mind, but other people can't call you on *your* bullshit?" That's really not what I'm trying to go for, here. I guess what I'm really trying to say overall is that tact is important; understanding is important. It's important for people you don't know, and it's important for people you do know. Just because you see someone you don't know from Adam and your first thought is "what the hell is s/he wearing?" does not entitle you to treat that person rudely or to assume that your opinion is in any way relevant to the situation. If you feel you absolutely *must* voice your opinion or concern, please try to be respectful and tactful. Short of someone committing violence or some sort of harassment upon the person of another, you're already stepping outside of the circle on the Venn diagram that encompasses your business.

Tl;dr: If you must voice your unsolicited advice, please do so in a tactful and respectful manner.
Still tl;dr: Don't be a dick.

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