Monday, November 24, 2014

Honestly Rude?

Someone said, "A true friend is he who does not shy away from pointing out your faults" or some such thing. If I could only get my hands on that @#?$ .... The problem, you see, is that I have a lot of friends who think that their duty as friends consists exclusively of pointing out my faults. If there is anything else to friendship, they sure do not acknowledge those things.

Take this particular incident for example. A time when I came to a friend wanting some sympathy and support. And THIS is what I got.

"Yaar! I think people are just unable to hear the truth. And they call me rude merely because I tell it."

"What - like the time we went to Sweta's wedding reception and you yelled, 'Hey! Your husband is bald'"?

"But it WAS the truth."

"And you thought that it had somehow escaped Sweta's notice all along and it was your duty to warn her of it?"

"Well...no...but..."

"Ah! You thought that the rest of us would fail to notice it and it was important to inform us about it?"

"Actually..."

"Maybe you just thought it was important for all truths to be told? But...looks to me that you did not tell the other truth that he had a very charming smile...which you mentioned to us later."

"Skip that! But you cannot say that I was wrong in correcting Varun's English. I mean, he was writing 'its' when he should have been using 'it's'"

"Quite! But did you really need to tell him that if this was the best he could do, he should go back to kindergarten and start learning English all over again?"

"If you are acting so wise, what would YOU have said?"

"I would have told him that he had written 'its' by mistake when he meant to write 'it's'. Why would I assume that it was not just a mistake? And, even if I knew it was not, why should I try to make him look like a fool?"

"You always put me on the wrong foot. But, tell me, what was wrong with my telling Ashish that it was surprising that he had got a job in finance, when he managed to muck up every problem in maths all through school? You know it is true and you have said it yourself." I said triumphantly.

"Not in front of his new boss and colleagues - or did you forget that you uttered that pearl of wisdom when we bumped into him at the restaurant where they were dining together?"

"So..."

"So, of course, Ashish must be very joyous about the fact that this home truth about him was shared with his new boss."

"When you say it, it is OK! When I say it, it is rude, huh?"

"You idiot! As long as you never learn what, how and where to say things, you will always be considered rude and not merely honest."

"I came to you for support. Why are you being so rude to me?"

"Rude? Not at all. I am only being honest."

38 comments:

  1. ha ha ha. Lovely. I know a good many people who boast that they are not afraid of speaking the truth before anyone but, they always forget a minor fact that they are not always able to take the truth themselves when it comes from others.

    Speaking truth needs only insensitivity at times but taking truth needs more guts.

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    1. The one thing I know for sure is that there are very few people in the world who can take negative criticism - though a lot can act as if they do :)

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  2. Very interesting. I think feedback is crucial for us to grow and improve. That said, it rankles especially when it is done in a crude manner in public. I believe that one can be blunt with friends especially in a private message and face to face. But in public, it is a total no-no. Yes, like you pointed out, we are very touchy when we get the criticism but very generous when doling it out. My pet peeve are those who beat the drum of saying that they are always open to feedback but one small critique and you will see them smarting and crying bucketloads even when you have taken utmost care to keep it between the two of you. What do you say of such species?

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    1. The one thing I do KNOW Rachna is that there is practically no-one who can really take negative criticism - and, even where they CAN gain value from it, they very seldom like you for giving it :)

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    2. I have to disagree with you there, Suresh. :) Personally, I will never hold an honest feedback given decently against someone. Many of my friends have giving me critical feedback and that has not made me like them any less. I have also gained from it and have appreciated them for their honesty!

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    3. 'practically no-one', I said, Rachna - which means that there is room for a few exceptions :) So, you are NOT disagreeing with me unless you claim that people like you are the majority of people around :)

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  3. Rude or blunt - that's how honesty is taken as.
    But, tell me, why do people ask us for our 'honest' opinion & then when they get our feedback, they have an issue!
    It takes honesty to appreciate honesty :)
    Honest post, Sureshji :)

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    1. Honesty is NOT enough, Anita! Most things in life are a matter of opinion rather than a matter of fact. For example, you may think this is a rank bad post but if you said that to me you can only be sure that it is your opinion. Whether you can be sure that it is the absolute truth about the quality of the post is open to question. You could say "I am sorry. I did not much like this post" or "This post is useless", and you would be conscious of being only honest in either case. What the recipient is likely to think of your motives for panning the post and your ego or lack of it in assuming that your opinion is infallible, if you said the first thing or if you said the second thing, I leave it to you to decide. :)

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    2. True. That's another honest point! :)

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  4. Hahaha, fun post Suresh! Even i like such truths which make everyone uncomfortable as long as they are not meant for me.

    i am reading after a long time and started with a smile. Thank you for writing such a lovely post :)

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  5. Ha!Don't you know,my honesty is superior than yours.

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  6. True.I guess one should avoid unsolicited feedback. Or they will end up like the sparrow who tried to give feedback to the monkeys.

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    1. That as well - but even where solicited it pays to watch your words :)

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  7. Oh gosh .. I do not like feedback at all.. I cannot take it .. I do not give it either except only when I am given or asked ..

    Coming here after a small gap and enjoyed reading the post ... :)

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    1. I am of the 'When I ask for criticism, I mean only praise' brigade :)

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  8. I am of the opinion that there is a place, a time and a way to say things to others. There are very few who can take it in the way they give it. It's best to keep quiet than be tactless. A social subject very aptly handled like you always do.

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    1. Thanks Ilakshee - you encapsulated the pith of the post!

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  9. Truly wonderful as always:)
    Hope you had a great trek;)

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  10. haha...well I think sometimes while giving feedback, with good intentions of course, we get carried away and end up sounding judgmental..makes sense?

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    1. Quite possible, Naba! But those who do generally tend to realize that the adverse reaction is not merely because the recipient is adverse to listening to honest criticism :)

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  11. In the end, 'how' and 'when' and 'where' you say something is more important than 'what' you say.

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  12. I know a few people like this. Some of them do it in good faith though. But yeah, feedback, especially unsolicited, is best given in private.

    Do drop by mine.

    Cheers
    CRD

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    1. And you better ensure that unsolicited feedback that you give is important to the recipient :)

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  13. Why, only today my mother told me that writing satires has made me a sarcastic person. I am making conscious amends. I guess, if it was someone else and not my mother, I would have been offended. So yes, who, where and what does make a difference.
    Loved the way you made your point by narrating practical incidents.

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    1. Who, Where, What and How :) The more close of the 'Who' is to you, the less important the others are - especially the How. With someone you know very well, you assume their motives to be your betterment; when you do not much know the person, you have no idea whether they are being honest, whether even their honest opinion has validity OR whether it is just that they get their kicks by putting you down :) AND people close to you automatically care enough not to put you down in public - so they take care of the Where and When themselves.

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  14. Excellent! I will refrain from putting my life's experiences and philosophy here, because this post deserves a 'well done!' for the smooth-witty conversation and that flourish, more than anything else. Leaving you with this - "The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made." - Groucho Marx. Hence, we're all doing pretty fine! :D

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    1. Except those who fail to fake it convincingly? :)

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  15. It reminds me of the 'Please dont mistake me' sentence thats normally added as prefix when giving a honest opinion....Should reply 'Of course I will' :D

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    1. At least there the intention is to be polite. Nowadays, I find that politeness take second place to showing off how superior you are :)

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  16. Well, well.. What can I say... I am the odd ball I guess. I say it like it is and if someone doesn't like it, my reply is "Write well if you want a 5 star review darling. I do not waste my praises." :) I always enjoy reading you though. A well written witty piece, as always.

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