Wednesday, 14 November 2012


Someone gave me some good advice many years ago, and that was to always remember that any official you may have to deal with (government or police or whoever) is only human, and is subject to all the hopes and fears that the rest of us are, which will undoubtably affect any decisions they make - no matter how inhuman they may appear from the outside.

The person giving me this advice was extremely good at manipulating others, and almost always got her own way by the simple use of flattery. For a few years, I marvelled at the way she got herself jobs in areas in which she had no previous experience (my area, in fact), then before long, I began to get in her way and become a potential threat to her - she worried that I might blow her cover.

I don't know how much damage she did to me by pouring poison into the ears of others, but  - for the sake of this post - I'll just say that the whole process over a period of a year or two was so sickening to me, that I now only ever flatter anyone if I really think they deserve it, and that is not what you would call flattery. I expect the same from others myself, and am deeply suspicious when someone does compliment me for any reason.

The above, coupled with the fact that I have inherited my mother's extreme lack of tact when pointing out the obvious as perceived by her, means that I can be - under certain circumstances - either crass in the extreme, or just downright stupid, and consequently something of a scary liability at some social gatherings.

I often forget that most people are as sensitive as I am, and that everyone is in the same boat in their private lives, rarely letting the mask slip for fear of boring others. We all have aspirations to aim for, and those aspirations should never be used as the butt of 'humour', even if we don't aspire to them ourselves.

This sounds like a lecture, but really it is a reminder to myself, wrapped up in an apology to the rest of you. Now I am going to move on, but feel free to remind me I have said this if you need to in the future.

They turned the Christmas lights on here in Bath last night. Thanks to the austerity drive, they are - unusually - quite tasteful!

39 comments:

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  2. I love the way you sort of say sorry for something without actually apologizing
    ( I think I have got that right!)
    whatever it was, it was nicely said and written as always x

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    1. I have already directly apologised to the person concerned - you don't need an apology.

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  3. Flattery is a great tool to keep in one's holster. IT CAN WORK MIRACLES.

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  4. I thought that was masterful.
    (I hope you accept that compliment in the true spirit it was intended!)

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  5. My brother has a saying I rather like about the kind of situation you feel you are in: "Everyone has the 'right' to be an asshole." It's a saying that one can readily apply to oneself as well as to others -- as necessary. Overall, I get the impression you are one of the 'good guys'...

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    1. some people are born arseholes, and some have arseholiness thrust upon them. I'm not sure where I fall.

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  6. I remember someone telling me that flattery will get you everywhere. I felt very uneasy about that and still can't give compliments unless i really mean them. I have more trouble receiving them.

    I can also be socially stunted (i believe that term is more acceptable than saying i'm a social retard) although have learned that most people really don't want to hear what i really think.

    Oh, and yes, i've been on the receiving end of a flatterer poisoning the well for me. Not at all pleasant, and anything i tried to say was regarding as the lady protesting too much. sigh.

    Good reminder for all of us, Tom.

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    1. Too late - you just said the 'retard' word.

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  7. Cherie Booth used to have that technique off to a T....

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  8. The two things I hate most are syrupy flattery and false and people who manipulate as a close third. Tom, you are not within a million miles of any of these things. Lack of tact? sometimes. Crass? well on occasions. And you can be scary (a bit) in blog land too. But these things weigh light on my scales and I wouldn't want to change a thing about you. You're alright as you are. You are.

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    1. I am so impressed at how you can type in a Welsh accent, I am, I am. As for the rest, I don't believe you...

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    2. P.S. - Have you noticed how easy for non Welsh people to lapse into Indian when trying to imitate Welshness?

      It doesn't help that certain words are often repeated - quickly quickly - in one sentence.

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    3. Oh Doctor (Nurse) I'm in trouble...

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    5. Well that's put me in my place. I shall keep my big mouth shut in future. Please disregard above comment. You're right It was false, syrupy, manipulative flattery.

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  9. I didn't think that you had ever really put your foot in your mouth. So what was it? Ponder, ponder ...

    Not being a person of great confidence, I get quite rattled when I am at the receiving end of flattery. If it becomes to much, I actually feel mocked and any good intention by the 'flatter-er' goes right out the window.

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    1. Sorry Iris, but I have definitely moved on. I don't suppose you would believe me if I said that (judging from your photo) you are amongst the best-looking of my followers?

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    2. he's says this to any old slapper!
      ( no offense X)

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    3. I've never said it to you, John - you old tart.

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    4. The trick is never to post a picture that is a close-up. Dim lighting also helps.

      Not having any chicken poo on your shirt helps as well. (Just a helpful note from one old slapper to another). Hehe!

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    1. I said 'amongst' - what do you want? Flattery?!

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    2. Oh yes ........ throw lots and lots of flatterey my way ......... I don't have any trouble in accepting it !! ( even if it's not true !!) XXXX

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    3. ...... it would be even better if I could spell it !!!!! XXXXX

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  11. I find flattery faintly embarrassing Tom as I always suspect an ulterior motive. My mother had a brilliant lack of tact too - and I have tried my hardest not to inherit it. One of the things I like about blogging with you is that you are always straight down the middle - at least you seem to be - long may it last.

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    1. If I thought you didn't mean that, then I would say something I might regret, Weave.

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  12. With the exception of my family that never goes away...we do not have parties or other social gatherings. BUT if we did you would be on the top of our invite list. I have an affinity for those who lack tact.

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    1. That's the nicest thing a pig-sticker has ever said to me, Donna.

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    2. My followers still stand at 99, I notice...

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