Tough Talks

I am of a personality that can be very blunt at times especially when it comes to certain conversations. I was speaking with a friend yesterday who was telling about her work day and she mentioned that someone she works with has a hygiene problem to the point where it’s a bit distracting to everyone else who works with this individual. So I asked her if she told said individual that they stink. She told me that she did not tell them directly but told their supervisor in the hopes that he/she would tell the individual. My response was she’s lucky I don’t work there.

Now I know what you may be thinking. Most people in this situation would probably suffer silently because they would not want to hurt that individual’s feelings. While I completely understand that sentiment, sometimes these tough talks must be had. For example, back when I was a manager at my previous job, it was brought to my attention that one of the employees was suffering from bad body odor. So I did a walk by just to make sure I was being told the truth and then I left it alone. I figured maybe it was one of those days where there was just so much going on that the individual didn’t have time to take a shower that day. I mean it happens. Some of us literally go from one job to the next and it could just be a hectic day. You have to give people the benefit of the doubt; at least in the beginning.

Well, the next day, it was the same situation and then the day after that. I got it into my mind that clearly it’s more to it than that and hey maybe the individual was immune to the smell and just didn’t notice. So I told my DM, the manager above me, and let him know that someone has to tell this individual. Maybe they just don’t know. Even he didn’t want to to do so I took initiative one day, brought them into the office, sat them down and told them, “there is no nice way to say this so I’m just going to tell you. You stink.” The individual actually took it very well. They told me that they were really glad I was honest with them to their face versus bickering with the rest of the staff about it behind their back. After that, the issue was resolved.

Now, tough talks don’t always go that smoothly. For example, an ex-friend was all about her boyfriend. I tried to like him but I just didn’t mostly because I knew he was up to nefarious actions behind her back. Well actually it wasn’t behind her back cause she knew about them but she would always shrug them off and that drove me insane. So she asked me to be a bridesmaid to her wedding. At first I said yes. And then something happened, again, that I was completely not okay with. She shrugged it off, again, and I told her I couldn’t consciously stand up at her wedding, knowing what I know, and be okay with that union. I told her I would come as a guest witness but not as a bridesmaid witness. She severed ties with me after that.

Over time I’ve come to realize that we are often put into these situations where everyone is thinking it but no one wants to say it. I’ve pretty much designated myself as the person that IS thinking it and WILL say it regardless of what the outcome might be. Maybe it’s because I was so shy before and shuttered off a good chunk of my thoughts because I was worried about other people’s feelings but I’ve come to realize that by telling the honest truth is me caring about your feelings whether you want to hear the rough stuff or not. I see it as, at least someone was honest with you and what you decide to do going forward is completely up to you but at least you have the whole picture, not just the fluffy side.

Have you ever had to have a tough conversation with a friend or family member? Did the outcome of the conversation surprise you or did you expect that reaction? Do you agree with my handling of my personal experiences? Let me know in the comments below!