Relationships thrive on sensitivity, trust and honesty. They have to be nurtured and understood. Diplomacy rests on the plank of ‘think, evaluate and speak.’ It encourages you to hold your true opinion, which could be helpful at work places, not within the families.
If you have to choose your words before communicating, if you can’t speak out your mind clearly, if you think your words may hurt, if you have to pretend that you agree with the other person, such a relationship can never develop beyond the surface. It can never become endearing. It may establish some business links and even facilitate an agreement between co-workers but it doesn’t build a rapport with friends, siblings or cousins.
A true friend can look in your eyes and read your thoughts. A sibling would be able to cross the bridge of camouflage that you may have learnt to erect with time and age. Your spouse too would get the whiff of walled emotions.
Sooner or later, your diplomatic answers start showing and give a mute message, which can be decoded by your spouse or an intuitive friend. They would either confront you or would start withholding their view and that is how unknown wedges are created in relationships.
There is a very thin line between diplomacy and hypocrisy.
If you want your relationships to be warm and reliable in this world, which is drifting away despite instant connections, you must keep diplomacy out of your homes.
Are you a diplomat? A checklist:
- You don’t comment on sensitive topics
- You avoid confrontation
- You lie to defuse conflict
- You just nod even when you want to disagree
- You agree to follow up but never do
- You promise just to please others
- You never show your true self
There is no doubt that diplomacy within extended families promotes healthy relationships and a channel of reverence flows, comforting each one with the thought that they are loved. This delusion falls apart in the face of crisis. A teenager who rebels, a parent who refuses to accept change and an elderly member who stands in judgment are some of the situations that could push diplomatic behavior to its extreme ends. The façade could stand exposed!
Happy families are candid. They don’t wear masks and don’t detest unsavory remarks of each other. They learn to accept their imperfections and welcome criticism. They are eager to learn from their errors. They discuss all kinds of topics with an open mind. They give space to each member and respect freedom of thought and expression.
If you are outspoken and impulsive, you could land yourself in difficult situations but that is what we call a learning curve. Only an open family environment could prepare you for the challenges of life. Diplomacy has no place in nuclear families.
Tact and truth can blend well if we learn to handle sensitive situations with patience.
What is essential is:
- Time for each other
- Undivided attention
- Freedom of expression
- Constructive criticism
- Patience and perseverance
Do you like diplomacy? How did you learn it?
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© Balroop Singh.