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15 Things Only Blunt People Understand

15 Things Only Blunt People Understand

You’ve probably heard the expression “Be careful what you wish for,” and this is a good guiding principle to live by when dealing with a blunt person. If you want their opinion, you’ll get it. Straight from the hip and dead-center. Anyone with a reputation for being the blunt one in their family or group of friends knows that it’s alternately a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, people value your honesty; on the other, it’s a miracle you can ever tell anyone what you think because you’re often too busy chewing on your own foot. Here are fifteen things only blunt people can understand.

1. They hate long stories

If you’ve ever watched an episode of “The Golden Girls,” you’re probably familiar with Rose’s St. Olaf stories about the mule who skied backwards on buttermilk and the innumerable ways to cook herring. Inevitably one of the other girls—usually Dorothy—would interrupt to snap, “Get to the point, Rose!” Blunt people have no problem speaking their minds, so whenever someone else can’t come to the point quickly enough, they lose their patience, and they tell you pretty bluntly.

2. They apologize a lot

Bluntness can often be mistaken for rudeness or unfriendliness. When they make a less than flattering remark about a friend’s new outfit, it’s because they believe in the golden rule that friends don’t let friends leave the house wearing a skirt the color of cat vomit. The problem is that this well-meaning fashion advice isn’t taken all that well, so blunt people very often find themselves repeating “I didn’t mean it the way it sounded,” so often that they should just have it printed on a t-shirt or tattooed on their foreheads.

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3. They regularly insult people

Have you ever read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice? Do you remember Mr. Darcy’s first proposal to Elizabeth Bennet? When speaking of her irritating family relations, he could have said, “Your mother might want to learn to hold her tongue in company.” Of course, he instead had to say, “Did you expect me to rejoice in the inferiority of your connections? To congratulate myself on the hope of relations whose condition in life is so decidedly beneath my own?” (NO wonder she refused him). Blunt people have no problem telling you what they really think of you, even if (and often especially because) they love you and just have no clue how to get the words out. They don’t have the most control over their tongue at the best of times, so when passion overrides better judgement, you might want to invest in some serious body armor. It’s for your own protection.

4. They’re everyone’s favorite fashion consultant

You might not like it when they express distaste about your latest wardrobe choice, but that’s not going to stop you from dragging your blunt buddy to the mall when you cruise the latest sales. If you’re going to spend your entire paycheck on that new pair of jeans, it behooves you to make sure they don’t make your butt look like it deserves its own zip code. If you’d just taken your blunt friend shopping with you in the first place, you’d never have bought the cat vomit skirt.

5. They appreciate snark

If a blunt person is going to throw a verbal zinger at you, they’re going to enjoy themselves doing it. When you ask your boyfriend if he wants to see the new foreign film showing in theaters, and he knows that you know full-well that he doesn’t, why would he simply say “no thanks” when he can respond with “I’d rather inflict myself with a thousand paper cuts and take a bath in lemon juice”? This is a far more eloquent way to express both his abhorrence for the idea and his annoyance with you for even suggesting it.

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6. They’re hilarious when they’re drunk

Alcohol loosens people’s tongues, so can you imagine what it does to a blunt person? Think of that hysterically funny scene from “Liar Liar” starring Jim Carrey, when his office colleagues get him to reveal what he thinks of them. They think he’s teasing them, but he absolutely means it when he says of one of his coworkers, “Simmons is old. He should have been out of the game years ago but he can’t stay home because he hates his wife.” This is the blunt person after a few martinis. They probably won’t want to know what they said the next day about someone’s new husband or the glorified slime on a shingle calling itself pizza served at a party, and fortunately for them, they’re the blunt one, not you. You’ll never have the guts to tell them.

7. Their sincerity is rare and golden

Since people usually associate bluntness with sarcasm or negativity, a blunt person’s sincere kindness is sometimes all the more treasured because when they pay a compliment, they always mean it. I’m reminded here of an episode of “Will and Grace” in which Grace is (as usual) freaking out over an upcoming date and asks Will for last-minute advice. He replies with characteristic bluntness, “Keep your shoes on at the table, eat butter with bread, and if the server asks if you want fresh pepper, don’t ask if it’s free.” After a pause he adds gently, “and you look beautiful.” Since blunt people follow a strict code of honesty, you won’t catch them giving you an insincere compliment.

8. They show affection with bluntness

It’s been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but with a blunt person, it’s more likely to be a sarcastic comment that shows you how much they value you. This is because they know it takes a thick-skinned person to withstand their bluntness, so when you show up at a party and they say, “Did you mean to get a haircut that makes your head look like a salad bowl?” they might not love the haircut, but they definitely love you. They only say those things because they know you’re tough enough to handle it.

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9. They’re really uncomfortable around crybabies

Since the blunt like to use their friends’ egos for conversational target practice, they like to peg the overly-sensitive people in the group before they sharpen their tongue. The salad bowl haircut, the cat vomit skirt, the Mr. Darcy-like snark about your obnoxious relatives—they’re all the blunt person’s way of testing you in the fire to see if you can put up with it, and if you can’t take the heat, go home. Nobody likes to walk on eggshells, especially the blunt person, who’s probably about as adept at gingerly stepping over eggshells as a tap-dancing elephant. The truth is that they’re not doing this to be inconsiderate; quite the opposite. Blunt people don’t really want to offend anyone (who doesn’t deserve it) so they might toss a tactless remark or two at you just to see how hard it lands, and they’ll back off if they see it really hurts you.

10. They’re really confrontational

This is one of the occupational hazards of hanging around a blunt person. Their brutal honesty means they have no problem picking a fight. You probably cringe every time you have a meal out with them because you never know what complaint they’re going to make about the service. You might even have crawled under the table (or at least wanted to) whenever they come out with complaints like “Are they out back plucking the chicken for my salad? If I wanted to wait this long for my fried rice I’d have applied for a passport and gone to China.” You put up with it because half the time you wind up not having to pay for your dinner. The squeaky wheel gets free food.

11. They’re always willing to give a speech about you

Your blunt best friend is going to be the first one to roast you at your 40th birthday party. At your wedding, they’re going to sprinkle their toast with stories about the time you got drunk and danced with your cardboard cutout of Leonardo DiCaprio. As I’ve said before, this is their way of showing affection. They love these stories, and they love you for giving them entertaining conversation fodder. If they really thought it would humiliate you, they’d never say any of it.

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12. They say “I told you so” a lot

You probably ask blunt people for advice all the time because you know they’ll tell you the truth, whether it’s about the color of your new car or if they think your fiancé got your engagement ring from a gumball machine. You know better than to ask if you don’t want to know, so listen to them when they have the courtesy to say “I’ll tell you, but only if you really want the truth.” When you get insulted, you’ll deserve the “I told you so.” Grin and bear. You’ll get over it just in time to make the same mistake again.

13. They’re hard to communicate with over text or email

We’ve talked about the fact that blunt people tend to practice sarcasm like it’s an Olympic sport, but one of the things that makes sarcasm funny is context, specifically visual cues. If your best friend is smirking when she tells you that you’re so naive you’d probably trust the Devil with your credit card, she’s being affectionate. If she says this over text-message though and forgets the tongue-out emoticon face, the conversation might not end well. The emoticon was probably invented to diffuse the awkwardness of blunt conversations like this. When are the computer geniuses of the world going to invent a sarcasm font?

14. They always have to be introduced to new people with some type of disclaimer

Whenever you introduce the blunt person in your life to a group of friends, relatives, or colleagues who’ve never met them before, the introduction usually involves some obligatory statement along the lines of “I’m not responsible for anything she says. Especially if you give her alcohol. Her tongue is like a waterfall—a force of nature that there’s no point trying to stop.” It’s extremely important that you deliver this caveat with a healthy dose of humor and sarcasm to let others know that there’s more bark than bite to your blunt friend or partner’s remarks. This will mitigate the potential for hurt feelings later, and everyone at the company Christmas party will thank you for it.

15. They teach you to defend yourself

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but you’ll never have a bruised ego for long if you’ve spent enough time around a blunt person. The greatest advantage to knowing someone who calls it like they see it is learning to deflect harsh words with your emotional armor. Not everyone you meet is going to think you’re spectacular. We’re all vulnerable to criticism about our work, our personal quirks, our relationships, our appearances—you name it. Social scrutiny is a part of life, and if people didn’t point out our areas of weakness, we’d never grow. You can choose to crawl into a corner and lick your wounds, or you can indulge in a flair of indignation for five minutes and then get on with the rest of your life. As annoying as blunt people can be sometimes, they teach you the value of self-confidence in the face of ridicule.

Featured photo credit: young girl posing in the park via shutterstock.com

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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