Tact is a skill everyone should learn

Published 11:06 am Thursday, April 26, 2018

One of my favorite quotes is, “Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way they look forward to the trip.”

Not very often, but every once in a while, I am reminded of that quote as I find myself swallowing my pride and walking away in an attempt to cool off. One such instance happened recently as a colleague by my side helped me realize sometimes it is just not worth the fight.

Through my time working in the media, and in my position here at the newspaper, I know there are many instances where I will meet different people with all sorts of personalities.

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Trying my best to be the outgoing and usually easy-going person I have always been, I know that my job is to accommodate, as best I can, everyone who has news they want to share in the communities I get the opportunity to serve.

The hard part is explaining this is still a job and there are rules that need to be followed. As much as we try our best to accommodate the community, if there is an instance where we have to say “no” it is usually for a reason, and maybe not because of the one the individual is thinking.

The hardest part of my job is finding that balance, and taking the time to talk it through and over with fellow well-seasoned journalists who have been at this game a lot longer than I have.

Keeping an open mind, and learning from those above me, is what has got me to where I am in life today and is also what will keep me climbing and reaching new heights tomorrow.

Which brings me to my quote.

When we cross paths with people in life who are so hard headed and set in their mind-set, it is hard to learn how to take the high road and walk away. Finding the sensitivity and looking beyond why someone might be treating you the way they are is a difficult ability to learn for most, especially when that person has no idea of what you, in turn, might be dealing with yourself.

When someone lashes out at you repeatedly with no regard for your own sensitivity, it seems almost impossible to swallow the pride you instinctively want to fight even harder to protect, and standing up for yourself in a way your almost certain only you alone can becomes a number one priority.

As a journalist, I have found one of the best skills we all can learn is tact. In my line of work I get the opportunity to tell many different stories, and meet lots of different people who may or may not feel like talking to me on any given day.

Some already have their mind made up and, even if I tried to explain, it wouldn’t be worth the time or the breath.

I have learned to swallow my pride and take the high road, even if the high road means learning how to be more sensitive to others than I have been treated myself.

And thankfully, through the help of the many journalists who have entered this world before me, I am learning how to do that in a “tactful” way.

I just wish more people in the world would do the same.

Brittany Fuller is the community editor of The Jessamine Journal and Jessamine Life magazine. She can be reached at brittany.fuller@jessaminejournal.com.