Every week, I’ll be sharing a new grudge that’s not in my book — sometimes mine, sometimes someone else’s (with their permission, obviously!) There are plenty of new grudges born every minute – send yours to if you would like to share it and have it analysed!

The Misunderstanding of Tact Grudge


 Last week I created a new grudge type: the Misunderstanding of the Main Role of a Hotel Grudge. This week, I’ve got another new variety of grudge that I’d like to introduce: The Insulting/Patronising/Infantilising Attempted Tactfulness Grudge. This is when someone says to you, sotto voce and eyes lowered, ‘So, we’ve had a little bit of feedback. Do you think maybe you might want to change X to Y?’ 

To which, if you’re anything like me, you might reply, ‘Hang on. What was the feedback? And who was it from? Does someone want me to change X to Y?’

At this point, one’s interlocutor could limit the extent of one’s Insulting/Patronising/Infantilising Attempted Tactfulness Grudge by saying, ‘Yeah, actually. Duncan doesn’t think X works and he’d much prefer Y.’ 

Instead, the person attempting to be diplomatic usually makes it worse by trying to be even more tactful and indirect: ‘I think there might have been a general sense that people would prefer it if Y replaced X, or at least that was the impression I hear that someone got, unless I misunderstood — and obviously it’s completely up to you.’

Might have been, or definitely was? Who got that impression? And from whom? Which people? Did one of the forty-seven people involved say straight out that she’d prefer Y, or did thirty-two people silently exude a sort of Y-preferring aura? It would be really, really useful to know.

No one ever feels better if they know their responses and feelings are  being managed or manipulated. On the contrary: they feel as  if they’re being treated like a toddler who’s liable to have a tantrum at the first sign of a challenge. Tact (of the useful sort) would be saying, ‘Duncan doesn’t think X works and would prefer Y’ instead of ‘Duncan thinks X is a pile of shit, and he’d like Y, assuming you’re not too braindead to do Y.’ 

I think this variety of grudge should probably be called a ‘Misunderstanding of Tact’ grudge. Someone told me they had the impression that the name I gave it in paragraph one might have been perceived as a bit long and ungainly by some people but maybe not and it’s completely up to me and who, in any case, can be sure?

Discover Sophie’s Grudge Type classification system in HOW TO HOLD A GRUDGE – available from all good book retailers now!
About devastating historical events and atrocities, we often say, ‘Never forget’. Why? Is it that we want to extend the suffering for as long as possible? No, of course not — it’s because we know that history (the horrible bits of it especially) contains useful lessons and warnings that we would be fools to ignore.

Yet about upsetting personal incidents, we often hear people say, ‘Don’t hold a grudge. Move on, for your own sake.’ Every time we say this, we are effectively asking someone to forget the important warnings and lessons from their own life history.