Where is the line between tactlessness and directness?

Where is the line between tactlessness and directness?

On the one hand, we respect people who tell the truth honestly, to their face, who don’t wiggle and who share their opinions frankly. On the other hand, such truth may not please someone else or may not please ourselves, may offend and offend. And then how can we call such a person: tactless, rude, harsh?

Of course, it is necessary to analyze each individual case, it is necessary to take into account the personal features of the person. In general, there is a fine line between tactlessness and directness. I suggest that we look into this topic in more detail.

Here are the important starting points that help draw that line.

1. The ability to engage in dialogue

A tactless person is like a machine gun firing an opinion. It is important for him/her to express himself/herself, to pour out everything that has accumulated in relation to this object or subject. Often forgotten and rolls into sweeping criticism, accusing everyone and everything. But an alternative opinion is not ready to listen – runs away, interrupts, start to criticize the opponent.

Simply straightforward person who does not slip into toxic tactlessness, is able to conduct a dialogue, listen to other opinions. Expresses himself, gives the opportunity to express others, that is capable of discussion. He is interested in the exchange of opinions, it is a source of knowledge of the world and self-development.

2. Understanding that his/her opinion wants to be heard

The tactless person does not care whether or not they want to hear his opinion. Whether or not it is appropriate at the moment. What others are doing right now, etc.

A straightforward person, who observes the boundaries of decency, speaks out when his/her opinion is asked. Or when the environment is conducive to such a discussion. When it does not descend into accusations in the guise of truth-telling.

3. Is he/she ready to hear it back?

Insensitive people are often extremely intolerant of criticism in return. They react extremely negatively to the mirroring of their own patterns of behavior.

A straightforward person, but capable of self-respect and respecting others, speaks with as much sharpness and toughness as he is willing to accept in response. He will not run away, take offense, or attack his opponent violently.

4. Conscious or unaware of own behavior

The tactless person often lives in this mode. Such a person is not aware of how he or she looks from the outside. Doesn’t realize how inappropriate it is.

Just a straightforward person is quite self-critical of himself. He knows for himself that he can be direct and harsh, that he will not be silent. Therefore, all the same manages his behavior. He knows the limits and measure.

5. Awareness of personal boundaries

Here we mean what the person feels: does it hurt the feelings of the interlocutor, does it hurt his honor and dignity?

The tactless one is not very familiar with the topic of personal boundaries. Much less understand the boundaries of others.

A straightforward person who behaves “without skewing”, chooses an appropriate pitch, format, verbalism. He or she will not cross the line that will hurt feelings.


On this subject we can talk a lot. Everyone presents some examples of their own. The main thing is to learn to recognize the edge of reasonableness, to analyze your behavior and be able to defend yourself against those who behave indecently to the point of indecency.

Mark Twain said very wisely on this subject:

“The truth should be served like a coat, not tossed about like a wet towel”.

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