Speaking truth when it may be nicer not to

Have you ever had one of those moments where you had to choose between casually saying the honest thing, and whether to just try to forget about something you were gonna say because you are afraid that intensity will crush a friend’s feelings?

These aren’t even the important kind of moments, which makes them kind of ambiguous. Are you ever concerned that some of your statements may scare the living daylights out of people, not because they aren’t true, but because some things that need said are raw truths? The kinda thing that can paralyze people for a second? You either get a delightful shocked she-just-went-there kind of laughter, or you get silence or even awkward. I’m not sure any of those things actually matter, and of all the things that might break people, I think it’s generally better to just say it.

Just because you decide to say something that maybe you should not doesn’t mean you have no filter. It could just be that you’ve carefully weighed your options and decided in a sober state of mind that it’s entirely worth it. Some conversations need started, and even sometimes when they don’t end well.

But this is a touchy thing. If it’s a given that you can’t stop someone from misinterpreting the sentiment behind your words or the words themselves, is it best to still air on the side of caution? What if those words really needed being said? What if it’s worse if you don’t?

I go back and forth on this one. Clearly some people are more predisposed towards causing even benevolent conflicts than others, and some people get way less scared by it. Some people are born with a sense of tact that never requires them to feel intensely confrontational. After a long time of thinking, I don’t think those differences are bad, but it certainly does make clear how different gifts can be. Not everyone should be a wreckingball. But just because you are willing to say exactly what needs said doesnt mean you should all of the time. If tact is more important than your ego, then you should use it. If tact is less important than being honest, maybe that should be a given also. It’s funny how many people see those who are confrontationally honest as a threat. All people are made differently, and some of us can’t help the desire to say it like it is, even if we can choose not to use it.


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I am a second-grade teacher and pastor-to-be who loves people. I spend my weekends with friends or wandering the museums of DC alone and with a journal, trying to put words on the places of the soul that still feel wordless. I spent most of my days at school trying to learn patience through my students and running on sheer nerdy passion. I follow Jesus Christ, and savor that as my most important identity--that I am a child of God, as are infinite others, regardless of their other identities. Christ is my one thing.

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