Thursday, June 8, 2017

Inconvenient truths

I found this in My documents folder and do not remember when I wrote this,may be in 2009 or earlier
Sometimes we do not say what is in our mind for fear of hurting people. This silence can cause problems. Contrarily we tell immediately what is in our mind and this also can create misunderstandings. What do we do? There is no hard and fast rule. There is a time and place for everything. A wrong timing or place can do harm to relationship.
Sharmila did not mean to hurt Sanjay.Yet when he came from office and went straight to give her a bear hug, she said, “Sanjay, you smell a lot. Take a wash and change your dress before you come near me. Sorry, don’t take me amiss.”
It was a truthful statement as he was stinking after the long drive in the afternoon to the project site. The ‘sorry’ did little to assuage the hurt in Sanjay.He looked at her with anger in his eyes and moved away. Sharmila did not expect him to react this way to what she considered a reasonable comment. She was right but chose a wrong moment especially when he was wishing to express his love for her after a long day. She could have mentioned later when they watched TV after dinner.
When he came after the bath, he did not go near her but sat on the sofa to watch TV. She knew he was upset. When she took a cup of tea that he usually took, he declined saying he didn’t need it.
“Why are you angry? Even the kids have complained that you stink. You know I am your well wisher and if I don’t tell you, who will? Your friends, you must have noticed, are probably keeping away from you” said Sharmila. This made matters worse. The act of deriving support from the statements of children and an insinuation that friends are possibly keeping away infuriated him. He refused to believe what he considered a hearsay statement from the kids.
He blurted out in anger “I have not been telling you not wishing to hurt your felicity that every time I come near you, your mouth repels me. You don’t brush your teeth well. Often I feel like throwing up. Being considerate, I have been putting up with you. Don’t think you are a paragon of cleanliness and personal hygiene.”
What started an innocuous statement had graduated into full blown mutual possibly exaggerated accusations and resulted in both going to bed without their dinner.
There was no attempt on both sides to understand each other. The issues were never dealt with patiently at anytime but started as accusations. Instead of indulging in ridicule or sarcasm, there should have been a friendly chat when both were in happy mood and in receptive mood to other’s view points. It must be agreed by both that the arguments resulted from a real issue that had to be resolved. Putting up with sweat and smell, however close the couple might be, is certainly not conducive for bonding. The initial dislike may run the risk of spiraling into incompatibility. The entire unpleasant situation could have been avoided had care been taken about timing and also either of them ending the argument by some acceptance of some responsibility. Ego has no place in close relationships.
Some tactics may help.
See the purpose behind the accusation or argument. If the intention is honest and shows a genuine concern from the accuser, accept it with grace and address it in a comfortable manner.
Avoid ridicule, sarcasm, and offending tone. The purpose of the argument is lost if anger is provoked without eliciting a proper response to the message that is conveyed.
Never resort to making others agree that you were right and that the mistake lay with them. Just leave the message directly in pleasant tone which would be surely be taken note of.

May be if all these things fail, it may be necessary to show resentment and show anger to make others know that you are interested in them and care for them. But that should be the last resort. Expressing resentment is preferable than suffering in silence and allowing the chasm to grow wider. In some cases, anger may trigger affection and emotional closeness too.


  1. KP Sir...I agree. I have seen this and sadly, I have did it too. I am trying to mend my ways. Besides, your post help me avoid another between me and my close one...Thanks for that...

  2. You've put it so well on how something like that designed to improve can degenerate due to ego and wrong way of telling things without getting personal. I think it's important to tell things with respect.

  3. Too right, KP Sir! Words spilt in anger, even if it is said in good faith, can neither remedy nor heal the situation.

  4. Too right, KP Sir! Words spilt in anger, even if it is said in good faith, can neither remedy nor heal the situation.

  5. Tis reminds me
    Think before you utter
    Words that cause another pain.
    Wounded hearts are slow in healing
    If they ever beat again.

  6. Timing and choice of words are extremely important. Very well expressed.

  7. At times being frank but at a wrong time can weaken a bond\relationship.
    she could have offered him a towel and lovingly asked him to freshen up . and he could have fixed an appointment with the dentist/hygienist instead of spewing foul words .

  8. Honesty with respect and not ridicule probably draws a comfortable line, good read!

  9. Very well expressed. Ego has no place in relationships. Lot of patience is needed.

  10. very true but that is life..

  11. Yeah, there is always a time and place to tackle such sensitive issues, one cannot just blurt out.
    Well written.

  12. thats a beautifully wrought and stealthily conveyed message..

  13. Needed to read this since I am fresh into marriage :P
    How have you been?

  14. How true! Damned if we say ,damned if we don't. The story illustrates very well the point you made in the opening para

  15. Truths are tough to accept.
    People think they are the best and their egos are hurt if anyone shows them a different picture!
    Who wants to show the mirror & indulge in such tight rope-walking? :)