life, philosophy

An Inappropriate Analogy

It’s been a while since I shared an introspective post, so here’s a “thinker” demonstrated in an analogy.

Oh boy, better get comfortable.

Imagine if every day at work you have to sit next to someone who has really bad body odor. The odor is nauseating. You put an air freshener at your station, but then it smells like a cow died in a flower garden. You don’t know what to do. You contemplate different ideas. Should I tactfully bring it up? Should I talk to the boss to see if there is anything that can be done?One day, when you’re in the breakroom getting a breather and a cup of coffee, your smelly next door neighbor moseys in. Another coworker steps in behind him and scrunches his nose, his mouth turned down in disgust. His eyes shift from you, to the culprit and he says, “You might want to take a shower, buddy. You’re smellin’ ripe.”

You almost spit out your coffee. You want to applaud, laugh, hide and scold all at the same time. You step around both of them and escape the awkward situation. How dare that idiot in the breakroom say something so inappropriate. You decide to race to your desk, scoop up your belongings, and leave work early for the day. You didn’t want to have to face your work-neighbor after that inappropriate comment. By tomorrow, you believe it will be forgotten.

The next days comes, and your work-neighbor doesn’t smell. Was it just a fluke? The following day comes, and he still doesn’t smell. This continues, and you realize that the inappropriate comment actually helped!

I wrote this analogy, because I’ve been hearing the word “inappropriate” get thrown around a lot lately. People are using that phrase even when a comment isn’t directed toward them. I’ve been asking myself why people get disturbed, and what makes us deem something “inappropriate?” Just because something seems inappropriate doesn’t mean that what was said is untrue.

A long time ago, I used to complain about how misunderstood I felt by everyone in my life. I didn’t know how to be anything but truthful. I was never tactless like the coworker in the breakroom, so why didn’t people appreciate my honesty? One day someone told me, “Just because you speak the truth doesn’t mean people have to like it. There are truths that are ugly, and people don’t want to hear it.”

If introspection was commonly used, people might ask themselves, “Is it the inappropriate comment or the truth that disturbs me? Which is worse, the inappropriate comment or an emotional reaction?” This may all stem from the over-compensating of political correctness these days, and could be a phase that will pass. As for me, I know some truths are ugly, but facing them is the only way to clean things up (pun intended) and become a better person.

Once I get past the darkness, or the initial pain of the truth.I’m free to see the entire picture.


14 thoughts on “An Inappropriate Analogy”

  1. And who sets the standard for what is appropriate or inappropriate in so many different situations? I think that the important thing is to be tactful about how you say things that might embarrass people. It’s not always easy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, right? Appropriate or not appropriate….it’s in the eye of the beholder. I found that even saying the truth tactfully gets me into trouble. But, people in my life know me by now, and if they don’t want the truth, they don’t ask me. 😉

      Good to see you, Anneli.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. An interesting piece Lori. I have been the manager who has had to tell someone about their odour – but I did it in private and tactfully. I think your question about what hurts – inappropriateness or truth – can actually be both – you might be hurt by the truth itself but also by the way it’s told – and if it’s told badly that might make it hurt more because of embarrassment or shame.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Andrea. I’m surprised at the comments I’m getting from people who have actually faced this situation. I wrote it as analogy and haven’t actually had it happen for me.

      I really like what you said about “how” someone says the truth is important. They don’t take it well when it’s said tactfully (which I have experience with), so saying a truth more rudely would make it much, much worse.

      Thank you for sharing an insightful perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lori, you tackle a question with finesse and one that leads us to consider our own actions/inactions. To me words have always been a source of power, should be used with care … what is said does matter. Situations like this are tricky and one I did actually face with a fellow classmate at school. I never said anything but felt sorry for the girl. Others were more brutal but being so young and up to he mother, nothing changed. Wonder what did happen to her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Annika. I was just thinking about you and wondering how you were doing.

      I’m surprised by how many have commented that they really have had this situation in their lives. I’ve not run into the situation for real.

      How sad for that classmate you knew. Kids can be brutal, but as adults, I think there are ways to say a truth more tactfully. However, I’ve tended to say “truths” with tact and still had visceral reactions. 🤷‍♀️

      Good to “see” you again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahh … what a coincidence! 😀 I’m very well, Lori, just been very busy with life-changing events with family and friends. It’s lovely to be coming back to normal routine and blogging! Hope all is well with you! Truth with tact is definitely the way to go!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I just had to go through this. I lobbed a few softballs and they were caught, otherwise I was going have to pull out the heavy artillery – “you need to shower.” Horrible experience!
    Sometimes, you just have to tell it like it is and it’s appropriate to do so.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I’m the type of person who would never intentionally hurt someone’s feelings, so I try to give my opinion or advice, only when someone asks for it. If I’m asked, I’ll be completely honest, so I don’t think my words should be considered inappropriate. That said, as someone who lives a very conservative life, I consider a lot of things to be inappropriate…to me. LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jill. The word “inappropriate” is thrown around a lot as if to want to censor people. But like L. Marie said, the word is subjective. What’s inappropriate for you in your conservative lifestyle might now be for someone else, and you aren’t going around telling people they’re inappropriate.


  6. Wow. Very thought-provoking, Lori. Like you, I’ve heard the word “inappropriate” used a lot. the use of it seems very subjective. I read a post by someone I know, who shared her experience in publishing. Several people complained about how inappropriate the post was (though she’d written about her own negative experience, not someone else’s).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true, L. The use of the word “inappropriate” is very subjective. That woman you mentioned wrote the truth of her experience. It seems people want to censor speech these days. Sort of scares me.


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