The words of a wise person are gracious.
The manager of the shoe department at my nearby Dillard’s advises salespeople: “Never tell a lady, your foot is too big for this shoe; instead, tell her, I’m sorry, but this shoe is just a little too small for you.” The first comment might be offensive; the second is tactful.
Tactful people are careful to maintain cordial relationships and have the good sense to avoid antagonistic remarks.
Do you know anyone who lacks tact? A name popped into your mind before I finished writing this sentence. Some offenders pass it off with the flip phrase, “I’m just plain spoken.” Proverbs has a name for that person: “Fool” (Prv 18:6, 7; 20:3; 29:20).
Tactful individuals promote harmony, not friction: “the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Prv 12:18). “How good is a timely word” (Prv 15:23).
The primary requirement for being
tactful is thinking before speaking.