This is a great article to help with career communications skills and also in relationships as well.

Respond intelligently, even to unintelligent treatment. – Lao-Tzu, Chinese philosopher


What is Tact?

Tact is the ability to tell the truth in a way that considers other people's feelings and reactions. It allows you to give difficult feedback, communicate sensitive information, and say the right thing to preserve a relationship.

Tact encompasses many things, including emotional intelligence  , respect, discretion, self-awareness  , thoughtfulness, compassion, subtlety, honesty, diplomacy, and courtesy.

Why is Tact Important?

The ability to communicate with sensitivity offers many benefits.

First, tact is important when you have to deliver bad news   or provide critical feedback, whether in personal or professional situations.

Next, communicating tactfully strengthens your reputation and builds your credibility  . It allows you to preserve existing relationships and build new ones. A tactful approach shows character  , maturity, professionalism  , and integrity  .

Tact also demonstrates good manners  . If you can communicate with grace and consideration, you'll stand out from the crowd, and you'll get noticed   for the right reasons. This can lead to career opportunities.

Finally, tact can help you to avoid conflict, find common ground, and allow others to save face. It can therefore be an important asset in negotiations and in conflict resolution.

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Replies to This Discussion

Steph, thanks. I need all the help I can get in interpersonal relations.

The Lao-Tzu quotation is priceless.

As an introvert, I generally let people blather on and on and say things, and often don't get in a word edgewise. I often become frustrated, especially if they are being dishonest, misleading, disingenuous, sophistic, or narcissistic. I have to keep reminding myself, this conversation has a goal or purpose, just stick to that, ignore my own mental judgements and frustrations, allow them to talk, and somehow get to the point.

Unfortunately, when I am speaking, I become frazzled and things come out that I don't want other people to hear.

With most of the people I know, ask them that time it is and they respond by telling you how to make a clock. It's hard for my temperament and introversion to deal with that.

I have a potential neighbor dispute - there is an old restriction on the land allowing access across my land.  He wants to build a road across my property.  He owns two lots, and his property is actually contiguous with the area that he wants road access to, and he could readily build on his own land.  But there is that old easement that allows access.

He said he needed the road so his parents could have a house there so they could just walk across their yard to the parents' house.  I said, so you can also have the drive on your land.  He said, he doesn't want to combine the deeds because he might want to sell his potential parents' house separately, later.  I started saying what I thought of that - Ning stopped me.  It will be for lawyers to decide. 

It's not the end of the world to have a drive build on our land, but it is giving something up, with nothing in return, and it is not needed except for the neighbor's unwillingness to build the road on his own yard.  We might have to honor the easement.  If that's the case, it's OK.   I backed up and said, we need to see what the old contract said, before the neighbor and before we owned our properties, and if we are required to allow road construction, or just access - very different things, and what is the liability, what is the obligation and responsibility, and based on the law, if he owns the contiguous property, does the easement still apply.

Even if we are required to give access, if he wants to build a road and we are not required to, we will have to negotiate that.  Maybe he will get the road, but he will have to pay a fair amount, agreeable to us, unless the easement allows that without making him pay.

I really don't like people.  I really don't.  But I have to deal with them, so this kind of information is very helpful.

AN friends are great.  I don't know what I would do without you.

This is bad news. Were you made aware there was an easement when you bought the land? Has your lawyer provided his advice?  Are you able and willing to go to court about the dispute? Do you have the physical strength to go through a court procedure? What would be a successful outcome for you?

I don't ask these questions to get answers, but to offer things for you to consider .

Options exploration:

1. Do nothing and resent the outcome?

2. Do nothing and resign yourself to the outcome?

3. Seek legal counsel and follow his/her advice?

4. Give up?

5. Take a stand based on honoring your rights?

6. ?

7. ?

I hope this turns out the way you want it! If not, are there some things you can do to protect your privacy, i.e. plant a row of fast growing trees between your place and theirs.

Ginkgo biloba, which you already know. If you don't limb them up they will provide cover from ground to top of trees. 

Or Leyland Cyprus, most popular privacy tree in U.S. and it is evergreen. Needs to be kept trimmed or will grow beyond reach.

Or Arborvitae, Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’ (sometimes known as ‘Emera...

Or hedge trees and shrubs

Or poplars grow fast, are thick enough to obscure the view in the summer. I don't like them because they very quickly grow into brittle trunks that break and do not age well. 

The trick here is to look at what is, figure out how you can make it work to your advantage.  


Joan we spent a coupke thousand at the lawyer but in the end they said we have to allow the driveway through the land. we filed a claim against the title company since the did not reveal the easement when we bought the place. The lawyer said we need to meet with the neighbor and draw up a contract.

it will be ok. I want the drive to be as narrow as allowed and to follow the terms of the easment - solely for ingress egress snd utility line. Not for parking or recreation, they pay for survey grading and paving, and they are not allowed any for of landscape work including mowing olanting or chemicals. We will nee a fence but I expect i have to pay for that too.

OK, I don't know how many time I have said to myself, "This is my reality, now, what are my options?" I then chose the options that makes me a winner. By that, I mean, which option has the highest probability of getting me what I want. Think of every option you can, including winning the lottery and buying the rights, or negotiating with him to find a mutually agreeable solution. 

This is where you plug in the 3Ps. Probabilities, Possibilities, Preferabilities. 

For each option imagined, do a cost/benefit analysis. 

What are the Probabilities if I just go along and feel like a victim? 

What are the Possibilities of a better outcome for me? 

What are the Preferabilities of what I would be happy with and feel I have succeeded? 

The goal here is not to feel like a victim!

You and I are alike in that.  I have said something similar, many times.  Weigh the pros and cons, risks and benefits, and uncertainties, and my values and wants and needs.  Sometimes I make a list and prioritize it.


Most of the time, outside of work, I avoid most people.  But sometimes there is no choice.


Where I get into trouble is if I think someone is bullshitting me, or being manipulative, or being sneaky.  That is when I lose the tact and say what I think of as truth.  If I think I'm being lied to, I will say "You are lying to me, and here is why....".  If someone makes a "marketing ploy" I'm at risk of saying "You say A, but all of the evidence is for B, and not-A.  Are you lying to me, or is there something I don't understand about this?".  I try to cut the bullshit and get to the point. But tact is much more productive, and not saying what I think is much more likely to achieve success.

Yes, you are probably right. "tact is much more productive, and not saying what I think is much more likely to achieve success."

I know that whatever happens, you will come out it feeling good and make fine lemonade if that is what is needed.

And please excuse my old school mamey attitude. I just don't seem to be able to get it out of my system.  

Daniel, that's selfish and mean of him imo. My late mother in law allowed neighbors to use her driveway. When they moved out the new neighbors used it too. Problem was the new ones were asses. Teenagedg kids raced up and down it. Anything to cause trouble. Because of the easement she couldn't stop them . I finally did when I called the police because one was drinking and driving up said driveway . He was placed under arrest and the problems finally stopped.
My advice is don't give them an inch. Stop problems before they start and use the law if it becomes necessary.
Luck to you and yours.
I'm with you Booklover. I have no patience for religion, right wingers or stupid. And they seem to go hand in hand.
Tactful I'm not. I'm not proud of it l just seem to be missing it. One of my nieces remarked that I always told the truth. I need to stop and think before I speak. Sometimes I just need to keep my mouth shut.

Yes Daniel that happens to me as well  - thank you for your story.

thank you Booklover



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