Are You Direct? Is Blunt Holding You Back?

Have you ever tried to talk to someone, but all you did was make them mad? I’ve done that.

Direct always worked for me until I tried to lead. Even then, it still worked up to a point. I tried to sandwich the negative between 2 positives, but blunt was still my enemy. I spent a lot of time trying to rework what I wanted to say before I opened my mouth.

Is blunt holding you back?

Don’t get me wrong. Blunt is appropriate at times.

Remember in John 2:13-17 when Jesus threw the moneychangers out of the temple? Jesus did not mince any words there.

To be a blessing instead of a curse is a goal that I have. I want to leave those that hear my voice or read what I have written something they can use. I may not have the gift of encouragement, but over the years I have learned how to be encouraging. You could say that I have learned how to give a gift of encouragement to others.

Yes, I can still be direct when needed. I think you will find though that it is not needed nearly as often as you might think.

Does that mean that you become dishonest? No, not at all. It means that you reframe what you want to say in terms of a benefit to the person you are addressing. You make it your goal to teach and help.

Examples of what you could say are:

“You’ll achieve more when . . .” And, “You’ll save money when . . .”

Before you jump right in, be sure to ask if you may give them feedback. Most folks like feedback. It suggests that you want to help them improve, and the question prepares them for what you want to say. They may anticipate that you are going to recommend a change. Do sandwich the positively phrased action inside of the rest of the positive feedback.

Consider this passage:

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 5:13-16

When I think of this passage, I tend to focus more on being light and salt, and the responsibility that comes with it. What if Jesus had simply said, “Some of you aren’t doing what you ought to be doing”? Although a lot more direct, it would not have been nearly as effective.


Today’s challenge is to consider how you approach other people.

Sometimes folks will get on the wrong page no matter what you say. Sometimes a phrase that means one thing to one person will mean something else to another. It cannot be helped. When that happens, go back and clarify what you’ve said.

Here’s the challenge. On the whole, does the feedback you offer inspire change? Or does the person you shared with spend the rest of the day thinking about how you treated them or hurt their feelings? Remember to express what you want to say in terms of a benefit to the listener.