Diplomacy is the art of infusing tranquilly into troubled waters – Christopher Herold
This afternoon I found myself part of a sarcastic play of words between two friends. I was the oblivious third party in the room till the conversation started to go horribly off course. In that heated moment the worst possible thing happened, one of the two turned to me and asked me, ‘Am I not right, Sydney?’ Just like that: in an instant, he had planted his hooks deep under my skin and made me part of that horrid exchange. I won’t ramble on and on about what transpired but I’ll tell you this: a couple of minutes later I was accused of being too diplomatic and I was told quite bluntly that I should take a side whether I liked it or not!
You see, inspite of the fact that we have all been taught that honesty is the best policy, and that to lie is a bad thing, as we grow older, we realize that in many situations, it is a good idea to keep quiet or better still, be diplomatic and tactfully handle sensitive issues. The line between being honest and being diplomatic is a very thin one. We have to be careful in deciding when to be honest and when to be at our diplomatic best.
I’m a firm believer in the fact that diplomacy is not escapism. It’s not that I try to avoid getting into sticky situations. While I’ve had a lot of practice dealing with negativity, it is something I find myself having to actively work on. When I’m caught off guard and end up resorting to a defensive position, the result rarely turns out well.
The point is, we are humans after all, and we have intense emotions and humongous egos. However, by keeping our egos in-check and inserting emotional intelligence, we’ll not only be doing a favor for our health and mental space, but we’ll also have intercepted a situation that would have gone bad, unnecessarily
There are times when it is crucial that we become the disconnected observer . Diplomacy helps us separate ourselves away from the emotions that are raging all around. Instead of identifying with the emotions and letting them consume us, diplomacy allows for clarity. When people are emotionally charged, they argue out of an impulse to be right, to defend themselves, for the sake of their egos. Nothing good can ever come out of that.
In our daily lives filled with all the stress and anxiety that surrounds us, few of us want to rock the boat by speaking curtly at work or in our homes. We like to avoid confrontations. The difference between living a superficial life and a and meaningful one is eventually determined by our ability to recognize the need for being diplomatic or brutally honest and then acting accordingly. So yes, I am diplomatic in my dealing with people. I enjoy a congenial atmosphere of calm, happiness and positivity. However don’t let that fool you – I speak the truth, when I need to. I speak out, but only when it really matters.