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Writing, Illustrating & Publishing => Research => Topic started by: Melissa K on April 21, 2015, 04:32 PM

Title: Nudging the truth in order to say what someone wants to hear
Post by: Melissa K on April 21, 2015, 04:32 PM
In conversations, people often nudge the truth so they can say what someone wants to hear.

Examples:

- Wasn't that a great book?
- Well...I loved the part where the protagonist finally broke up with her boyfriend.

The second person here has an opinion that doesn't match the first person's, but she (women do this more than men) doesn't acknowledge it. Instead, she chooses to talk about the common ground between the two opinions. In my head, I think of this conversational phenomenon as an "adjustment," but I'm wondering if there's a formal term for it in the social sciences. Anyone?
Title: Re: Nudging the truth in order to say what someone wants to hear
Post by: EricJ on April 21, 2015, 07:12 PM
Think the formal term is "tact", but I don't use it much, myself.
Title: Re: Nudging the truth in order to say what someone wants to hear
Post by: Barbara Etlin on April 21, 2015, 08:00 PM
Quote
Think the formal term is "tact", but I don't use it much, myself.
    :grin3

My mother was extremely diplomatic. If someone asked her what she thought of something and she didn't like it but didn't want to hurt your feelings, she'd call it "original" or "interesting."
Title: Re: Nudging the truth in order to say what someone wants to hear
Post by: Vijaya on April 21, 2015, 08:15 PM
Or in lawyerly language, that'd be a leading question.

    :grin3

My mother was extremely diplomatic. If someone asked her what she thought of something and she didn't like it but didn't want to hurt your feelings, she'd call it "original" or "interesting."

Hey, that's my MIL!

Vijaya
Title: Re: Nudging the truth in order to say what someone wants to hear
Post by: Lill on April 21, 2015, 09:03 PM
Ha, and whenever somebody tells me something is interesting, I interpret that as meaning they don't like it -- because I know "interesting" is code for "I don't have anything nice to say."  I'm not much for fuzzy language. Just say what you mean.

Title: Re: Nudging the truth in order to say what someone wants to hear
Post by: Kell on April 22, 2015, 04:56 AM
Tactful or not, discussing what you like is a much more interesting and engaging response than saying, "Yes, it's great!" And maybe in a little bit you'll both get to share what you both don't like.
Title: Re: Nudging the truth in order to say what someone wants to hear
Post by: Lill on April 22, 2015, 05:47 AM
To answer your question (or not), I don't know the technical term for it. I call it annoying. :)
Title: Re: Nudging the truth in order to say what someone wants to hear
Post by: shilpa on April 22, 2015, 06:01 AM
Isn't that a form of hedging?
Title: Re: Nudging the truth in order to say what someone wants to hear
Post by: Arona on April 22, 2015, 06:12 AM
It's also a leading question in psychology circles. In regard to the person responding, I don't know that there's a technical term, but in that fashion of reply, everyone understands it's diplomacy and tact, as others mentioned.

But how much do you want to know, or do know, about the responder? You can dig deeper...is there a root cause for the person's response? Is the person giving that reply fearful of confrontation, or needs approval? You can technically label that (as a type of behavior, especially if other traits are present).




Title: Re: Nudging the truth in order to say what someone wants to hear
Post by: lauriew on April 22, 2015, 08:23 AM
I had to train my husband not to say "interesting" when he meant he really liked it. He had no idea that it was a code word for "meh." Laurie
Title: Re: Nudging the truth in order to say what someone wants to hear
Post by: 217mom on April 22, 2015, 08:28 AM
    :grin3

My mother was extremely diplomatic. If someone asked her what she thought of something and she didn't like it but didn't want to hurt your feelings, she'd call it "original" or "interesting."

At my home calling something or someone "interesting" and "original" was the highest compliment. In fact, the worse sin was to be dull or boring, or unoriginal. So funny how it's not the word, or even the conventional meaning, but the way it is said and knowing the person who said it. Ey?  :bewildered

I suppose this must translate in writing a character to the reader knowing the character before they can interpret what they mean.
But the way it was put here, where A asks about something and B clearly stirs the reply away from the direct question, is clear to this reader (me) that tactful obfuscation is happening.
Title: Re: Nudging the truth in order to say what someone wants to hear
Post by: Debbie Vilardi on April 27, 2015, 07:43 AM
I actually use it as intended. I'm interested in learning more if I say something is interesting. This could also be that it made me think, whether or not I liked the topic I was now forced to think about.

I may also use the term when what I'm thinking about is that I have no idea what to say on the topic I've been asked about, no clearly formed opinion, maybe it's meh or maybe I'm not informed enough.

But answering the OP's question, I'd go with tact or diplomacy.