Wars are won and lost on the powers of diplomacy. Some people are born with the gift, while others need to work at it. Some people never learn. We all have one of those acquaintances, the one who is proud of “telling it like it is”- the one who says your butt looks big in those pants, she can tell you gained a few pounds, your new haircut makes you look like a Chia pet, and that your kids are being hooligans.
Those people are usually pretty lonely, as a general rule.
Such champions of the unvarnished truth find themselves the victim of misunderstandings and contempt, which they can never comprehend. How sorrowful their mistreatment, the crushing weight of the cross they bear because of their need to always tell the truth no matter the cost. So gallant.
What we call ‘being diplomatic’, they call ‘lying’. I don’t see it the same way. One can dance around the obvious insulting truth sometimes in order to help people feel better about themselves, right? There are times to be straightforward, particularly when someone is in harm’s way, or when someone asks you to be honest. But there are other times when it simply is not necessary. And if someone is paying you to take care of their beloved pet, your ability and willingness to engage the art of diplomacy can make or break your practice.
Pets can be fractious. They are in a stressful environment full of strange noises and smells, sometimes sick, often being poked and prodded and violated in the name of an accurate temperature. Who can blame them for struggling a little? But we don’t say ‘fractious’ to an owner, do we? I prefer ‘stressed’. ‘Muzzles’ become ‘party hats’, always accompanied by the sympathetic aside that I understand poor Fido is not an evil dog, he’s just ‘stressed’. Most of the time this is even true.
It’s not lying. It’s being polite. No one wants their pet to be insulted, and I don’t blame them.
We have a tell it like it is tech here, though I think her approach is more based on youthful inexperience with the world than a die hard dedication to being a crusader for veritas. She is truly a nice person, and she is normally fantastic with clients. Unfortunately, in a moment of sweat inducing wrestling with a nervous terrier, she made the mistake of making an offhand remark to the client about Fluffy being a bit of a pain on that particular occasion. She said it in the lighthearted way she always does, and thought nothing of it.
Unfortunately, she chose the wrong client to say that to. Mrs. Fluffy was extremely affronted. Extremely. Sadly, after a series of tragic losses in her life, Fluffy was her sole remaining companion, an anchor in a storm of uncertainty. And now we took poor Fluffy into the back, tortured him into a state of hysteria, and had the nerve to then refer to him as a pain. Mrs. Fluffy asked for the manager. And the manager’s manager. And the manager’s manager’s manager, as high as she could go to make sure we all knew of the egregious insult lobbed on her by our unprofessional Comic the Insult Tech.
And it was a poor choice of words, to be sure. I can understand why she was upset. We talked to this tech, who was surprised at the reaction since, well, Fluffy really was a wee bit of a pain. But, she has learned the lesson so many people before her have not, and rather than running from the client the next time she came in, she went right into the room and gave a sincere apology.
And guess what? Mrs. Fluffy now refuses to see any technician BUT her. Another win for diplomacy.