Blog › More Manners #4: Discretion and Tact ...

More Manners #4: Discretion and Tact

More Manners #4:
Uses discretion and tact

Discretion: speaking in such a way so as to avoid offending or embarrasing another person; refraining from stating certain thoughts

Tact: choosing your words and actions wisely; sensitivity in dealing with others, especially regarding difficult issues.

If there were one mannerly category that has become virutally extinct in our society, it would be the practice of using discretion and tact. Each and every day we are bombarded with tirades from disgruntled and frustrated people: a reality star meltdown on TV, witnessing an angry customer explode on a retail associate for disallowing a return, hearing a parent embarrass her uncooperative child in the grocery store or reading hateful and inappropriate posts on facebook where posters feel they somehow have the right to blast others hidden behind their computer screen when they would, otherwise, never consider saying such a thing to another’s face. Across the board, many Americans have completely abandoned any sense of self-control when it comes to saying what they think or feel.

It’s vitally important (and a sign of maturity and kindness) to make an assessment of how your reactions might affect others around you. It’s not necessary to lie, but it is proper to consider a more gentle way to state things as well as to ponder whether or not anything needs to be said at all in most situations. In a frustrating or uncomfortable situation, look for the bright side and focus on those comments rather than blurting out everything YOU perceive to be wrong or disconcerting. 

At the end of the day, those people who choose to overlook flaws and verbally respond to others in a thoughtful, controlled manner tend to be more well-liked and embraced by others. We should not allow people to accost us, disrespect us or abuse us, yet we seem to have more power over those situations when we take the high road with our responses rather than feeding on the bottom. 

**In this self-evaluation series, consider your individual behavioral style and privately rate yourself on each topic from 1 to 5 (1 being Needs Work to 5 being Mastery). 

We encourage you be honest with yourself, and when you discover that you might be a 1, 2 or 3 in any specific area, strive to improve that behavior and seek additional knowledge and guidance if needed.