My worst fault is also my best feature.
I’m blunt. Downright tactless. I don’t care. Oh, I’ve tried to be sensitive to the feelings of others, but I can’t seem to get it right.
Thing is, I prefer to have my bad news told to me outright. I have an honest belief that everyone should feel this way.
It annoys me to have anything broken to me gently. I think that’s difficult for those who have to tell me bad news because they’re probably still processing it themselves.
Fine, I get that. I really do.
What annoys me is they already know it, and, no matter how gently they try to bring it across, it doesn’t change anything. Bad is bad. I say get it out and let’s deal with it.
It’s always irked me. I was born this way. The depth and degree it bothered me became apparent in the early 1980s when a cousin was diagnosed with liver cancer and my parents and sister heard about it first.
My dad said something about sad news about the cousin.
“Okay, what?” I asked.
“It’s not good.”
“Okay, what is it?
“It’s not good. It’s not good”
“Yes. We’ve established that. What is it?”
My sister piped up. “He’s got two months.”
This conversation seemed interminable. It was no more than 30 seconds, if that. It seemed like five minutes.
Instead of being guided into a mind-frame to accept the news, I wanted to scream: “Will you just tell me already!”
I contained myself and they were finally able to tell me.
Yes, it was difficult for them and no one likes to be the bearer of bad news. But please, if you ever have to tell me anything, just blurt it out.
That’s what I do. I did it when the editor of the newspaper I’d worked for dropped dead back in March.
I had to tell some former co-workers about it. One heard it by phone, another by email. What possible purpose does it serve to tie up their time when they’re going to learn about it anyway?
My tactlessness and blunt words have occasionally gotten me into trouble. More than two decades ago I reviewed a local amateur theatre group’s production and it was bad. Some audience members walked out at the first scene change.
They really did an awful job and I said so in print. My co-workers backed me on this and I received some support from the community.
I was also stopped on the street on occasion and roundly told off including being called various slang terms for body parts that I don’t own.
That’s okay. Comes with the job. Live by the word, die by the word.
I suppose this puts me somewhere between refreshingly honest and insensitive, mannerless lout. But I am that I am and I’m unlikely to change.
Opinions? Anyone else out there like this?
If you must hear bad news, how do you want it?
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