Rant: It really annoys me when people are not direct.

Especially if, when you've asked them for clarification on a matter of delicacy, and they feel awkward or uncomfortable about telling you the truth, they give you a very confusing and convoluted answer, or completely circumvent the issue by not answering your question at all. 

Indirect-ness and passive-aggressiveness absolutely infuriate me in both the professional and personal realms.  Those of you who like to side-step issues and keep people guessing: DO YOU EXPECT US SIMPLETONS TO READ YOUR MINDS!?

I'm thinking of a different recent situation, but one good example is when you apply for a job somewhere and they give you some trite answer like, "we did not find you to be a fit at this time."  What I want to know is, what the F does at this time mean?  That they might review my application at a later date, and THEN would find me a fit?  That I should try applying again? 

If what they REALLY mean is: "Given your current qualifications,you are not good enough to work for this company in this capacity, but you are welcome to apply again if a different opportunity arises or if you gain significant experience/skill in X area, and good luck with all your endeavors," then they should just SAY it.  What people often need to hear most is that there is NO HOPE, ever, and they should just get over it and move on.  I'm sure if everyone were more direct (and truthful--not hurtful), we would all be spared a lot of heartache.

Don't even get me started on how some people behave in romantic relationships and are afraid to "Just Say NO" to people they have zero interest in, and wind up stringing those poor people along.  Cowards.
9 responses
as much as directness can/might be refreshing, there's also the fact that many of us aren't equipped to handle directness when it comes our way -- we usually get defensive, take offense, and let our emotions get the best of us...
Just say no to sugar-coating, leading people on a string, and beating around the bush! I hear you.
@peter I understand that some people are more "sensitive" than others, but really what i'm thinking after reading your comment is, 1) being defensive, 2) easily taking offense and 3) letting emotions defy logic are hardly qualities I would want to nurture in myself or tolerate in my future children...and qualities I would shy away from when choosing friends.

Let me qualify all the above by saying that being direct does not mean being cruel. I was once friends with someone who prided herself on being "forthcoming," when in fact she was simply mean. There is a way to be honest, clear and direct with people and still be kind. If someone can't handle the truth told in kindness, then I'd say they have some introspection to do.

@giveandgo, * high five *

you're right, those are definitely the type of responses that point to undesirable traits, but i can't say i'm exempt from any of them.

directness, when done right, is definitely an admirable trait, but i've personally found it very hard to be direct and to handle directness on a consistent basis. i behave differently around different people, and the level of directness will vary as well as my ability to handle even the kindest and most sincere of comments. yes, there is much introspection for me to do - every single day.

I've found that the best way to deal with such people is simply to respond to their equivocating drivel with a "Do you mean blah, because if so that's fine and you don't need to sugar-coat it" while looking them in the eye. Under such a direct challenge, most people admit the truth. And in future they are more likely to be forthcoming because I don't lose it.
In regards to the job rejection: That annoys me too! I got some great advice recently on the subject. I've heard that the best thing you can do for your career is to ask why you've been rejected for a job. Potential employers are reluctant to give unsolicited criticism, but they'll often help you out if you ask how you could improve. If it's a job you really want, now you know exactly what skills you're missing. Even if it's not a job you'd love, at least you're conscious of your shortcomings.
Hmm, what if the potential employer refuses to give you feedback =\

Then you know it wouldn't have been a good fit for you!
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