No offense, but…
I’ve been working on a project about real-life philosophy, so I’m sensitive to snippets I hear of how people justify their behaviors as they navigate through their day. A friend and I were talking, and I caught them – twice – saying, “I don’t mean to be rude, but…”. On the second go-round, I laughed and said, “Hey. Let me clue you in. If you have to explain that you’re not being rude, then everyone knows you’re being rude.”
This circles back to a truth we all know: words are meaningless when it comes to revealing character. Behavior reveals character. When you preface anything by saying that you’re not really being an SOB then you might as well wave a flag that says “Ass Hat Alert!” This doesn’t mean that you should never set someone straight or talk straight to a point. But that’s the key: talk straight to the point. Do it kindly. You don’t have to be condescending or mean-spirited and most people will respect straight talk.
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Read here about the power of words.