Thursday, June 7, 2012

Tact

I'm not lounging like I was at Duck anymore,
but I'm still feeling pretty swell hanging out
here on my couch this morning.
I have today through Monday off from work, so be prepared to receive multiple blog updates from me. My bills are paid, my laundry is drying, and the whole weekend stretches before me, filled with good things to do and plenty of time to nap! Man I love my twenties, anyone else feel that way??

This post is actually supposed to be about my teens. I was trying to explain what teenage Lindsey was like to my friend Ray recently because he was SO sure teenage Lindsey was super opinionated and bossy. I had to tell him he was half-right. I was actually pretty quiet in high school (and DANG quiet in middle school!), but I did have my own small way of showing my strong opinions back then. Revelation: I had little-to-no tact as a teen. I said whatever came into my mind in conversations, and I had absolutely no recognition of how my statements helped or hindered my relationships with others. Did anyone else have to learn tact as a teenager? Sometimes I remember certain things I said in high school and I can't BELIEVE people didn't call me an idiot to my face, all the time.

There is a point to this rambling confession. I want to hi-light my genius mom one more time this month. While I was talking to Ray, I distinctly remembered a conversation I had with my mother that I think was a real turning point, a moment when I started to realize how to empathize with and make friends of others through talking. We were carpooling to school one morning and one of the other girls mentioned how much she loved the Creed song playing on the radio (Sidenote: BAHAHAHA!). My immediate response to her was the flat, gratingly honest statement, "Ew. I HATE. That. Band!" End of conversation until we arrived at school and thanked my mom for the ride.

When I came home that day my mom gently observed to me, "Lindsey, I know you hate that band and that's ok, but how do you think Sidney feels when she talks about something that makes her happy and you shoot it down? Do you think she will still want to talk about other good things to you?" And for whatever reason, what mom said at that moment clicked. I had the opportunity to make a friend, and I had kicked it in the face! I'm grateful mom had the presence of mind to teach her oddball 14 year old a superb, succinct lesson about empathy and communication.

It's a long process, learning how to ask good questions of other people and how to respond tactfully, charitably, happily, and respectfully. I'm not done yet. Sometimes you just GOT to say exactly what you think, and I'm still parsing out what things are ok to state and what things are better to keep to yourself. But it's a worthwhile pursuit, because the end results are genuine friendship and making people feel good about themselves, feel interesting and important. Does anyone have any rules they follow that they really feel has helped them talk to people better? Mine is just to start and end conversations with empathy, put yourself in their shoes.

2 comments:

Amanda said...

I am still working on that whole think before you speak, thing. And that's what's good about roomies or a husband, you can baahaa people's crappy music taste to someone who will laugh with you.

Amanda said...
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