April 11, 2009

Politically correct or not..

There's a dangerous trend these days - 'of being politically correct'. I realize that as I'm often accused of not being politically correct. While I always looked at as being frank, sometimes rather 'brutally honest', whether invited or not, but always with good intentions only, allegedly not being politically correct has affected me a great deal, and still continues to. What I often find a challenge is - Why should one be politically correct with persons close to them, like friends for example?

Why should one beat a little around the bush, disguise statements a little there and a little here, sugarcoat and speak with a friend, when they can go and almost bluntly blurt out about what's wrong - it's a close friend after all! What's in it to be politically correct?

The last two weeks have been quite trying and taught me a great deal about conducting my communication and weighing my words before uttering, sadly even with the closest of friends (I thought). To my understanding, unfortunately it was less due to the words communicated and more about my estimate about the receptiveness or maturity-to-understand of the person at the receiving end that has caused few issues. Well, who's to blame? Guess it's still me.

Politically correct answers or statements are strategies, or at least ideally are to be used strategically to minimize any offense while conveying the core message. Well, there's an assumption to it, that the recipient is mature enough or has an understanding adequate to cut through the diplomacy or political nature of the statement made and receive the core message. And, like it's required for a complete / effective communication there's gotta be a feedback either in words or in deed.

I've taken few learnings from recent past to further refine my communication.
  1. To put into use something I've always known, and express it still better in words - that you're bothered/ attacking the issue and not the person.
  2. Refrain from making personal remarks
  3. Never make judgments about people's maturity to understand based on personal experiences - whether friends, even close or even people related to you.
  4. Talk to people as if you were talking to a kid from second grade unless you're very sure, still refer point 3.
  5. To understand when is the time to be silent; when is the time to speak, and be as slow to speak.
  6. To avoid speaking to fools - you''ll either be counted one among them; worse, they don't see any understanding in your words, and they'll hate you for it. Even worse, you engage in words with them and you will become one among them.
Even after all this, I still believe that when speaking to at least the close friends, aides, acquaintances we ought to keep our speech plain, to the point and edifying each other to the extent possible. But, politics has also touched individual lives so deeply and to such great extent, that a politically incorrect statement can buy you a load of trouble. I'm yet to see if they'll lead me to making always a politically correct speech or not.
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