A couple of years ago I went to my doctor for my yearly check up. Near the end of the physical, he poked me in a very private spot, and asked me to turn my head and cough. Then to add insult to injury, he told me I was obese and had a fatty liver. I think he might have been able to communicate this to me in a little more suitable fashion. Fortunately, I have a mirror, so I was not surprised about the obesity, and I’m not easily offended. It reminded me of something one of my friends once told me about being nice, he said, “You know Fat Man, I have found that I can say most anything I want to to my sweetheart, as long as I say it nicely”. The subject came up because Mrs. Fat Man and I had gone somewhere in my little pickup and she always puts the sun visor down because the bright sunlight bothers her. But then I am unable to see if a car is coming from my right side because the visor is in my way. I had told her about it multiple times in the past, so this time I became annoyed and very rudely reached over and snapped it closed. Needless to say, Mrs. Fat Man spent the next several hours communicating her disapproval of my rude behavior.
Most of the conflicts I have experienced in my life could have probably been avoided if only I had communicated nicely. Growing up, I always thought brutal honesty was a virtue. Then one day I read an article that said people who are brutally honest seem to enjoy the brutality much more than they do the honesty, a true statement to be sure. Realizing this about myself gives me great insight as I go about the business of trying to have positive human relationships. I figure it will make my remaining years in this life easier if I try a little harder to be more likable. So last time I saw my doctor and it came time to check for a hernia, I said “No thank you, I’ll let you know if my guts slip outside of my abdominal cavity into an area that they don’t belong. And you can forget about checking my prostate too!” Apparently I offended him a little. I really did try to be nice about it…Oh well, I guess I need more practice.