Can you be blunt without being rude?

Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter

Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter

The other day I stumbled upon a meme that read, “everyone appreciates your honesty, until you’re honest with them, and then you’re an asshole”.

It got me thinking about my own journey and the hurdles I’ve faced for being too direct, too blunt. Maybe it’s because of my minimalist nature—in which I don’t feel the need to sugar coat things? Maybe I’m too honest? Or maybe I’m just rude?

But there’s a big difference between being blunt and being rude—and I’m here to tell you that just because you might be frank, does not mean you’re a bad person. It actually makes you a better, more efficient one.

Firstly, let’s clarify the difference between the two. Bluntness is being straightforward without fear, while remaining considerate of the other person’s feelings. Being rude is saying something without considering how it might affect the other person—possibly with a hint of attitude. More often than not people mistake one for the other, but they aren’t related in the slightest.

Here are some of the main reasons you might want to consider being more direct than not.

  • You’ll make more decisions without hesitation.
  • You’ll ask for what you want—rather than never ask, never receive.
  • You’ll say no to things that aren’t in your priorities, and not feel bad about it.
  • You’ll take action—stop talking and start doing.
  • You’ll ask more questions to achieve the desired outcome quicker—saving more time, effort and mistakes.
  • You’ll be more honest to your friends, and they will respect you for it.
  • You’ll save more time. Direct speakers use fewer words to describe something—they don’t over explain.

Twitter does this last point exceptionally well. Most users even argue that the strict character limit is one of their greatest strengths—what makes them fundamentally special. The platform makes a considerable effort to practice, promote and evoke directness in a world that is completely overwhelmed by information on the internet. Even if they have expanded their character limit from 140 to 280 in recent times...

So there you have it—a very direct post on being blunt and not even the slightest bit rude!


Image credit: NYTimes
FussJessica Preston