Saying it to your face


Speaking as you find and telling it like it is is likely to get you punched. So deal with it.

As another series of Celebrity Big Brother makes its barely-detectable presence felt on that percentage of TV screens whose owners would ever bother to press ‘5’, this is a good time to reflect on exactly what the social advantages of ‘saying it to your face’ might be.

In the realm of reality TV, contestants regularly cite – as evidence of their honesty and no-nonsense attitude – an approach to life in which the next confrontational conversation is rarely further away than the next mealtime.

On telly, as in social media and life in general, “I say it you your face, me” is the ill thought-through mantra of the emotionally illiterate who can’t, or won’t, display any empathy for their fellow human, who won’t rein in their awful opinions to save someone’s blushes, or who aren’t prepared to operate within the established perimeters of good manners as a means of oiling the wheels of social cohesion.

“So deal with it” is another graceless addition to the canon, placing the responsibility for handling someone’s ill-mannered rudeness onto the person who is being spoken to.

There you go, it’s your problem.

In common perception, ‘Saying it to your face’ is far preferable than a really good two-faced bitch behind someone’s back. Although that perception is clearly wrong. It’s a form of honesty, but a particularly mendacious one.

There’s absolutely nothing better than discussing someone’s extensive failings behind their back, and nothing worse than the knowledge that they’ve sat there and listened to it (other than that sinking feeling you get when you’ve just hit ‘send’ and realise you’ve accidentally texted your scarcely-edited views to them). It turns out that saying it to someone’s face is, rightly, socially awkward.

Deception and bitchiness is far preferable than cards-on-the-table, in-your-face confrontation. The former is what makes the world go round; the latter is how wars start.

People who claim that they say it how it is rarely do so. They normally say something quite rude, with whatever it is they’re saying adhering only to the most limited definition of how things are. Namely, whatever comes into their little heads in an angry moment.

‘Speaking as I find, me’ is an aggressive act, inviting confrontation and generally lacking any tact or diplomacy. It expects everyone to put up with your stupid opinions because you don’t care what they think. That’s because you are right, about everything. Always.

You speak as you find.
You say it to their face.
They know where they stand with you.
You just deal with it and move on.
You missed the lesson on social skills.

So deal with it.