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leew2
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11 Jan 2008, 4:19 pm

A few years ago, I learnt about something called "tact". From what I was told by an NT, when someone askes you a question such as "do I look good" you are supposed to say "yes" regardless of what you actually think. If my mum is around, she will sometimes get mad if I say anything else. If this is the case, why bother asking the question in the first place if you are supposed to always give the same answer? Am I correct that this is how NTs behave? Is there a reason for this?



ButchCoolidge
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11 Jan 2008, 4:30 pm

You don't have to say "yes, you look good," but the point of tact is to let people down gently. It's a lot better to say "you look great. I love your hair, but I might change your shoes..." vs. "no, you look so stupid in those shoes." It is just simple courtesy. You're right that it is pretty stupid, but when someone asks "do I look good," they are basically expecting either totally positive support, or a gentle let down. Most people don't want to hear the brutal truth if it's bad. Why? Because it hurts.



edal
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11 Jan 2008, 4:38 pm

Wonderful subject, mainly because I can never understand tact either. Sometimes I have to ask if they want a diplomatic answer or they want me to be honest (mainly because an honest answer can be quite brutal). I can't figure out why NTs want us to lie either.

Ed Almos



sarahstilettos
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11 Jan 2008, 4:44 pm

In some situations an absolutely truthful answer could be very hurtful to someone - and needlessly so. If no one's going to be hurt by you bending the truth a little, and it will make someone feel better, it's probably for the best. This is how I understand and try to use tact.



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11 Jan 2008, 5:06 pm

Tact... it's similar to the difference between being "honest" and being "blunt". I find honesty to be telling the truth but without being hurtful or insulting. Blunt is telling the truth and being hurtful or insulting.

Like Butch said, it's being honest but gentle. Many times, it's the phrasing. They ask, "What do you think?" when in all honesty they should be saying, "Compliment me please" or something of the like.

It's like trying to get what you want without saying it directly. Although there are some times when someone actually wants the person to be honest.


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Spiral153
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11 Jan 2008, 5:11 pm

leew2 wrote:
why bother asking the question in the first place if you are supposed to always give the same answer?

I agree. That's one of the things I hate about non-aspie social interactions. It's typical of non-aspie conversations for people say things that they don't mean. And I HATE that. And another thing I hate is the use of euphemisms. Ugh!

If someone asks me, "Does this dress look good on me?", what's the point of telling them that it does if it really doesn't? I see that as a waste of words and a waste of time. And besides, there are ways of telling people the truth without being brutal. If a person were to ask me a question like that, I'd probably reply with something like, "Honestly...I don't like the way it looks."

Fortunately though, I never get asked that type of question by people I don't know well. It's always by people whom I consider friends or close acquaintances.



sarahstilettos
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11 Jan 2008, 5:23 pm

Quote:
If someone asks me, "Does this dress look good on me?", what's the point of telling them that it does if it really doesn't?


If you are getting ready for a night out this person would want to feel confident about how they looked so they could go out and enjoy themselves. They can't have a good time if they are worrying about how they look. A nice compliment will put them in a good mood.

On the otherhand if the person is thinking of buying the dress, and it was very expensive, you would need to communicate that it did not look good but emphasize that it was the dress and not them. So you would say, 'the dress is badly cut around the middle', not 'it makes you look pregnant'.



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11 Jan 2008, 5:27 pm

When people are tactful with me it usually goes over my head. If I ask you how I look, believe me, I want the Brutal Truth...


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leew2
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11 Jan 2008, 5:37 pm

Ok, thanks for the comments, think I understand better.
The way I see things is this:
If for example I am getting ready to go to a party, I'd like to know how I look and I'd like honesty, if I know someone will always say I look good regardless of weather I actually do then I will worry about looking stupid when I go out. if on the other hand they told me I looked stupid before I left, I'd have chance to put it right.



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11 Jan 2008, 5:40 pm

leew2 wrote:
if on the other hand they told me I looked stupid before I left, I'd have chance to put it right.


Hopefully they could let you know the outfit really doesn't look good on you without having to call you "stupid". ;)


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purplesky
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11 Jan 2008, 6:35 pm

leew2 wrote:
A few years ago, I learnt about something called "tact". From what I was told by an NT, when someone askes you a question such as "do I look good" you are supposed to say "yes" regardless of what you actually think. If my mum is around, she will sometimes get mad if I say anything else. If this is the case, why bother asking the question in the first place if you are supposed to always give the same answer? Am I correct that this is how NTs behave? Is there a reason for this?


People need their egos stroked; that is the exact reason they even think of asking. They do it for a boost in confidence and self-esteem.



richardbenson
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11 Jan 2008, 7:39 pm

i have totally brutal tact :D


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11 Jan 2008, 8:42 pm

When I was a teen and my mom was getting ready and dressed up for a night on the town she would always ask me how she looked because she knew that I would be brutally honest about it so she could fix whatever the appearance issue was. :lol:


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MisterHeron
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11 Jan 2008, 8:48 pm

edal wrote:
Wonderful subject, mainly because I can never understand tact either. Sometimes I have to ask if they want a diplomatic answer or they want me to be honest (mainly because an honest answer can be quite brutal). I can't figure out why NTs want us to lie either.

Ed Almos

I feel the same. It actually annoys me when NTs use tact to answer my question. When they lie or do a gentle let down I feel like saying "I just want an honest straightforward answer you dolt!"

Odin wrote:
When I was a teen and my mom was getting ready and dressed up for a night on the town she would always ask me how she looked because she knew that I would be brutally honest about it so she could fix whatever the appearance issue was. :lol:

:lol:



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11 Jan 2008, 9:32 pm

I find the difference between someone who wants a direct answer to a question v.s. a rhetorical generally depends on the self esteem of the questioner. A person with low self esteem most often wants to be complimented, as opposed to someone with high self esteem who actually wants to know if they look "stupid". (sorry, I think the word "stupid" is funny in this context. I have definitely gone out looking silly more times than not, fortunately I don't care)



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11 Jan 2008, 11:09 pm

Tactful: "This is too small on you."


Tactless: "You're too fat for this."


:P



Last edited by Ana54 on 11 Jan 2008, 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.