Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"I'm a Straight Shooter"

I’ve been hearing that or some variation of that, a lot lately. It seems to translate to “I can say anything I want without regards to other people’s feelings with impunity because I’m just being 'honest'."

Sorry, I’m not buying it.

I’ve mentioned here before that I’ve pretty much stopped reading comments on public (media, entertainment, etc) or high profile (ala Dooce.com) blogs because people can be so mean. I remain traumatized by some of the hateful messages left on the New York Post’s article about Brittany Murphy’s death and I don’t know how Heather Armstrong screws up to courage to open the comments section on her blog. But, I digress.

Over the last several weeks, I and people around me have been subjected to “straight shooters” and it’s no fun at all. Flinging words like bad, unprofessional, convoluted, misleading, ugly and corrupt around is not productive. When it is in response to request for feedback it’s at best thoughtless and at worst, mean.
If someone asks for your opinion and you have concerns or think you can help, taking a minute to frame your comments in a way that doesn’t attack or belittle isn’t too much to ask. And, if your opinion has not been solicited, unless whatever it is directly affects you or falls within your area of responsibility SHUT UP.

Sidebar - (The corruption allegation was the most ridiculous. After failing to get their way on a particular issue this person charged corruption, an allegation so far out in left field I’m considering buying that “straight shooter” a dictionary for Christmas, since clearly, they do not know the definition of corruption.)

If your intentions are good, being blunt to the point of rudeness isn’t helpful and your message is going to be lost. Trust me. After being told something I was doing was “bad” I didn’t hear anything said for the next two minutes of the conversation. Perhaps there was good information in there, but I’ll never know. Of course, it didn’t help, that I had not asked for this person’s opinion, but was answering a question only to be interrupted and told what I was doing was “bad” and that I was doing it “all wrong”. I did not respond well. Ironically, it turned out that this person did not know nearly as much as they thought they did and were proven to be completely wrong on several technical points, but I’m not gloating…..

If you pride yourself on being a straight shooter and think I am being “too sensitive” may I respectfully request that you consider, for a moment, that straight shooting is still shooting and being on the receiving end of your bullets stings.


Stephanie said...

My job as a counselor and social worker requires being a "straight shooter", but here is what I have discovered: I can speak the truth in love or out of love, and the "in love" works so much better, even in the most difficult cases! Lots of people don't know that. Steph

Heather said...

I remember when I once thought that for the most part people were pretty sane and reasonable. Then I came across the comment sections on news sites and it's scary the amount of hate going on out there.

It's become a sport.