Ask the Experts

How To Soften Blunt Talk

“I am a 37-year-old who is trying to stop being so blunt with friends. I feel like I need to tell the truth to everyone. Help!”

You can be authentic without being offensive. Sometimes the truth does hurt, so if impulsivity is a challenge, we have to pause and consider our responses. The first question to ask is: does it need to be said? If it does, the second question is: does it need to be said by me? If we don’t know someone well, or don’t have a good rapport with him or her, it may be better if someone else provides the sensitive feedback. If something needs to be said, and you are the right person to say it, the third question is: does it need to be said now? Saving your response for later might be more appropriate.

Holding back a response is difficult, but you will get better at it with practice. Give yourself time to respond politely by saying, “that’s something i need time to think about more.” Disagreement is not a bad thing; it is how we disagree that makes a situation contentious.