78 Notes to Self: A Tarot Journal

We are all wanderers on this earth. Our hearts are full of wonder, and our souls are deep with dreams.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Honestly? You're Just Being Rude.


I almost scrolled past this picture on my Facebook newsfeed, but I stopped, scrolled back up and commented: "Can be both.  No need to be rude."  It's funny how small things will set off a whole train of thinking in my head and this was one such trigger.  There does seem to be a fine line between saying something honestly and saying something rudely.  My friend commented back and said that he never intends to be rude, but I don't think intention is the key.  Although by definition to be rude implies that one meant to be impolite or that one doesn't care that they were, it can also be the result of one's own ignorance.  We've all made those gaffs, where we say something offensive, not meaning to cause offense, but did so because we didn't know the other person's soft spots.  I'm writing this keeping in mind that etiquette expert Miss Manners, Judith Martin, once said that it is the epitome of rudeness to correct another's manners.

Almost any unsolicited opinion will be considered rude, so if you haven't been invited to comment on something, don't.  I think posting something on your blog or on a social network is inviting commentary, so it irks me when opinions are given and the original poster says, "I didn't ask for your opinion."  Um.  Yes, you did.  See that "Comment" link under your post?  Still, that shouldn't give folks carte blanche to be rude, it just means we did open the floor for comments.  I worked with someone who assumed anything that was said within her earshot was fair game.  While her comments weren't necessarily offensive, the way she would interject herself into conversations that weren't directed to her was, in fact, rude. 

However, if we are in a position, as tarot readers are, to deliver honest feedback we must be aware of this line between honesty and rudeness and walk it carefully. Relationship readings can be minefields that need both honesty and compassion to navigate.  So you're reading for someone who has a thing for a guy who has dissed her repeatedly and who has flat out told her he isn't interested.  They had a thing a while back and he hasn't communicated in months.  She wants a reading on when they will get back together.  Depending on what the cards say, and I've been shocked sometimes so I never assume anymore, but let's say the cards are telling her to let go, move on, it's a done deal, and you've got to tell her this without insulting her.  You could say, "You're obsessed.  Stop it."  Or, "Get a clue!"  Or you could say, "I honestly don't see, according to these cards, any movement in your direction from him.  Is there anything he has said or done recently to give you the impression he is intending to reconcile with you?"  She says, "No, but I just know in my heart that he will."  So then I might say, "Sometimes when we want something or someone really bad, we can convince ourselves it is true.  And sometimes that works and we get what we want eventually.  But meanwhile, until it happens, we need to live our lives in the reality of today and today he isn't contacting you, so do you think you can accept that?"  OK, you get the idea.  Rudeness shuts down two-way interaction and communication.  Honesty without rudeness opens that channel.  Certainly we all have our own communication styles and some of us are more direct than others.  I envy those who are able to be honest, direct, and kind.  Me? I'm wordy.

Some agree with Shakespeare that there are times we need to be "cruel to be kind" and that to help someone we must deliver the harsh truth knowing it will sting.  It depends on the relationship.  This adage from Shakespeare is from Hamlet and it involves a relationship between a son and his mother.  It isn't just a random fly by directed towards a stranger or mere acquaintance.  In fact, in its original context, Hamlet is burdened by the reality that he must hurt his mother in order to effect the change that must be.  Most rudeness doesn't care that much.  Therefore, rudeness is not "tough love."  It's not love at all. 

Does honesty without rudeness take more effort?  It sure does. Rudeness is lazy.  It's also a sign that someone's trying to come off as "tough" or callous.  That's fine on occasion, I suppose.  I've been known to deliver a rude comeback when the situation or my mood seemed to call for it.  Not that rudeness is really ever called for, but yeah, it happens.  It means I'm not interested in dialogue, but in slinging verbal shit at that moment.  My unintentional rude moments, however, were probably a result of not taking the time to consider how my words will be received or whether they will be productive to discourse.  A genuine apology and an explanation which takes the time to empathize with the other person usually closes that gap.  Kindness is stronger than rudeness and some of us should exercise our kindness muscles more.