With All Due Respect

With All Due Respect

Ok, so I’ll confess just this one thing. The movie Talladega Nights makes me laugh; like, laugh out loud! It’s low brow and sophomoric but I can’t help myself every time I see it. One of the moments that always cracks me up is when our hero, Ricky Bobby, says to his nemesis “With all due respect….” and then begins to say every horrible thing he can come up with. The guy responds with something like, “Just because you said ‘with all due respect’ doesn’t mean you can say whatever you want” to which Ricky assures him that it, in fact, does mean exactly that!

So the blog topic this month is about honesty versus being unnecessarily blunt. The question is at what point does honesty become destructive. Believe me when I say that I spend a lot more time in therapy trying to get people to open up than I do trying to get them to pull it back a little. There are those, however, who can go too far the other way.

The fact is, I reckon, there are times when brutal honesty is probably necessary. If you are absolutely going to divorce your spouse you probably need to say so directly. If, on the other hand, you are really hurt by something and the thought of divorce has come into your mind, something a little softer and dialogue-promoting might be a better choice.

I think that last part might be the key thing; dialogue-promoting. It’s like in political banter among the candidates. The goal drives the process. If the goal is to actually discuss something, you talk one way but if you want to control, dominate, demean, beat, or belittle you go the other, more blunt, route. I think Ricky Bobby was this later sort of “politician”.

So, to you who have made a vow to be honest and making it easy for those you love, my hat’s off. But “with all due respect”, do you maybe need to think a little bit before you unload the unabridged and unrefined version on someone you love in a tense situation? Would it promote some healthy dialogue if you found a more gentle way of making your point?