I Didn’t Know I Was Being Too Blunt

By Lisandranette Rios

I was always told I am “so sweet,” quiet, caring and all of the other fuzzy, whimsical adjectives in the dictionary. That was until a few months ago, when a group of my female co-workers, who are also close friends of mine, jokingly pointed out that I’m too blunt.

We work in marketing, a field in which the more personable you are, the better your success rate will be. The psychology behind influencing is a real thing, and I discovered I sometimes slay and sometimes fail in this. The conversation came up when we were reviewing one another’s emails and giving feedback on how each of us can improve our outreach. My feedback all went a little like:

  • Too blunt
  • Too direct
  • A little sassy

When I am texting people or trying to finish tasks, I tend to just say what needs to be done or answer others feedback in a short, direct reply.

It seems that sometimes good intentions fall short when you deliver messages without extra care.

As far as me being this way toward my friends outside of work, one of the ladies from this group told me that she knows I’m blunt and “tell it like it is” because I love her. See? It’s with good intentions. And I agree with this: I would rather tell you something that I think will definitely help you, even if it might hurt you. The trouble is I’m not one to sugarcoat.

But it was hard to ignore that people were commenting on my bluntness at all. I was raised to stand up for myself, speak my mind and be respectful. Somewhere down the line, my mother’s own nuyorican — puerto rican from New York — mindset of standing up for herself, speaking her mind and being respectful rubbed off on me and took a life of it’s own. Unfortunately, that meant things I was saying came out too harshly. Part of this comes from the need to always stand my ground. That defensive approach in life has kept me safe, but now I see I can tone it down and still be a powerful young woman.

Now that I know I can be too blunt, I’ve taken steps to get back to delivering my intentions with care. I will still let you know when you are being a jerk, and I still will not let anyone walk over me, but it was good to be forced to see a negative side to this part of my personality that I did not realize was affecting my relationships.

Some tips to help you reflect how you interact with people:

  1. Are you rushing to reply to someone? If the message isn’t urgent, you can give a more detailed response.
  2. Don’t want to go to another party at what’s-her-face’s house? Talk to the person who invited you personally and tell them you don’t want to go, but add that you want to plan something else to do together instead.
  3. Check your sarcasm. Some people just don’t get it. Save your cleverness for where it’ll be appreciated.
  4. Everyone is not out to get you. Sure, some people down right suck. That’s OK! You can choose to stop interacting with people who make you put a guard up and go into you defensive/blunt mode.
  5. Breathe and think. The best thing I have done is take a few extra seconds to process what I want to say before I say it. You already know how that saying goes.
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