I am a direct person, and I have always considered this quality to be an asset. Furthermore, I have always had difficulty understanding why anyone in my life would not also appreciate the quality in me. If I have a problem with you, I’ll let you know. There won’t be any behind-the-back, anonymous backstabbing nonsense ever from me. If I am displeased with you, I will either determine it unimportant and say nothing or confront you.
I also appreciate this quality in others. A few years ago I knew a guy who did not like me very much and had become the bane of people’s existence. He was self-centered, abrasive and rude, and by the time he was getting ready to move, people were happy to see him go. But he was always direct with me, and for that reason, I respected him even though I didn’t like him. When he was gone, I told people that I missed him, because it was true.
Give me a thousand abrasive, self centered jerks who are direct and honest over a small cabal of anonymous, back-stabbing cowards.
But not everyone has always appreciated my directness. For all the value of open, honest communication, it turns out that some people would prefer a pleasant lie to an unpleasant truth.
Then there is the issue surrounding how I handle confrontation. While I have always considered myself an expert at verbal jujitsu (state debate champion twice) and a master argumenteur (I credit my evil stepfather and a childhood full of verbal bashing for this skill, and yes, I made up the word argumenteur and I LOVE IT), I have been told that I can too abrasive, too combative, too acerbic and too mean.
A couple years ago one of my closest friends described my methodology of argument as thus:
Disagree. Disbelief. Discredit. Dismiss. Distemper. Dismember.
While the list is creative and possesses a certain air of truth, I explained to my friend that I only reach the last two stages of the process if the person isn’t smart enough to back down and admit fault before hand.