Feeling Brassy-know anything about charm schools?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by hearts and roses, Oct 31, 2008.

  1. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I think that at times I can come off a little opinionated and speak my mind in a way that may put others off. Maybe even offend them for being so outspoken about things that I feel strongly about. I am the youngest of 5 siblings, the oldest being my sister at 62. My 3 sisters have gotten more opinionated and outspoken as they've aged and they often, in my opinion, cross the line into rudeness. I don't want to come off like that.

    I have been listening to how I speak with others and in mixed company I am fine. But say, for instance, I am conversing with a new acquiantance. I sometimes, not often, will find myself speaking my mind openly, even when I know it's not the popular repsonse, Know what I mean??

    Does anyone know if there are any Charm Schools around? At all? And if so, what exactly do they cover?

    I would like to learn how to have a lite conversation about superficial topics without having to interject my point of view. I know this sounds silly and I even checked in with my closest friend and she said that she's never been put off by me or my comments. Just need some feedback. Thanks.
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    No, never heard of anything like that in my area. Maybe if you try to think about how you would respond if you were speaking to a member of the clergy, or a teacher, or someone else you may not know very well and want to be careful not to offend. It takes practice even for people that it comes to naturally!

    Perhaps a public speaking class? Or even a drama class can help with your self awareness when you are speaking to others.
  3. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I've found that the Miss Manners books have been a great help to me in this regard.

    Although people think that her advice is all about which fork to use, and how to set a table properly, I've found that she gives very sound and practical advice on handling conversations (superficial, awkward and intense, and everything in between), expressing opinions, being polite without getting walked over, and generally navigating all sorts of conversational minefields...the advice has been very useful to me over the years, both personally and at work. Your mileage may vary, but I like them...

    I think they're all available at the library, Amazon and other sources.

    Oh...I've never found your posts to be overly opinionated or offensive, FWIW.

    Hope this helps,
  4. Jena

    Jena New Member


    I don't know you personally yet we have talked through posts and quite honestly you are a very intelligent and extremely funny person at times. I'm a big believer that we are who we are. I ramble yet that can get bothersome for others bc they can't understand me lol. I've been working on that as of late.

    I can see your point somewhat in regards to being opinionated (did is spell that right lol) yet that is who you are. Just try to take a deep breath before you speak your mind when with others with whom you do not know well. I find often I have to do that as well. Being a member here gives me the chance to exercise that quite often.

    The whole engage brain before speaking thing lol.

    So, all I wanna know is did he leave the kitchen a mess today?? :)
  5. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Well there's this

    http://web.mit.edu/charm/ - 'course we all know I graduated from there and highly recommend this.

    Then there is this


    Seems an easier choice could not be made. By the way; you look absolutely, positively lovely today in that home made frock. Would you pass the sugar bowl please? Thank you. These Crumpets are delicious! Where ever did you find the time? Always giving, so loving. Simply marvelous time I had at your tea last week.

    (poot poot poot)

    YER A DANDY - why change? i really just like you the way you are. Brass and all......whatever you have that is brass that is! :surprise:
  6. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Thanks ladies. Star...you're so funny. Jennifer, he actually left the kitchen spotless - do you think he felt the 'vibes' from the board ladies?? It was a pleasant surprise to wake up to a clean dark kitchen (he usually leaves the lights on too, hee hee).

    I am not loud and obnoxious or rude or any of those things. I'm just trying to find ways of improving myself a little. When I'm with friends (board included) I don't feel inhibited much or as if I need to hold back - lord knows most of us don't around here and my 'live' friends who know me don't find me overbearing at all.

    It's just that sometimes I wonder if a little bit of that perimenopausal "TOWANDA" stuff isn't kicking in, you know? My sisters can really let the you-know-what fly at times and although I understand them and they crack me up, when I'm around others I'm not familiar with I don't want to come across as too brassy. I don't think I'm explaining it right.

    For instance, this morning the accountant [who my boss gave my job to] was here and we were chit-chatting it up about Halloween. I am a BIG Halloween person...BIG. She told me she turns out her lights and hides on Halloween. I said, without really thinking, "Oh wow, that's terrible - IT'S HALLOWEEN!!! How can you disappoint those cute little Goblins??" to which she replied with a polite smile, "Well, we don't really get too many kids and I'm just sick of it." I guess my look was one of shock and she tried to explain further. I cut her off and said, "Please don't tell me you're one of those people who think Halloween is evil?!" Then she really laughed and said that no, she was just lazy. Okay, not so bad. But what if she WAS one of those people who choose not to celebrate Halloween because of her religion? I don't mean to offend. In fact one of my best friends hates Halloween - she thinks it's evil (eye roll). I dress up and give out candy to kids on Halloween, sitting beside our outdoor firepit. We have a trail of tiny carved pumpkins to the side of the house where we are hanging out. My friend thinks we're weird. We're just having some fun.

    Another for instance: I work with this woman who is beyond uptight about everything, very dramatic about everything - when something happens in her family, everyone is involved and she's a basket case. If her H has a DR appointment, she goes with him. If she has a DR appointment, he goes with her. Even if it's just a hangnail or something. I can see big appts or physicals, etc., but I am talking about the little things. So, when I was going for my physical she asked if H was going with me and asked her, "Why? What, am I seven?" and before I could stop myself and the words were floating in the air...she looked like she might cry and said quietly, "Well, you know, with my H and me, we're older and so we think it's important to go with one another to the DR." I felt like a big weenie. I just said, "Yeah, that's true".

    One more: My exh's famiy is going through a family crisis with one sister who recently had major surgery without seeking a 2nd opinion and her siblings are all up in arms, but no one will talk about it, because God forbid you talk about anything other than the weather and hunting in their family. So, one ex-sister in law (she's married to exh's brother - we're both outlaws) called me and said, " I just KNEW you'd understand" and proceeded to vent to me. In the end, my brain was so frazzled that I just blurted out, "Look you know what, I love A.N. and I'm sorry for what she went through, but it was her own stupidity to have a major surgery without any further input. I can't hear about this anymore. They are all just so dysfunctional and if you're that frustrated maybe you should get out while you still can too". My ex-sister in law laughed and said, "I know". H said what I said was mean. I have a lot going on in my own life; I don't need to be thinking about my exh's family BS as well, you know?

    So, I am going to get out some Emily Post books and start reading through them - excellent idea. Maybe I can learn how to just listen and not comment.
  7. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    You know, there are some great benefits to being not afraid to speak your mind. I have friends tell me that when they go somewhere and are having problems, say with a waitress or something, they'll say, "Where's Heather when you need her." I used to be really harsh when I was younger, but have gotten much better at getting my point across a bit more diplomatically. And no one can say they don't know where I stand. ;)

    I do tend to be more reserved when it comes to acquaintances, but if they say something that goes against my morals and sense of right and wrong, I do speak up. Like I said, I've just learned to be more diplomatic about it.

    I call it being direct. It is intimidating to a lot of people. I've been told by several people - men and women - that I intimidate them which never fails to amaze me. Little ol' me intimidating other people. I don't understand how it's intimidating when I'm just being honest and direct. But, women aren't used to it from other women and men only expect it from men. It puts a lot of men off, so I've learned. You can see two men heatedly discussing something and then pat each other on the back and walk away all smiles. But, if a woman does that with a man, she's a b!tch. Apparently, if a women does it with a women it's the same outcome often.

    You just have to learn when it's appropriate and when it's not, how to say what you want to say in a more diplomatic (and, thus, less threatening) manner and realize that you're not going to please everyone regardless. I've also learned that sometimes my opinion or thoughts really don't matter and people are interested in being validated and I keep my opinions to myself in those cases.

    Like Popeye, "I yam what I yam". It is not my intention to upset or anger people, but I am a very forthright person. Maybe a bit passionate. I think it's ok to be direct and to speak your mind as long as you're not offensive and abrasive.

    I'm probably all over the place and making no sense, but I hope this helps somewhat.
  8. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Oh...and I'll be leaving candy out on the porch with the porchlight on but not answering the door to pass out candy. Neither kid will be here and I don't feel well and I don't want to deal with the dogs going bonkers everytime someone knocks on the door. Halloween has never been a big deal for me since I was 10 and the kids were over the being so cute stage. At least, I'll put candy out though. I don't want my trees to get rolled. :tongue:
  9. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Yes, Heather, that's how I always was - direct, to the point, but very diplomatic in my ways. I still am for the most part.

    I wonder if what I'm feeling is just a passing thing, a hormonal thing or a result of too much stress. I have friends that also tell me how they wish I was there when they needed someone to speak up or advocate for them. This is just something I am noticing on my own - no one has said anything to me about it.

    One year some neighbors and I left our candy out while we walked around with our own kids. We left a sign to take only two pieces each and then we saw some rotten little rats dumped the entire contents into their backpacks! They were young teens. So the biggest guy in our group ran ahead and hid in the shrubs a the next house and jumped out at the kids when they tried to steal all that bowl's contents. I'm sure they had to go home and change their shorts. Anyway, he made them dump out all the candy and we divvied it all up!
  10. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    My standard retort for those who think Halloween is EVIL???

    Because we are HUGE HUGE Halloweeny fans here.....big.

    Them: "Oh I don't celebrate Halloween."
    ME: :surprise: "Really? Wow - it's a harmless night of fun and free goodies."
    Them: "Well not in our house."

    Me.....(dramatic pause then that obnoxious Geico sales girl face)


    Yeah that should really put them over the edge! EESCH - pft - really I went trick or treating at the WM today and nabbed a free tootsie pop and a free 3musketeers - I digress.....any holdiay that gives you free candy COULD BE EVIL :witchcrafting:
  11. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Jo, we had that happen one year, too, when I had a dog that would bolt and didn't want to risk opening the door a gazillion times. Only difference is it was younger kids with their parents standing right there and watching.

    Scared the heck out of 'em when I opened the door and chewed them out.
  12. Jena

    Jena New Member

    jo- ok i'm soo glad your kitchen was beau-ti-ful today!!!! Vibes he must of been feeling them, seriously!!! :)

    ok so i read all those things that you wrote. I think there's a difference between being direct and being brash or tactless. You are not tactless. Direct yes. the halloween thing was one thing. Yet the thing about the Dr. I would of said the same thing honestly. The thing about the Dr. appointment and the woman you said it too. I bet there was 5 other ppl in office wanting to say what you didnt even mean to say indirectly.

    So, unless your really freaking out about your responses..............if it's not broken don't fix it!! :) It is what makes you you and unique
  13. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Well, Jo, I don't quite know what to tell you on this topic, because tact is really not one of my strengths. I have a well deserved rep among family and friends...don't ask Mary, 'cause she'll tell you. I'm not mean-spirited or trying to hurt people, and I think that your motivation counts for a lot when your mouth opens and the most amazing things come out of it.
  14. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    JoG, I understand what you are saying completely. there are times when it's not appropriate to have heated conversations or lively discussions.
    The word I use is "graciousness". It doesn't mean you have no opinion. It means you know when it's appropriate and when it's not.
    If you are invited to a best friends house for a holiday, it's inappropriate to stir up an ugly conversation about religion, politics or even child rearing. It's a celebration and not our personal soapbox.

    I never discuss politics. I find it offensive when someone shoves their opinion down my throat. I didn't want it, I didn't ask for it and I don't think much of people who feel I need to know how or why they think. Makes me think about the saying "empty tin cans make the most noise".

    I am pretty stronly opinionated but watching others who force their mentality down others throats makes me cautious. I don't want to cross the line and make myself unapproachable. I want to be knowledgeable and educated about topics, have firm opinions but not be a bully.

    My opinion is that any time you make the effort to become the person you want to be that it pulls you up to the next higher level of functioning. Good for you! don't let anyone make you feel like you are "uppity". Self improvement is what all humans should reach for.