Why You Shouldn’t Just “Tell It Like It Is!”
It’s clear that we live in a time where subtlety and nuance are simply not appreciated, much less practiced. It seems the more brash and blunt people are the more we hear about them, and from them. While we have become very loud in our speaking we don’t seem to have gotten any better with our listening. I wonder if we are communicating at all?
The other day I was sitting in a Starbucks enjoying my cinnamon dulce latte, don’t judge it’s really good. While sipping my coffee I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation at the table across from me. The whole shop couldn’t help but overhear the conversation. Two women were sitting at the table talking politics when one of them shouted, screamed really, ‘I’m just telling it like it is!’
That phrase has become the standard excuse for saying whatever we want however we want to say it, whenever we want to say it, and without regard to what happens after we say it. It’s an excuse for committing communication malpractice. It’s designed to ‘let us off the hook’ for whatever damage results from our rant. Of course, it’s also tinged with the assumption that whatever we have said should be acceptable simply because we believe it to be true. Hopefully, you see the error in this thinking.
Communication is an art and how you say something is every bit as important as what you say. Your content can be negated by your tone of voice and means of delivery.
Here are just a three reasons why you shouldn’t just ‘Tell it like it is…”
1. It destroys relationships.
The moment this phrase is utter the relationship has taken a back seat. The person on the receiving end has just heard that they are less important to you than your opinion on some issue. It really can destroy a relationship.
2. All communication stops immediately.
It’s a little like driving 75mph on the highway and then pulling the parking brake. Everything stops and everyone gets whiplash. Further, whatever the speaker was trying to communicate now disappears, it’s gone, done, no more communication will happen.
3. Frankly, it’s just lazy.
It’s an excuse for not putting in the effort to listen to and understand another person’s perspective. Honestly, I think we use this phrase when we just don’t care that much about what other people think or how they feel. It’s a phrase that reveals our own self-centeredness
In the Bible, the apostle Paul encourages the members of the young church at Ephesus to “speak the truth in love.” A preacher might well unpack that phrase in a multitude of ways, yet, I think the simple truth of it should be evident to us. The key phrase is ‘in love.’ If we were to speak the truth in love in our conversations and online posts it would bring a whole new understanding to ‘I’m just telling it like it is!’
What would it look like for us to communicate with more open attitudes?
How will you respond the next time you hear the phrase ‘I’m just telling it like it is?’
How will you respond the next time you are tempted to use the phrase?
Comment below and let me know what you think!
Your friend and coach,