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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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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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