Sunday, November 11, 2012
One of my favorite types of people are the ones who say they just “tell it like it is” when trying to explain why people don’t like them.
For the record, I haven’t quite mastered the art of writing with sarcasm. So forgive me if you were turned off by the first sentence. On the flip side, if you agreed with the first sentence, I suppose you should forgive me for what you’re about to read.
I know plenty of people who tell it like it is and still are well-liked. Martin Luther King comes to mind. Well, I suppose there were some people who didn’t like him, but that had nothing to do with what he said.
One of my best friends, Kim, has this magical way of telling people to their face that she can’t stand them. She proceeds to rattle off her reasoning, yet they still want to hang out with her. The late and great Nora Ephron made a living and legacy of holding nothing back, and I think you’d be hard-pressed to find one person who knew her or knew of her who would dare say, “Yeah, I’m not a big Nora Ephron fan.”
While comparing my sorority sister to Martin Luther King might have punched a hole in my argument, the point I’m trying to make is that if people don’t like you, it’s probably not for the reason you think it is.
I’ve never been at a social gathering where someone has warned me to steer clear of another guest because they’re too honest. And I live for the day when someone says, “I’m not going to vote for him in the next election. He tells it like it is.”
This phrase has become an excuse for people to be just plain nasty. I know. I’ve used it. I’ll probably use it again. It’s a common phrase in our society, so common in fact that several titles of websites and blogs preface the saying with “I’m not a hater ...,” “I’m not a jerk ...,” “I’m not a snitch…,” “I’m not a (rhymes with snitch) ...” and all end with “... I just tell it like it is.” Real classy.
While honesty should be revered, what happened to being diplomatic? The difference between the two is the sensitivity and effectiveness that comes with diplomacy that is often lacking in brutal honesty.
While there are some situations that call for a “snap-out-of-it” moment, that rarely is the case. To walk around saying whatever you feel whenever you feel it in whatever phrasing you choose to feel at that moment you feel it ... that’s just plain nasty. Don’t mask it under the guise of honesty. Just stop being a jerk.
I wanted to tell my boyfriend the other day how the Levi’s he wears make him look like he has grandpa butt, yet I chose to be ... whoops.
A fitting way to end this column would be to say “I’m just telling it like it is.” But that would be too easy. So I’ll end it with an equally annoying sentence that makes no sense to me and that I probably will write about at one point and no doubt use to end some argument in the near future.
It is what it is.
Dear Open Letter Writer,
I’ve been seeing a lot of you lately—on Facebook, in newspaper columns and even in spoken conversations. This banal form in which you choose to vent is not becoming—but has become—outdated, tiring and just plain unfunny.
There seems to be a lot of angst in our world, and prayers and upset are often, and simply, addressed through this method of expression quite frequently. While I appreciate you taking out your despondence in a peaceful and non-violent manner, I have to tell you—I’m just over it.
I can understand the letters that ask for a favor. “Dear weather, please behave on my wedding day.” Or “Dear Illinois Lottery, please let me be the Mega Millions winner.” These are hopeful, harmless pleas that would make your day that much better. However, you must realize you sound like an idiot, right? Can we just be old fashioned and go back to praying to God who, if he does exist, has a much better chance of making these things happen?
The other day you wrote “Dear lady standing in front of me at Starbucks” and preceded to vent about your high level of annoyance at her inability to order drinks for her office in an efficient manner, thus making you late for your pedicure. I just don’t feel bad for you if that is the greatest discord you face throughout the day. By the way, do you suppose this was the same woman who cut you off in traffic right before you pulled out your iPhone while driving to let your social network know? Was she also the chick who grossed you out by breast-feeding in public. That broad is just ruining your life. Ugh.
I have to say though, some of my favorites have been your unsolicited advice you’ve doled out to celebrities. I’m pretty sure Lindsay had no idea she had a drug problem until you brought it to her attention, and I honestly thought Tori might literally “go away” as you requested. I’m not sure where, but your letter gave us all hope. And I’m also sure Ryan Gosling keeps your note with the marriage proposal tucked under his pillow at night. It was, after all, quite moving.
My reason for writing you back is to beseech you to come up with more clever and unique ways to vent about the mundane, for lack of a better word, crap, that goes on in your life. Furthermore, your “thank yous” that follow sunny skies should not be directed toward me as I cannot take credit for them. I have forwarded them on to goodness and your lucky stars.
P.S. You can also stop using the term “WINNING!”